Max Werner’s hyper-observant acrylic landscapes invite the viewer to enfold themselves in a new environment. Werner includes many small things in his paintings to create fully-realized scenes, like the shadow of mold on a stone or the precise stance of a seagull. But his most important subject is space. Werner uses the horizon line as his focal point, be it a desert, forest, pasture, or mountain scene. From there he luxuriates in the expanse of empty light above and the streamlined, subtly colorful stretch of land below. A realistic palette and a sensitivity to texture both serve to draw the viewer into these tangible worlds.

Such detail makes the actual scenes more affecting upon closer viewing – because they can be, in fact, slightly otherworldly. Werner counts the surrealism of Magritte among his influences, and his compositions reflect that. He pares down his landscapes to defining features, and then places a few isolated figures within that eerie space. The “figures,” which often are animals or plants, are kept at a distance. A narrative is hinted at but is never made clear.

Max Werner was born in Belgium and spent many years working in etching. He currently lives in the United States.