with acrylic painting
Folkloric Portraits in Acrylic by Artist Paul Lewin Envision an Afrofuturistic World
For Jamaica-born, Miami-based artist Paul Lewin, painting portraits of resilient, unafraid women is a way to process and manifest a lineage. “My work tells the story of me,” he says in a statement. “Each of my paintings is created in a process similar to dreaming. Meditation and dreams were very important tools in the creative process of my ancestors. I like to think of it as traveling inside to the place where my inspirations, emotions, genetic memory, and unconscious thoughts all collide.”
Working in neutral tones and colors evocative of the tropics, Lewin envisions figures within the speculative realm of Afrofuturism. Geometric motifs and symbols reference diasporic folklore and ritual and adorn the subjects’ faces and torsos. Hoods of fur, snake-like coils, and feathers shroud their bodies, using organic details to frame their silhouettes and convey the intrinsic connections between humanity and nature. Rendered on canvas or wood panel, each work is rooted in the transfer of energy and how legacies are passed through generations.
Prints, stickers, and other goods are available in Lewin’s shop. Visit Instagram for more of his works and glimpses into his process.
Share this story
Playfully Surreal Scenarios Emerge from Innumerable Acrylic Dots in Quint Buchholz’s Paintings
When viewing the uncanny scenes of Munich-based artist Quint Buchholz, it’s evident that play, experimentation, and exploring the uncharted are central tenets of his practice: a string quintet precariously balances above the sea, sightseers take advantage of the view atop a giant man, and a pigeon doubles as an apartment complex.
Each piece toys with scale and sensibility, and Buchholz enlarges some characters to preposterous sizes while positioning others in strange, seemingly impossible situations. “I enjoy the various possibilities that emerge when you reflect on the world and on your own life and move beyond the boundaries of what we believe is real,” he shares. “For me, the notion of play, of trying things out is a central element in art. And playing in this way opens up many unexpected doors.”
Painted with brushes in various sizes on paper or cardboard, the grainy texture present in the works evokes pointillism or film photography, the latter of which Buchholz says was an early inspiration. The dotted effect is also “a way of connecting the very calm character of my painting technique with a structure that was still lively,” he says, noting that the style also “lifts (the characters) out of known reality, maybe into a different mode of reflecting and associating.”
The artist will open a solo exhibition at KunstRaum Heilsbronn this October, and he has a number of prints available through Beuteltier Art Galerie. Find more of his surreal paintings on Instagram.
Share this story
Set Against a Backdrop of World Events, Tim Okamura’s Bold Portraits Emanate Commanding Energy
Marked with visible brushstrokes and drips of paint, the portraits of Tim Okamura (previously) blend realistic portrayals of his subjects with the fervent, unrestrained qualities of street art. The Japanese-Canadian artist, who recently moved his studio from Brooklyn to Queens, centers his practice around storytelling and honing in on the distinctive energies of those he paints.
Much of Okamura’s portraiture develops in series, whether as the Healthcare Heroes collection devoted to the nurses and doctors working tirelessly throughout the pandemic or the commanding figures of the ongoing Women Warriors—many of these works will be on view as a solo exhibition in September of 2023 at Pittsburgh’s August Wilson African American Cultural Center. Rendered primarily in oil with the occasional acrylic or spray paint addition, the pieces capture the raw nature of Okamura’s process and the distinctive, powerful presence of his subjects.
If you’re in Los Angeles, visit the Academy Museum to view the artist’s portrait of the late writer Toni Morrison. Otherwise, find more of his paintings on his site and Instagram, and browse limited-edition prints in his shop.
Share this story
Traditional Portraits Are Reimagined in an Exploration of Concealment and Identity by Shawn Huckins
A new series of paintings by New Hampshire-based artist Shawn Huckins (previously) proposes thinking about how we wear clothing and textiles in a fresh light. Dirty Laundry continues the artist’s interest in re-interpreting 18th- and 19th-Century European portraiture, an artistic tradition steeped in symbolism and subtle commentary about wealth and class. The garments donned by the subjects of painters like John Singleton Copley or Adriaen van der Werff reflected their status and sense of self through apparel and accessories. Jean-Léon Gérôme’s depiction of a Bashi-Bazouk, a soldier of the Ottoman Empire, is a prescient comment on the nature of clothes and uniform, as those enlisted were often unpaid and dressed in a haphazard mix of pieces they acquired while on the march.
Huckins puts a playful, contemporary twist on the notion of expressing one’s identity through fabric by obscuring his subjects’ faces almost entirely, prompting the viewer to consider what it means to be cloaked or exposed. The artist recreated the compositions in the studio by draping a model with a variety of garments, mimicking the direction and temperature of the light in the original works in acrylic paint.
With their faces covered completely, the sitters are identified only through objects such as a string of pearls, a beloved dog, or a handful of fruit. Huckins says in a statement that “anything more that might be known about these people remains hidden beneath piles of cloth and clothing so ubiquitous it could be our own.” Utilizing modern fabrics like buffalo plaid or gingham, the artist considers how we all dress to convey information about ourselves.
Dirty Laundry is also the title of the artist’s upcoming solo exhibition with Duran Mashaal Gallery in Montréal, which opens on June 2. You can find more of his work on his website and Instagram. (via Creative Boom)
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Animation
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.