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Out-of-Focus Paintings by Philip Barlow Capture the Twinkling Lights of Cityscapes at Night


“Electric III,” oil on linen, 47 x 78 inches, all images via Philip Barlow

Cape Town-based artist Philip Barlow paints abstracted depictions of the cityscapes at night, blurring the focus of street lamps and headlights the way our eyes or a photographer’s lens might when adjusting to a city’s bright, multi-colored lights. In this way, Barlow paints from perception rather than reality, showcasing the beautiful ways we process our daily surroundings. In the foreground, the paintings feature overlapping orbs of white, red, and blue light, which obscure blurred buildings, cars, and signs that occupy the dimly painted background.

“The figures in the landscape serve as carriers and reflectors of the light that falls upon them,” explains Barlow. “Bathed in the luminosity, it is my hope that they would become more beautiful. To me, light is the ultimate subject because it embodies the pinnacle of all reality.”

You can view more of the South African artist’s blurred depictions of cities, beaches, and portraits, on his website. (via My Modern Met)

"Electric Wet," oil on canvas, 39 x 59 inches

“Electric Wet,” oil on canvas, 39 x 59 inches

"Glass II," oil on canvas, 47 x 70 inches

“Glass II,” oil on canvas, 47 x 70 inches 

"Glass," oil on canvas, 70 x 47 inches, and "Jingumae II," oil on canvas, 47 x 31 inches

“Glass,” oil on canvas, 70 x 47 inches, and “Jingumae II,” oil on canvas, 47 x 31 inches

"Leaving Shibuya," oil on canvas, 47 x 98 inches

“Leaving Shibuya,” oil on canvas, 47 x 98 inches

"Ultramarine," oil on canvas, 47 x 70 inches

“Ultramarine,” oil on canvas, 47 x 70 inches

"One Way," oil on canvas, 47 x 47 inches

“One Way,” oil on canvas, 47 x 47 inches

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