The year we're wrapping these days conditioned an explosion of online viewing rooms and virtual exhibitions, which in too many cases came down to a simple webpage with listed works. While we can have a whole debate about the necessity of creating virtual art exhibitions, to begin with, we did enjoy seeing some people taking this concept outside of the white cube concept and going full-on with it all. And one of those efforts is certainly Lover’s Rock, a virtual art experience designed by the artist Asif Hoque and curator Ché Morales and digitally executed by Adriana Avendano, featuring artworks from the artist's first solo presentation with Mindy Solomon Gallery.

Following their inaugural virtual art presentation project with Genevieve Cohn earlier this year, the Miami-based gallery and NYC-based curator teamed up for another similar undertaking. Somewhat simplifying the setting in which the work was presented, especially when compared to Cohn's presentation,  the team created a modern epic set to the backdrop of classical architecture and mythologies. Such an approach to the use of the technology as a tool to "materialize" Hoque’s life experiences and visuals informed by those, resulted in the creation of an exotic setting that actually makes sense when juxtaposed with the works by the Brooklyn-based painter. Well rendered and accompanied by a fitting soundscape the entire setting is not distracting from the lively canvases that are the leading role of this presentation.

Painted with oils on raw linen, Hoque’s paintings are dominated by mostly male, nude figures placed in a dreamy setting. Whether propped on the clouds or posing in a simple natural landscape, the artist uses the unprimed surface as an unusual but fitting negative space around his characters. With elongated limbs, accented curves, gazing at the viewer, or having their eyes shut, these characters are evoking the ancient depictions of gods and mythological creatures which is further accented through a setting creating in the virtual presentation. This interest comes from the artist's early fascination with classical fine arts which over time developed along with his skills and personal self-discovery. From such a position, the artist uses his muses to expresses emotional intelligence and masculinity primarily, while challenging our preconceptions of identity, gender, and body. —Sasha Bogojev