acrylic painting

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Art

Ethereal Light Suffuses Domestic Interiors with Surreal Hues in Alfie Caine’s Paintings

January 31, 2023

Kate Mothes

A painting by Alfie Caine of a surreal architectural space in a landscape lit by uncanny light.

“House through the Ferns” (2022), vinyl and acrylic paint on canvas, 120 x 90 centimeters. All images © Alfie Caine, shared with permission courtesy of the artist and JARILAGER Gallery

Imbued with otherworldly light and a jewel-toned palette, Alfie Caine’s dreamscapes tuck domestic architecture into the idealized surroundings of manicured neighborhoods, country gardens, and lush woodland. The East Sussex-based artist draws on his formal training in architecture to render homes and their environs in vivid hues, playing with perspective and the relationship between light and shadow in an interplay of interior and exterior.

In Caine’s vignettes of domestic life, clues to the inhabitants are found in details like a potted plant propping a door open, a pet awaiting attention, or a glimpse of a figure in the corner, nearly out of view. The precision of linear perspective and bold contrasts meet the surreal, organic forms of wispy flora and streams of chimney smoke in scenes that emphasize small moments of pleasure in everyday life, such as taking a hot bath, strumming a guitar, or lighting a candle. These instances of familiarity are often countered by uncanny light sources, which illuminate bouquets of flowers, cast long shadows, and portend an incoming storm or some mysterious, unknown event.

Caine’s solo show titled Moments of Calm is on view through February 23 at JARILAGER Gallery. Find more of the artist’s work on his website and Instagram.

 

A painting by Alfie Caine of a surreal architectural space in a landscape lit by uncanny light.

“Before the Storm” (2022), vinyl and acrylic paint on canvas, 120 x 170 centimeters

A painting by Alfie Caine of a surreal architectural space in a landscape lit by evening light.

“Foxglove Farmhouse” (2022), vinyl and acrylic paint on canvas, 120 x 90 centimeters

A painting by Alfie Caine of a surreal architectural space in a landscape lit by uncanny light.

“Bath by Candlelight” (2022), vinyl and acrylic paint on canvas, 120 x 170 centimeters

A painting by Alfie Caine of a surreal architectural space in a landscape lit by uncanny light.

“Bathroom off the Corridor” (2022), vinyl and acrylic paint on canvas, 152.4 x 121.9 centimeters

A painting by Alfie Caine of a surreal architectural space in a landscape lit by uncanny light.

“Entrance Overlooking the Bay” (2022), vinyl and acrylic paint on canvas, 177.8 x 203.2 centimeters

A painting by Alfie Caine of a surreal architectural space in a landscape lit by uncanny light.

“Lacquer Staircase” (2022), vinyl and acrylic paint on canvas, 177.8 x 152.4 centimeters

A painting by Alfie Caine of a surreal architectural space in a landscape lit by uncanny light.

“Red Dining Room” (2022), vinyl and acrylic paint on canvas, 152.4 x 121.9 centimeters

A painting by Alfie Caine of a surreal architectural space in a landscape lit by uncanny light.

“Riverside Porch” (2022), vinyl and acrylic paint on canvas, 120 x 90 centimeters

A painting by Alfie Caine of a surreal architectural space in a landscape lit by uncanny light.

“Two Blue Trees” (2022), vinyl and acrylic paint on canvas, 120 x 90 centimeters

 

 

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Art

Leafy Subjects Exemplify the Social Life of Trees of Shyama Golden’s Verdant Portraits

January 4, 2023

Kate Mothes

A painting of two figures or trees cloaked in vines.

“Intertwined” (2020), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches. All images © Shyama Golden, shared with permission

On the banks of the Martha Brae River in Jamaica, artist Shyama Golden noticed greenery that appeared like lovers embracing. She “started to see these anthropomorphic vine-covered trees everywhere, taking on the forms of various archetypes.” The scenes inspired a series of paintings titled With or Without Us that merges facets of landscape and portrait painting into verdant works expressing nature as a social entity.

The Los Angeles-based artist’s practice is influenced by myriad sources, especially literature and everyday experiences. “Sometimes the idea can come from reading, and sometimes I take inspiration directly from life, but I often do research to add more details as I go, even if the original idea didn’t come from anything I read,” she tells Colossal. With or Without Us takes cues from Richard Powers’ 2019 novel The Overstoryan evocation of the natural world comprised of interlocking narratives in which each character is deeply connected to trees.

For this series, Golden was fascinated by the invisible means in which trees communicate with each other using a network of soil fungi, an ecological survival mechanism that is under threat from deforestation and impacts of the climate crisis. By combining recognizable portrait imagery redolent of family photographs, headshots, or the art historical vogue for reclining female figures, Golden reimagines the leafy denizens of forests as individuals with distinctive personalities and relationships.

Find more of Golden’s work on her website and Instagram.

 

A painted portrait of figures or trees cloaked in vines.

“Familiar Phantasm” (2021), oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches

A painted portrait of figures or trees cloaked in vines.

Detail of “Familiar Phantasm”

A painted portrait of a figure or tree cloaked in vines.

“The Hero” (2021), oil on panel, 48 x 48 inches

A painted portrait of a reclining figure or tree cloaked in vines.

“The Muse” (2021), oil on canvas, 60 x 40 inches

A painted portrait of a figure or tree cloaked in vines.

“Blue” (2021), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches

A detail of a painted portrait of figures or trees cloaked in vines.

Detail of “Intertwined”

 

 



Art

Holiday Lights Warm the Dark Winter Nights of Jeremy Miranda’s Paintings

December 23, 2022

Grace Ebert

A painting of a glowing tree on a landscape

All images © Jeremy Miranda, shared with permission

Colorful lights strung on trees and lining gutters cast a welcoming, vibrant glow on dreary, winter evenings in Jeremy Miranda’s paintings. The Maine-based artist (previously) is known for his dreamlike works of landscapes and interiors that incorporate both the domestic and outside world, and elements of nostalgia, intimacy, and memory echo throughout the scenes. Often illuminating the magical in the mundane, Miranda has been creating a growing collection of holiday paintings during the last few years that center on Christmas trees and decorated homes, capturing the warmth of the season as it shines through stark, frigid nights.

The artist has a few prints available through Sebastian Foster, and you can follow his work on Instagram.

 

A painting of a glowing tree in a home

A painting of a glowing lights strung on a home

A painting of a glowing tree through a house window

A painting of a glowing tree through a house window

A painting of glowing holiday lights on a landscape

A painting of glwoing lights in a landscape

 

 



Art

Minimal Paintings by Artist Liz Flores Explore What It Means to Belong

December 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

A minimal painting of an abstractly painted woman

“Fresca y Atrevida (Bold and Outspoken)” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 39 ⅜ x 47 ¼ inches. All images © Liz Flores, courtesy of Vertical Gallery

A new series by Chicago-based artist Liz Flores explores familial roots and community through minimal portraits in a palette of deep, warm colors and neutral tones complemented by blues. In Ni De Aquí, Ni De Allá, which translates to “from neither here nor there,” Flores uses the anonymity and ambiguity of her figures to explore the connections between generations and the human desire to position oneself within an ancestral context. “This work is a direct reaction to the question ‘What are you?’” the artist says. “In the U.S., you don’t always feel like you are American enough. But then at the same time, you may not always feel Latina enough. You live in the in-between.”

Born to a Cuban mother and a Mexican father, Flores describes deepening her understanding of this liminal space during a recent collaboration with The Jaunt, a travel project that sends artists to various locations around the world. She traveled to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where she joined her aunt and other family members for the first time without her parents. She explains:

I spent the next few days at their home talking with her about the differences in living in the States vs. Mexico, how the family in the States has changed, and the difficulty in keeping traditions alive. During this conversation, she mentioned how it can feel like you are “ni de aquí, ni de allá” and that became the title and theme of my show. It was a moment that felt like an evolution for me, not just as an artist gaining inspiration but as an adult, making connections with my family members not through my parents but on my own.

That moment followed a trip to Cuba a week earlier to visit her mother’s family when she talked with her cousins about the same feelings of belonging.

 

A minimal painting of an abstractly painted women braiding each others' hair

“Generaciones (Generations)” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 72 inches

These moments culminate in Flores’ solo show, which is on view through the end of the year at Vertical Gallery in Chicago. Fourteen acrylic paintings center on the artist’s signature color-blocked figures, whose bodies bend and join each other in abstract compositions. Elongated limbs and hand gestures imply movement through clean, graceful lines, and puzzle pieces on the threshold of fitting into place reference broader themes of identity and kinship. Works like “Fresca y Atrevida,” for example, are more personal and reflect Flores’ affinities with Cuban culture by finding a blue zunzuncito, the world’s smallest bird that’s native to the island nation, as it prepares to land on the tip of the woman’s finger.

A few of the prints the artist created with The Jaunt are available on the project’s site, and you can find more of her work on both canvases and walls on Instagram.

 

A minimal painting of an abstractly painted woman

“Piezas Perdidas (Missing Pieces)” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40 inches

A minimal painting of an abstractly painted woman

“Espejo (Mirror),” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

A minimal painting of an abstractly painted woman

“Pedazo (Piece)” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14 inches

A minimal painting of an abstractly painted woman

“Sin Barreras #1 (Without Barriers #1)” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14 inches

A minimal painting of an abstractly painted woman

“Sin Barreras #2 (Without Barriers #2)” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14 inches

 

 



Art

In ‘It Is What It Is,’ Alfred Conteh Takes a Realistic Approach to Examining Life for Black Southerners

December 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

A distressed painted portrait of a man

“Daishon” (2022), acrylic, atomized brass dust, and atomized steel dust on canvas, 120 x 84 inches. All images © Alfred Conteh, courtesy of Kavi Gupta, shared with permission

The urgency of Alfred Conteh’s portraits lies in the present. He portrays Black people he meets around Atlanta, creating monumental works that accentuate the material both physically and metaphorically, in their mediums and the critical analysis of current social conditions. “Black folks are not doing well in this country,” Conteh tells Colossal. “We will not do well until we come to terms with how this country was built, and the resulting racial wealth gaps and social decay. Nothing is being done to improve that, first and foremost economically.”

Layered with urethane plastic or steel and bronze dust, the works, which are on view at Kavi Gupta in Chicago as part of Conteh’s solo show It Is What It Is, are distressed with cracked surfaces and blotches of acrylic paint. Some stand ten feet tall, and the magnitude of their scale echoes that of the issues the artist is addressing. Conteh focuses on the gritty, harsh reality of the lives of Black people in the U.S., particularly as it relates to the historical policies and institutions that continue to affect the  economic, social, and cultural conditions of those he meets. “Stanton Road Water Boys,” for example, features three young men who were solicited drivers on an Atlanta road. “If there were opportunities for them to work, I doubt they would stand here trying to sell a two dollar bottle of warm water,” Conteh shares.

 

A distressed painted portrait of three men

“Stanton Road Water Boys” (2022), acrylic and urethane plastic on canvas, 84 x 84 inches

As the title suggests, the exhibition exposes the overlooked or disregarded truths about life today, centering on current conditions rather than a hopeful view for the future. The myth of meritocracy is widespread, and Conteh rails against willful ignorance of privilege and power especially as it relates to wealth and access to opportunity. He explains:

Aspiration is a viewpoint that someone would have if they had the tools and the undergirding to be able to make an idea real, to make whatever they conceptualize a reality. That has not largely been available to African Americans as a whole, to aspire. Historically, legally, African Americans were enslaved, marginalized, segregated, red lined, ostracized, kept from wealth—the list goes on and on. So how can you honestly say “aspire to be something greater” when the policies and norms and mores of this country say no? It infantilizes people when we say things are gonna be alright.

It Is What It Is is on view through March 4, 2023. Find more from Conteh on Instagram.

 

Two distressed painted portraits

Left: “Shampoo” (2022), acrylic and urethane plastic on canvas, 84 x 48 inches. Right: “IWB Shawty” (2022), acrylic, urethane plastic, and atomized steel dust on canvas, 84 x 48 inches

A distressed painted portrait of a woman

“Loretta (Ms. T)” (2022), acrylic and urethane plastic on canvas, 120 x 84 inches

Two distressed painted portraits

Left: “Reesie” (2020), acrylic and urethane plastic on canvas, 48 x 36 x 3 inches. Right: “Reneé” (2020), acrylic and atomized steel dust on canvas, 48 x 36 x 3 inches

A distressed painted portrait of a man

“Minnesota” (2022), acrylic and atomized steel dust on canvas, 25 x 25 inches

A distressed painted portrait of a man

“Isiah (The Boxer, The Bouncer)” (2021), acrylic and atomized bronze dust on canvas, 60 x 60 inches

A gallery view of three painted portraits

 

 



Art

Animals of Translucent Botanics Center in Molly Devlin’s Ethereal Portraits

November 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

A painted portrait of a deer comprised of delicate foliage

All images © Molly Devlin, shared with permission

In her exquisitely rendered portraits in acrylic, artist Molly Devlin instills an aura of dreamlike mystery. She shapes the likeness of a deer or snail from layers of translucent florals and foliage: stacked leaves splay outward like the fur of a cat’s face, fronds and wispy tendrils billow from the bulbous head of a jellyfish, and mycelium cloaks a small bird in delicate webbing. Through the fantastical, gossamer compositions, Devlin prods the ephemeral nature of existence and explores various facets of the unknown. “I’ve always been fascinated by the mysteries beyond life and death, the unexplainable offers infinite inspiration to me,” she shares.

Devlin, who is based in Sacramento, is currently preparing for an upcoming group exhibition at Corey Helford Gallery, and she also has shows slated for next year at Revolution Gallery and Arch Enemy Arts. Find prints and original paintings in the artist’s shop, and watch her at work on Instagram.

 

A painted portrait of a cat comprised of delicate foliage

A painted portrait of a jellyfish comprised of delicate foliage

A photo of a framed painted portrait of a bird comprised of mycelium

A photo of a framed painted portrait of a snail comprised of mycelium

A detail of a painted portrait of a deer comprised of delicate foliage

A photo of a framed painted portrait of a jellyfish made of foliage