Raymond Lemstra’s Painstakingly Detailed Pencil Drawings

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Nanzuka Underground, Tokyo // March 13, 2024 – April 27, 2024

The foundation of Raymond Lemstra’s artistic practice lies in creating detailed, intricate drawings on paper. These works catalyzed his transition to painting, which became a focal point during a residency in Somo, Spain, in 2015. More recently, Lemstra has reinvigorated his commitment to drawing, alongside his pursuit of painting.

Lemstra’s painstakingly detailed pencil drawings reside in the realm between reality and the unreal. Initiating from our inherently facially-oriented perception (Pareidolia), which often leads to the interpretation of inanimate objects or random geometric arrangements as if they are looking back at us, Lemstra deeply engages in reconfiguring the relationships between the key elements of his imaginary subjects. By employing both highly recognizable, meticulously rendered features such as clothing, hairstyles, accessories, or postures alongside abstract, often geometrically-based forms, viewers are prompted to perceive emotional resonance within otherwise artificial shapes.

The subjects of Lemstra’s portraits, surreal and emitting a distinctly unapproachable aura of sorts, invite both the artist himself and us viewers to venture into the world of the phantasmagoric.

“During childhood, one encounters many first meetings and experiences in life. These moments, elevated to magical heights by curiosity and imagination, remain etched in memory. However, as one grows older, the capacity for new amazement diminishes, and experiences that evoke surprise become rare. Through depicting a fantasy world where my characters come to life, I aim to rediscover the wondrous sensations reminiscent of childhood.” —Raymond Lemstra

What Lemstra attempts to convey beyond classical aesthetics of precision, is the efficacy of the human imagination. Today, in times when technologies showcasing virtual reality such as VR and AR have become commonplace, Lemstra’s pencil drawings, rather paradoxically, serve to eloquently bring to light the analog yet more unfettered creativity of human beings.

Nanzuka Underground presents Raymond Lemstra’s Horizons, on view at 3110NZ by LDH kitchen in Tokyo.

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