Home / Art

Striking Palette Knife Portraits

I know exactly what I'm looking at and yet there's an abstractness. These large, figurative oil paintings by UK artist Simon Birch, who's based in Hong Kong, employ a distinct geometric approach but manage to contain a sense of realism. This duality reflects the medical trials that Birch faced when he was diagnosed and treated for a rare form of cancer in 2007. Equipped with brushes and a palette knife, Birch portrays the struggles and strengths of human health by creating various textures, some areas thickly concentrated with paint.

Birch also incorporates a multitude of colors. The colors are one of the most interesting aspects of this series. The use of contrasting colors in such close proximity to one another is visually intriguing. A brush stroke of sky blue in a full, black head of hair or a line of neon green on a bare arm next to a deep maroon stroke do not seem out of place in these portraits. They add to to Birch's theme of interweaving opposites.

Simon Birch's website
via [Colossal]


Pinar Noorata is the Managing Editor at My Modern Met. She is a writer, editor, and content creator based in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BA in Film and Media Studies from CUNY Hunter College and is an alumni of the Center for Arts Education’s Career Development Program in NYC. She has worked at major TV, film, and publishing companies as well as other independent media businesses. When she isn’t writing, editing, or creating videos herself, Pinar enjoys watching movies, reading, crafting, drawing, and volunteering at her local animal shelter.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content