It’s rare to find an artist who is equally comfortable with painting as with sculpting, whose works evoke such strong emotions. Well, Thomas Lerooy is one such artist whose works do stir emotions, mainly because they’re a potpourri of realism and surrealist themes, with a sprinkling of classical sculpting. The viewers are able to identify with the different realities that his works portray and the visual language they speak.
Lerooy’s highly personal style doesn’t beg to be understood, but conveys its meaning through its subjects, as also through the softness of his brushwork. His style, made unique with a mix of paintings and sculptures, has the power of being both shocking and thrilling. For instance, take his famous monumental bronze figure ‘Not Enough Brains to Survive’ that shows a perfect sculpted body of a Greek statue with a disproportionately gigantic head that bends from the neck due to its weight and rests on the floor, making it appear grotesquely ugly.
Lerooy takes his inspiration for his grotesque sculptures from the works of surrealists and also by Bosch, Dürer, Ensor, Goya, and Meunier. He has his studio in Brussels, Belgium, where he works, normally spending several weeks on a large painting and about three months on a bronze sculpture. It was for the first time that he displayed his paintings alongside his sculptures at an exhibition titled ‘Behind the Curtain’ at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.
Born in Roeselare, Belgium, Lerooy uses the computer to prepare his compositions and colors, as also to find the sculptural solutions for his work. He also makes 3D scans of molds. This becomes his starting point for sculptures.
Of course, an artist of his caliber is much sought after. So, it wasn’t surprising that he was invited by the Petit Palais (French for Small Palace), located in Paris, France, and given full liberty to display his works as he pleases. His works, comprising around 20 sculptures and drawings, adorned the rooms of the Small Palace. Besides this, his works have been displayed in many solo and group exhibitions around the world.