Sheryl Luxenburg is a Canadian hyperrealist painter based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada who uses watercolour on paper and acrylic on linen with airbrush and regular brush to capture ultra realistic subject matter. The flattened depiction of space revealed in her paintings is so hard to distinguish from reality, especially when viewed online, that many scroll over her hand painted work thinking they are photographs. Although Luxenburg's technical skills are impeccable, it is most important to her that the viewer identifies with her subject matter and finds the soul in her artwork.
Luxenburg describes the two decades she previously worked as a licensed psychotherapist specializing in trauma as 'highly rewarding'. Her academic training and professional experience concerning the turbulent human psyche has undoubtedly influenced her work, as most of Luxenburg's subject matter revolves around people or objects that experience some type of distress, such as confusion, dread, conflict, anger or numbness. She describes her figures interacting with water or condensation on glass as a symbolic expression, a metaphor for a fatigued emotional state, a sense of alienation and the process of cleansing disturbing emotions. She describes her models as the vessels who carry her projected emotions. Most of Luxenburg's series' portray her moods and the psychological phases relating to the challenging periods in her life.
Luxenburg is internationally known for accentuating with paint a flattened 3 dimensional look. This style is highly stylized and uniquely her own. In regular realism the 3D contouring/shading is 360 degrees and darkly shaded towards the rear of the object. In a flattened depiction of space, the contouring ends more abruptly at 180 degrees with lighter values towards the rear.
Capturing this specific ocular perception is a hallmark quality of the Photorealism Art Movement which began in the United States in the late l960's and has been coined by Louis Meisel. She became fascinated with this style 44 years ago when studying in a residency program under the famous first generation photo-real American painter, the late Tom Blackwell at Keene State College in New Hampshire, US. Sadly, Tom Blackwell who died of the covid virus remained close to Luxenburg until his death in April 2020.
Luxenburg's drafting and painting methods are grounded in classical formulae. The essence of her preparatory drawings are grounded in the technique of pointillism. She works in dry brush style using a dappled technique of lying different marks of paint side by side and by glazing with thin translucent layers of single pigment one on top of the other. Through the decades, she has maintained an allegiance to water based media, and has invented unusual methods of applying absorbent compound on top of gessoed layers and in mixing acrylic and water-colour paint with granulating medium. The granulation medium splits open the paint and creates an interesting dappled effect.
In all compositions, Luxenburg strives for tight details and precision on the main subject elements and uses an airbrush when suggesting the background.
Luxenburg's formal art education was completed in studio painting at The School of Art & Design at The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Quebec, studio painting at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, three summer residency programs in studio painting at The Banff Centre For The Arts, Banff Alberta and at Keene State College, New Hampshire, U.S. Luxenburg has won many distinguishing awards including a Canadian Governor General award under Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and has earned gold medals in both the US and Canada. Her work can be found in private collections such as The Ibex Collection and public corporate and museum collections in Canada in the U.S.A. and Europe