with female portrait
St. Louis-based artist Ali Cavanaugh paints dreamlike watercolors of female subjects on wet clay panels. She refers to her works as “modern frescos,” due to their similarity to the fresco-secco style of painting, and the luminosity she creates through a method of layering translucent pigments on bright white surfaces. In each portrait Cavanaugh aims to paint the minute details of her subject’s physical appearance, while also evoking a “tender unseen presence that transcends understanding in the depth of a soul.”
Her work is currently included in the group exhibition Painting the Figure Now at the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art in Wausau, Wisonsin through September 28, 2018. Her new book Modern Frescoes, published by Unicorn Press, will be available for preorders this fall. You can see more of Cavanaugh’s work on Instagram and Facebook.
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Lino Lago paints realistic portraits and scenes in oil and adds a layer of abstracted intrigue using bright fields of color. His recent series, Fake Abstract, is comprised of classically-styled portraits of women, mostly obscured by solid blocks of red, pink, or blue. A thin sliver or squiggle, reminiscent of a finger dragged across a foggy window, reveals a peek at the figure beneath the color. It is up to the viewer’s imagination whether Lago paints a full portrait and covers it in color, or, uses the color as the base and adds the portrait into the blank canvas left by the squiggle.
The artist has also explored juxtapositions of traditional European interiors—dining rooms, parlors, and museum galleries—with unexplained splashes of bright color that appear to explode into the rooms from doorways and windows.
Lago, who is Spanish and resides in Spain and Lithuania, exhibits widely and has upcoming shows at Bredgade Kunsthandel in Copenhagen (April 12), Geraldine Banier in Paris (June 7th), Moret Art in Coruña, Spain (end of June), and Goodwin Fine Art in Denver (November). You can see more of Lago’s artwork on his website.
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Taller than trees and towering over buildings, Johanna Goodman‘s pieced together female forms appear to stretch far above the landscapes before them. The collaged works, which combine elements of art, design, and architecture, are a part Goodman’s series titled The Catalogue of Imaginary Beings, which aims to explore the individual’s role in history and popular culture.
“[The Catalogue of Imaginary Beings] draws its inspiration from a wide spectrum of sources—including magical realism, surrealism and symbolism—and more specifically references such cultural artifacts as talismans, idols, totems and all of the material detritus that surrounds all of us all the time,” Goodman told Ms. “These characters are composites embodying notions of ‘the warrior,’ vulnerability, industry, the universal and the personal. They reference these identities as they’ve been depicted historically through art, literature and commerce.”
Recently Goodman has created works that commemorate the strong women involved in the Women’s March on Washington and its sister marches across the globe. She has also created work inspired by the Climate March that occurred this past April (like the figure seen erupting from a smoke stack below). You can view more of Goodman’s elongated collages on her Instagram and Tumblr. (via Tu Recepcja)
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Angered by the gendered division perpetually seen in classic Western films, painter Felice House decided to create her painted series Re-Western. The collection of works are a re-imagining of her favorite Western films cast with female leads instead of the traditional male cowboys, painting females in place of actors such as James Dean, John Wayne, or Clint Eastwood. The women in her paintings are strapped with shotguns riding horses, fiercely looking out onto a deserted plain, and strongly staring into the eyes of the audience clad in plain button-downs and bright red cowboy boots.
“The western movie tradition is so established; so accepted, so mythologized that it spans the globe,” said House to Colossal. “I love the genre, and at the same time when I sit down to watch a Western movie, I start to feel angry. For the most part, the roles in Westerns are totally inaccessible to me.”
Deciding to start a conversation with this frustration, House choose to paint these reimagined Westerns to ask straightforward questions to a society that continuously handed over these roles to males. House seeks to ask what society would be like with this imagined reversal—how would education be changed? What would our reestablished priorities look like with females as the lead role?
“I would argue that in today’s culture portraying women without objectifying them is an intentional and political act,” said House. “The art historical and current cultural norm is to portray women to extol their sexual beauty and to encourage possessiveness. For centuries men have painted images of women for men. Now that women have access to education and training, women are painting women as we see ourselves.”
House uses her female gaze and voice to create strong, female heroes in environments we all know, reestablishing our connection to the well-known historical settings. Working with the idea of a hero, House paints her portraits larger than life. She encourages the viewer to look up and become dwarfed by the women and their power, hoping this change in physical perspective might encourage a change in mental perspective as well.
Several of House’s female portraits are currently in the group exhibition Sight Unseen at Abend Gallery in Denver through March 25. Pieces from her Re-Western series will be included the upcoming exhibition Woman as Warrior at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago in August. You can see more of her work on her website and Instagram. (via The Creators Project)
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