Sheryl Luxenburg is a Canadian hyperrealist painter based in Ottawa 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 most widely known for accentuating with paint a flattened 3 dimensional look. 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 40 years ago when studying in a residency program under the famous first generation photo-real American painter, Tom Blackwell at Keene State College in New Hampshire, US.
Luxenburg’s drafting and painting methods are grounded in classical formulae. She works in dry brush style using a dappled technique of lying different coloured marks of paint side by side and by glazing with thin translucent layers of single colour 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. In all compositions, she strives for tight details and precision on the main subject elements and uses an airbrush when suggesting the background.
Her formal art education was completed in studio painting at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, The School of Art & Design of The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Quebec, The Banff Centre For The Arts, Banff Alberta and at Keene State College, New Hampshire, U.S..
Luxenburg’s work can be found in private collections such as The Count Ibex Collection, corporate, and museum collections in Canada, the U.S.A. and Europe.