Reflections Of Surrealist Dreams

2015 // by Viviana Puello

People looking at Katrin Alvarez’s artwork would say that her paintings are sometimes troubling, provoking yet soothing, intimate. Technically speaking, they are perfectly balanced compositions created with excellence craftsmanship, a very unique style which makes the work of this artist recognizable to a point, yet not always possible to interpret completely.

As stated by the artist, her paintings are “reports from deep inside”, “full of visions, stories, daydreams, nightmares. They’re waiting to be revealed, to be made visual…” These are words used by this master surrealist to describe the magnificent creations that have earned her a great reputation in the international art scene as one of the most influential surrealist artists of our times. When appreciating her works, one can only recognize in Katrin Alvarez an artist destined for greatness. Her works are an open window that gives us insight into the artist’s personal life history depicted in her art, created with great virtuosity that results in striking oils and mixed media, three dimensional paintings. Her brushwork is seamless and her subjects elegantly staged and dramatically portrayed, replicating with precision and very skilled accuracy her visions and dreams, successfully mixing together that which is real with that which is unreal, inviting the viewer to new, higher levels of awareness.

Born in Güstrow, Germany, in July 1944, Katrin Alvarez has gained an international reputation for her realistic surreal works. She has won several awards for her work, which has been exhibited in Austria, Canada, Israel, Switzerland, the United States, France and China.

Growing up on a country estate, she developed a love for nature and animals, and these very animals and nature inspired and launched Katrin Alvarez into an illustrious and successful artistic career. She was still just a child when she discovered she could create wonderful colorful drawings and paintings to showcase what she saw in animals and nature. Today, after all these years, she says, "I see myself as a journalist who describes life not in words but in colours."In 1969 the young, budding artist received a degree in law from the University of Cologne and initiated a career in journalism. Alvarez spent two years as a volunteer journalist and has published satirical poems and a novel.

Years later, Katrin Alvarez left behind her career as a journalist to focus solely on her artistic career and devote her time to painting and drawing. In 1976, Alvarez's portrait of Lilli Palmer was chosen for the cover of the German Jewish actress's autobiography "Change Lobster and Dance", which became a bestseller. Alvarez caught the attention of a wider audience and impressed the public with her masterful drawing skills. Katrin Alvarez has won several important awards throughout her career, including the Allan Edwards Award from the Federation of Canadian Painters in Vancouver in 2007. One of her works was selected for the Museum of Fantastic Art in Vienna in 2011, she received the Vivid Arts Network Award "Onore Allá Creativá E L’eccelenza Nella Arti" in 2011, the Grande Médaille d'Or MCA Azur at Cannes, and the Leonardo Prize in 2012, among others.

As a surrealist painter, Alvarez combines elements of Dada and cubism to create something unknown and eccentric, portraying unique techniques and ideas of great originality. As a self-taught artist and inspired by Michaelangelo, Pieter Breughel and Dali, and with  abackground in writing and journalism, her artwork soon began to appeal to the public and international recognition followed. The public found itself identifying with the issues depicted by the artist in her works, the very same issues that a society in denial prefers to keep silenced.

The viewer finds in her narrative the love and compassion that only one who can truly understand is able to offer and present to the world in the form of masterpieces created and delivered from a divine source of inspiration, transcending the barriers of human limitations that the ego imposes on each one of us, and reaching out to the highest and innermost places of one's being. A sense of oneness is evident in Alvarez's works, which leave a lot open for interpretation, evoking emotions and creating for the viewer a unique and unforgettable experience.There are many symbols in Katrin's work, which motivates her to create stories on canvas. In more recent times, she has blended technology with the old because of the influence of the cyber world on our day-to-day lives.

It seems as though Katrin Alvarez's art shows us how to look at the demons that each one of us harbors, so that we are able to transcend any threatening dangers and arrive at the realization of self-acceptance and self-love. Some of Alvarez’s oil and mixed media paintings, like “In nomine Patris et filii et spiritus sancti”, suggest the message that children are in trouble and enduring traumatic times. She herself has said that the sexual abuse of children makes her extremely angry and that a large part of her work reveals her feelings about this issue. She believes that every artist has a duty to express some of the dark issues of humanity.

Alvarez’s artwork certainly draws attention to issues that cripple our society and serves as a magistral tool to inspire us to take a proactive role as individuals who want to create a better world.