Solitary female figures command the canvas in oil paintings by artist Miho Hirano. The Japanese artist creates detailed portraits of her human protagonists, who avoid direct eye contact with the viewer. Hirano’s women stare off into the distance as fish and butterflies swarm and flower blossoms and vines seem to grow from the figures’ hair. In a statement on Gallery Sumire’s website, Hirano describes the mission of her work as “to express the changing situation of life’s ugliness and maturity.”
Hirano draws inspiration from her upbringing, noting that her mother cared for plants and animals, and those motifs have continued in her work even though she does not currently reside in a nature-filled place. She also explained to WOW x WOW that she has long found painting a resonant medium to express her thoughts, explore ideas, and escape reality.
Hirano graduated from Musashino Art University’s department of Oil Painting and currently resides in Chiba, Japan. The artist had her first solo show in the U.S. at Corey Helford Gallery in 2017. Hirano’s newest body of work, Recollection, is on view in a two-person show at Corey Helford in Los Angeles from November 2 to December 9, 2019. See more of Hirano’s ethereal paintings on Instagram.
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Israeli oil painter Guy Yanai captures peaceful moments featuring architecture and plants. Often merging indoor and outdoor perspectives, Yanai presents placid scenes devoid of human figures. Instead, scraggly houseplants and open doors and windows act as visual focal points, suggesting the presence of human life that may have potted the plant or propped open the door. While Yanai’s subject matter is clearly representational, he works in a highly stylized manner, carefully building the volume of each painted form with perfectly straight horizontal and vertical lines that draw attention to the painting as object as well as a portal. In an interview with Culture Trip, Yanai shared:
As much as what I do is a physical thing, and in the end I make a physical object, the end-result in people’s brain is an abstract one. I would like some images to be kind of burned into people’s heads, so in this sense I don’t have a problem with people seeing images of my work online or on screens. It’s one more representation of that object, and it’s obvious that it only references the real painting.
Yanai’s solo show at Miles McEnery Gallery is on view through October 5, 2019 in New York City, and he will also have a solo booth through Praz-Delavallade at the Artissima contemporary art fair in Italy in early November. Explore more of the artist’s work on canvas, as well as monographs and collaborations with fashion labels, on his website and Tumblr.
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Spectacularly detailed paintings by Jacob Brostrup layer indoor and outdoor scenes in luminescent colors. The artist renders each component of his oil paintings with exacting, realistic detail, but the overlapping narratives of time and place create a dreamlike state. Old-fashioned architectural features, particularly staircases and windows, are common visual elements alongside fallen trees and marshy bodies of water. Brostrup, who is Danish, also spends part of his time in Barcelona. The artist graduated from the Danish National School of Design in Copenhagen. He is represented by Kirk Gallery in Allborg, Denmark, which hosted his most recent shows in 2019; Galeria Contrast in Barcelona; and Galleri Franz Pedersen in Horsens. Explore more of Brostrup’s transfixing paintings on Instagram (we’re loving his recent works with swimming pool motifs) and Artsy. (Thnx, Tanis!)
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Japanese artist Teppei Takeda uses the trompe l’oeil technique to recreate the act of painting in the form of abstract portraits. The completed paintings are anonymous, rather than of a specific person, and are meticulously put together through highly detailed paintings of gestural strokes.
Takeda is somewhat of an anomaly. The 41-year old worked for a decade almost exclusively within the confines of his studio in Yamagata, waiting for the right moment when he would unveil his paintings to the world. That day came in the summer of 2016 when Takeda held his first solo exhibition at local gallery Kuguru. Here’s what his current gallerist, Maho Kubota Gallery, had to say about the show:
There was no special advertising or publicity, but the ten portraits that he exhibited had such an impact on viewers that the news soon spread, reaching people who would travel to Yamagata from far away to see his works and collectors hoping to buy.
Teppei Takeda’s current show at Maho Kubota Gallery in Tokyo, titled “Paintings of Paintings,” recently opened and is on view through October 12, 2019. Morioka Shoten, the Ginza bookshop that only carries 1 title per week, is currently selling Takeda’s book of paintings (through 9/15). (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
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French painter Eric Roux-Fontaine (previously) creates dreamy scenes that meld wild, light-dappled environments with lavish interior elements like armchairs, chandeliers, canopy beds, and Gothic windows. In some works, animals wander through the painting, the sole subjects in the landscapes. The artist shares with Colossal that he considers his paintings “custodians of silence, initiating a poetic protocol.” Roux-Fontaine draws inspiration from his travel memories in places as far-flung as Central America and India. “Although these paintings reveal an absence,” the artist explains, “this is to enable visitors to slip through reality more effectively so that they too merge into places imbued with collective memories.”
Roux-Fontaine is represented by several galleries in the U.S. and France, including Boston’s M Fine Arts where his solo show opens in October, 2019; Waltman Ortega Fine Art in Miami, with whom he’ll be sharing work during the Miami Art Fair in December; and Hugo Galerie in New York, which will mount a solo show in May, 2020. See more of the artist’s recent paintings on his website and Instagram.
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Continuously evolving his style from early surreal comic-like renderings, to subdued portraits, all the way to abstract assemblages, Catalan artist Aryz has built his reputation as a multi-talented muralist. More recently, Aryz has reduced the quantity of new mural projects and has focused his imagery on figurative compositions built from seamlessly integrated elements.
Often leaving the brushwork as visible as possible and mixing vibrant, sometimes clashing colors, he is now fully focused on creating work that aims to translate the unmediated feel of sketching into large-scale murals. “I think, with time, you need to get rid of the technique and at the end go to the basic and go to the essence of the composition of the colors,” Aryz shares with Colossal about his unique manner of building images. “I don’t know if I’m succeeding on that, but that’s my goal at the moment.”
One recent mural, painted earlier this summer in Angers, France, depicts a shirtless man working with a large mallet. The image is constructed from various elements taken at different moments, with loose limbs suggesting energetic action. Sourcing his inspiration from propaganda posters and classical paintings, Aryz is reinventing this imagery with his own style. “I feel comfortable with it, because I like that aesthetic, instead of maybe portraying a contemporary character with jeans and piercings,” the artist explains.
A similar concept was used for a new mural in Berlin, where he conveyed a dynamic scene of wrestlers fighting. “It’s all about painting these humans that are fighting against humans as a reflection of the nowadays society,” Aryz tells Colossal. While having the rough, almost careless aesthetic of pencil drawing on paper, this four stories-tall composition is broken up by the existing window on the building. With fists, legs, and even bones appearing unexpectedly inside the composition, and expressive brushstrokes filling up the surface, the image freezes a moment of great tension.
Aryz is showing his work in several places around France this fall, including in Rouen, France at Temple Saint-Eloi through September 22, 2019, and then through November 24, 2019, in partnership with Hangar 107. In Paris, the artist’s new work is on view starting November 8, 2019. Aryz’s final French stop is at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy, opening 14 Novembre 2019, and closing February 16, 2020. Follow along with Aryz’s whirlwind tour and see more of his fresh work on Instagram.
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New York-based painter Robin F. Williams captures figures—often women—in powerful poses. Her canvases usually center on one figure, whose broad shoulders and dramatic gestures fill the frame. Williams works with a range of painting styles, including more gestural, layered techniques as well as building slick, flat fields of color. In an interview with Juxtapoz (she is also on the cover of their Summer 2019 issue), Williams shared her approach to creating her unique paintings:
I am interested in micro-expressions and how we read each other’s cues. There seems to be a lot of illiteracy around body language and not enough acknowledgment that non-verbal cues can be, and sometimes have to be, very complicated. I want to compress time in these paintings by using multiple markers within one piece, either through form or narrative. The goal is not to make a painting that feels timeless, but to make a painting that feels outside of time. It’s a way to discuss how images of women have consistently been so problematic.
Williams’ solo show, With Pleasure, recently opened at Various Small Fires in Los Angeles, and runs through October 26, 2019. In addition to creating her own work, the artist has been an adjunct faculty member at the School of Visual Arts since 2013. If you enjoy Williams’ intimate, dynamic approach to female portraiture, also check out Hope Gangloff and Kathryn Engberg. Follow along with Williams on Instagram. (via this isn’t happiness)
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