Commuters Go Wild in Matthew Grabelsky’s Uncanny Subway Paintings

Must read

Audrey Hepburn Would Probably Love Givenchy Fall 2024

Please enable JS and disable any ad blocker

Rabanne’s Fall 2024 Collection Is Full of Patterned Knitwear

Please enable JS and disable any ad blocker

VAN ETTEN Is Hiring An Editorial Freelance Publicist

Please enable JS and disable any ad blocker

Beyoncé and Her Mullet Cover the Latest Issue of ‘CR Fashion Book’

Please enable JS and disable any ad blocker


Art

#animals #humor #Matthew Grabelsky #portraits #surreal

Commuters Go Wild in Matthew Grabelsky’s Uncanny Subway Paintings

A painted portrait of a horse-human figure riding the subway

“Giddy Up” (2022), oil on canvas, 14 × 16 inches. All images courtesy of Thinkspace Projects, shared with permission

Urbanites know the subway is a prime location to spot the city’s oddities, and yet, a run-in with one of Matthew Grabelsky’s characters would be a particularly wild encounter. The Los Angeles-based artist has spent the last few years rendering human-animal hybrids that nonchalantly ride public transit. Sometimes snacking on a cracker or brushing up on some reading, the characters are surreal, uncanny additions to an otherwise mundane scene.

Grabelsky’s newest oil paintings, which are currently on view as part of Riders at The Brand Library & Art Center in Glendale, California, are hyperrealistic and laced with witty details similar to earlier works in the series. Set on the New York City Subway and London Tube, the portraits are narrative-driven and embedded with pop culture references. The artist shares:

My goal is to create the effect of looking at a scene on the subway as if it were a diorama at a natural history museum. The images present richly detailed moments frozen in time allowing the viewer to closely inspect every element and make connections between them to read an overall story. In this world, people are transformed into part-animal to create scenes that are strange, funny, and endearing.

Curated by Thinkspace Projects, Riders is on view through March 17. You can find an extensive collection of Grabelsky’s commuters on his site and Instagram.

A painted portrait of a father and son human-monkey hybrids riding the subway

“Curious George Takes A Train” (2022), oil on canvas, 16 × 20 inches

On left, a painted portrait of a woman-crow figure on the subway, on the right, a painted portrait of a woman-parrot figure eating crackers on the subway

Left: “Crow-Magnon” (2022), oil on canvas, 28 × 38 inches. Right: “Polly Wanna Cracker” (2022), oil on canvas, 24 × 36 inches

A painted portrait of a dog-human hybrid riding the subway

“Texas Hold’em” (2022), oil on canvas, 12 × 16 inches

Left: A painted portrait of a wolf-human hybrid riding the subway. Right: A painted portrait of two panda-human hybrids riding the subway

Left: “An American Werewolf In London” (2022), oil on canvas, 24 × 32 inches. Right: “Sichuan Express” (2022), oil on canvas, 14 × 20 inches

A painted portrait of a bat-human figure riding the subway

“Gotham Local” (2022), oil on canvas, 12 × 16 inches

#animals #humor #Matthew Grabelsky #portraits #surreal

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You’ll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!

More articles

Latest article

Audrey Hepburn Would Probably Love Givenchy Fall 2024

Please enable JS and disable any ad blocker

Rabanne’s Fall 2024 Collection Is Full of Patterned Knitwear

Please enable JS and disable any ad blocker

VAN ETTEN Is Hiring An Editorial Freelance Publicist

Please enable JS and disable any ad blocker

Beyoncé and Her Mullet Cover the Latest Issue of ‘CR Fashion Book’

Please enable JS and disable any ad blocker

The Rick Owens Runway Is Just One Big Jumpscare

Please enable JS and disable any ad blocker