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Abstract Paintings of Cities Look Like “Bokeh” Effect Photographs


Abstract Paintings by Philip Barlow

In his series of abstract paintings, artist Philip Barlow translates the fleeting moments often seen through out-of-focus camera lenses. This common photography phenomenon called the bokeh effect simplifies the background and subjects into colorful blurs of light. Although bokeh might be considered undesirable in photos, Barlow utilizes the geometric style in his paintings as a way to “capture ‘the moment,’ a millisecond in time when everything lines up perfectly.”

Barlow’s bokeh-effect paintings emphasize color and harmony over crisp and clear details. The nighttime cityscapes are reduced to blocks of light, while the human subjects become anonymous silhouettes that are barely distinguishable. In doing so, the viewer is immersed in an ephemeral moment that is both mysterious and familiar.

Barlow says in his artist statement that his paintings “give us a glimpse in time where form, light, and color come together in their complexity.” These transient moments are elevated by his intentional abstraction. The colors of car lights, signs, shops, and restaurants suddenly become magical ornaments to the canvas. Together, they reflect the essence of the space in that instance.

Scroll down to see more bokeh oil paintings by Barlow, and then follow the artist on Instagram to keep up to date with his latest creations and exhibitions.

South African artist Philip Barlow recreates the bokeh effect in his oil paintings.

Abstract Paintings by Philip BarlowAbstract Paintings by Philip BarlowAbstract Paintings by Philip BarlowAbstract Paintings by Philip BarlowAbstract Bokeh Paintings by Philip Barlow

His abstract canvases imitate the out-of-focus effect often seen in photography.

Abstract Paintings by Philip BarlowAbstract Paintings by Philip BarlowAbstract Paintings by Philip Barlow

Barlow’s colorful artwork elevates ordinary, fleeting moments into something magical.

Abstract Paintings by Philip BarlowAbstract Paintings by Philip BarlowAbstract Paintings by Philip BarlowAbstract Paintings by Philip BarlowAbstract Paintings by Philip BarlowAbstract Paintings by Philip BarlowAbstract Paintings by Philip Barlow

Philip Barlow: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Philip Barlow.

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