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Life-Sized Hyperrealistic Portraits Depict Sirens in Their Element

Painter and author Mark Heine illustrates a series of underwater paintings for his new novel based on Greek mythology and folklore.

by Nathaniel Ainley
Aug 24 2016, 4:45pm

Emergence. Images courtesy the artist

Vivid oil paintings capture ethereal scenes of submerged women floating weightlessly in shallow water in writer and visual artist Mark Heine's new Sirens series. It's a collection of underwater paintings that illustrate a new work of fiction written by the painter, each piece in the series a snapshot of a scene from Heine's written narrative. Now in its final stages of edits, Heine describes the new book as "a contemporary interpretation of the infamous and misunderstood femme fatale of ancient Greek mythology."

Heine's Sirens are inspired by the sirens of Homer's Odyssey, female mythological creatures known for their beauty, deceit, and irresistable voices. Sirens were said to lure sailors out to sea to the point where they would shipwreck themselves on the rocky coast near the sea creatures' island. 

Reckoning

Heine is organizing an exhibition of these life sized paintings that will accompany the launch of his book. He's been writing short back-table teasers for each painting describing the moment it depicts in the written story. Says Heine, "My intent is to draw art lovers to the book and book lovers to the art." 

Heine's writing fits the genre of magical realism. The Sirens book adapts themes and concepts from Greek mythology and folklore and inserts them into a real world setting. "Here Greek mythology comes face to face with the lush, mysterious culture of the Coast Salish peoples of the Pacific Northwest," he writes. This blend of reality and fantasy is reflected or mirrored in the expression and quality of his painting—Heine veraciously renders these aquatic scenes by paying careful attention to lighting, flow, and the human form. At the same time, he gives his images a glossy flare that reminds the viewer of his subjects' supernatural origins.

Salvation

Resurrection

Imminent

Atonement

Heine has recently signed up with Arcadia Contemporary Gallery in Los Angeles, where he'll showing his works. Be sure to check out the gallery, and for more information about Mark Heine's upcoming show and book release, visit the artist's website.

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Tagged:
climate change
painting
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underwater
odyssey
Illustrations
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Greek mythology
Homer
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Mark Heine
arcadia contemporary gallery
sirens series