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Jakub Tomáš lives and works in the Czech Republic. His exuberant paintings are based on sculpture and collage, using cardboard models and theatrical lighting to generate enigmatic or absurdist scenes. Disturbingly flattened faces are painted within illusively familiar environments, and friendly robots sometimes join gatherings. His paintings are off kilter, and there is a palpable awkwardness in the relationships between figures, whose faces sometimes seem to be masks. Tomáš’s style – by turns Cubist with his penchant for building maquettes and collaging fragments of internet-sourced imagery, and more recognizable figuration – seems perfect for the task. The work’s forebears include the slightly out of sync timelines of Neo Rauch, harshly plotted limbs of Max Beckman and the Expressionists, and adherents of contemporary surreal figuration such as Tal R and Dana Schutz. A history of Czech claymation, puppetry, and folk art anchors the richness of figurative approaches, and the sense of a marionette’s clunky movements.

Jakub Tomáš was born in Jihlava, Czech Republic, where he lives and works. He received a Master of Fine Arts in Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague, and studied previously at the University of West Bohemia and the Institute of Art and Design in Plzeň, CZ. He has shown widely in the Czech Republic, with recent solo exhibitions at Oblastní Galerie Vysočiny, Jihlava; Stage Garden Gallery, Rožnov pod Radhoštěm; Městská Galerie, Týn nad Vltavou; Šopa Gallery, Košice; GAVU Cheb; Galerie Václava Špály, Prague; Nová Galerie, Prague; and NEVAN CONTEMPO, Prague; and international exhibitions in Austria, Canada, France, and the United Kingdom.