Dystopian work has long since been an underlying theme in surrealist art, regardless of medium. Famous works like 1984 and Brave New World are held in high regard for their cautionary undertones as to what humanity’s fate could be. Portland, Oregon based artist Alex Reisfar’s work is undeniably dystopian surrealist in nature as well, but ask him yourself, and he’ll beg to differ. Creating uniquely macabre scenes in dystopian settings, his work incorporates elements of nature, death, and humanity in a way that depicts both man’s ruin as well as the tiniest glimmer of hope for mankind, painting an intricate and cautionary tale.
Gory, fearful, and at times, downright grotesque, Reisfar’s work is a commentary on society. Playing with themes that are both anti-colonialism as well as anti-war, his portrayal of humans is often melded with morbid elements like decay and death, a colonial soldier’s head has been replaced with a skull, the muscles and tissue of a nurse are ripped out by birds as she weeps black, oil-like tears, and the bottom half of a man has been replaced with a serpent’s body as he slithers across the ground. The one recurring hopeful element in his work are children, which more often than not, are the only subjects that are illustrated as wholly human, suggesting an innocence and hopefulness in them that is lacking in adults. Somber, macabre, and undoubtedly cautionary, his work is absolutely stunning.
You can see more of Reisfar’s somber surrealism on his Instagram.