Even in his name, Christian Rex van Minnen feels of a different time. Even though his technique feels that of a 21st century master, that his ongoing/offgoing relationship to social media feels quite contemporary, van Minnen is at his heart, an old soul. If you threw him into a studio in the 16th century, do you feel like he would be misplaced? It begs the question of course of once a master always a master, but with van Minnen, his growth of how to apply paint to a surface is more exciting and innovative as ever, and, being in the heart of the painting world for his show at Veta in Madrid, the California artist is right at home. 

"Madrid is one of painting's Holy places, and it’s with a mixture of nervous humility and grateful excitement I present La Luz Atrapada at VETA by Fer Francés," van Minnen declared as his show opened in Spain. "The Trapped Light," it means, and as the artist notes in of process, he tries to "artfully manipulate light with brilliant Earth materia suspended in translucent oil.” But even if we think about technique, there is a darkness in the subject matter, but also a sort of sense of humor that seeps in when you look at each and every detail. He mentions that he is capturing “the claustrophobic ecstasy and terror of the inner experience of self, the dissolution of boundaries, the deflation and reinflation of ego, and the cognitive dissonance one feels careening thru this murky territory.”

Even that in itself is an example of the range by which van Minnen plays in. He is the past, present and future, a painter for every era and every generation. There is beauty, horror, mastery and fun. —Evan Pricco