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Art Craft Illustration

Seven Artists Crack Open the Art of Printed Matter in 'Bookworks'

May 17, 2022

Kate Mothes

Guy Laramée, “Encyclopedie Larousse” (detail), carved books, pigments, inks, and metal clip. All images courtesy of James Freeman Gallery

Books have beguiled us since they first emerged in the form of ancient scrolls and codices around the world. The way we access, utilize, and enjoy reading material has seen technological transformation over the centuries, from Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in the 15th century, to the first dictionary produced in 1532, to the advent of affordable pocket paperbacks in the early 20th century. Paper tomes have had an immeasurable impact on society and our ability to relay knowledge, and even in an age of digital e-readers, the physical volume still embodies an appeal as timeless as literature itself. In a new exhibition in London, the world of reading provides a starting point for the seven artists to explore a wide range of themes and materials, highlighting our perennial fascination with the printed and bound medium.

Cheri Smith, Russell Webb, Guy Laramée (previously), Aron Wiesenfeld, Guillermo Martin Bermejo, El Gato Chimney, and Claire Partington (previously) work across a wide range of styles including sculpture, illustration, painting, and printmaking. In Bookworks, Laramée’s deconstructed reference volumes are transformed into miniature topographical landscapes that challenge our sense of scale. Cheri Smith’s paintings, sometimes painted onto book covers, reference the eccentricity of animals and how they are categorized in natural history catalogues. El Gato Chimney constructs elaborate narrative illustrations in accordion-style publications that follow an eccentric band of characters as they confront giant creatures.

Bookworks is on view at James Freeman Gallery through June 4.

 

Guy Laramée, “Encyclopedie Larousse,” carved books, pigments, inks, and metal clip

Guy Laramée, “Encyclopedie Larousse,” carved books, pigments, inks, and metal clip

El Gato Chimney, “The Frog’s Apparition” (2021), watercolor and gouache on Moleskine notebook

El Gato Chimney, “The Frog’s Apparition” (2021), watercolor and gouache on Moleskine notebook

El Gato Chimney, “Crazy Wind” (2022), watercolor and gouache on Moleskine notebook

El Gato Chimney, “Kyu! Kyu!” (2022), watercolor and gouache on Moleskine notebook

Guy Laramée, “Petit Larousse Illustré” (2019), carved dictionary, pigments, inks, brass clip

Guy Laramée, “Petit Larousse Illustré” (2019), carved dictionary, pigments, inks, brass clip

Aron Wiesenfeld, “Readers” (2021), gouache on paper

Russell Webb, “Portrait of the Artist as an Author” (2022), oil paint and varnish on ply

Cheri Smith, “Sausage” (2020), oil on board 

 

 



Art Photography

PRIME: A Behemoth New Book Surveys A Broad Segment of Millennial Artists Working Today

May 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

Tau Lewis. All images courtesy of Phaidon, shared with permission

Across nearly 450 pages, PRIME: Art’s Next Generation offers a broad and insightful survey of the Millenials defining the future of the art world. As its title suggests, the massive tome is a primer on the innovative, subversive, and category-defying works that are captivating curators and art professionals. The volume is collated based on time period alone, bringing together more than 100 international artists working across mediums who were born between 1980 and 1995—this includes  Jordan Casteel, Tau Lewis (previously), and Firelei Báez (previously)—in a look at what’s emerged from a cultural and creative landscape shaped by the internet and increasing connectivity. PRIME will be released on May 25 and is available for pre-order on Phaidon and Bookshop.

 

Firelei Báez

Amoako Boafo

Buhlebezwe Siwani

Evan Ifekoya

Louia Fratino

Martine Gutierrez

 

 



Art Illustration

Flora and Fauna Assume Eccentric Guises in Bill Mayer's Wryly Playful Portraits

May 11, 2022

Kate Mothes

“The Wakening”. All images © Bill Mayer, shared with permission

Royal frogs, masquerading lemurs, and florals with human faces are just some of the eccentric characters in acclaimed illustrator Bill Mayer’s (previously) gouache paintings. The traditional aesthetic of European still-life, aristocratic portraiture, and romantic landscape paintings set the scene for uncanny, chimerical subjects who engage in dreamlike encounters or gaze haughtily at the viewer. Gouache, which is water-soluble and more vividly opaque than watercolor, allows the artist to mimic the incredible detail of oil paint.

Mayer continues to work on commissioned projects for recognizable publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, Mother Jones, and Scientific American. He often shares his varied assignments on his blog, including a collaboration earlier this year with the producers of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver to submit a painting to the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. “Duck Judges”—although disqualified from winning the stamp design for technical reasons—raised $25,000 in funds to support the conservation efforts of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Mayer is currently working toward some group shows, and you can keep up with updates on his website, where you can also find prints available for sale in his shop. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

“Le Dauphin de Rana”

“Mr. Moostache”

“The Offering”

“Duck Judges”

“Le Magistrat”

“Le Visiteur”

“Mother Opossum”

“Kinky Ducks No. 02”

 

 

 



Art

Memories Rendered in Ballpoint Pen and Oil Paint by Nicolas V. Sanchez Recall Moments of Belonging

May 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Untitled” (2022), ballpoint pen on paper, 8.9375 x 10.9375 inches. All images courtesy of Sugarlift, shared with permission

Through ballpoint pen drawings and hazy oil paintings, Mexican-American artist Nicolas V. Sanchez (previously) conjures childhood memories, instances of intimacy, and a sense of yearning. Sanchez, whose works vacillate between the incredibly realistic and the dreamlike fog associated with recollection, finds his subject matter in the unassuming and every day. He fixates on the texture of a horse’s short coat and wrinkled neck, the way sleeping children hang their limbs haphazardly off the edge of a couch, and how sunlight permeates sheer curtains scrunched together on a rod.

No matter the medium, Sanchez’s works often evoke his upbringing in the Midwest and his experience as a child of Mexican immigrants. Many of the pieces shown here are included in the artist’s solo show belongings at Sugarlift, which considers connections to histories, ancestors, and geographies. “‘Belonging to’ is always in relation with an enduring sense of to ‘be longing’ for connections that transcend singular explanation,” a statement says.

belongings is on view through June 16 at the New York City gallery, and you can peek into Sanchez’s painstaking process on Instagram.

 

“Mariana” (2022), ballpoint pen on paper, 9.25 x 7.25 inches

“Untitled” (2022), oil on canvas, 96 x 78 inches

“Untitled” (2022), oil on canvas, 96 x 144 inches

“Untitled” (2022), oil on canvas, 96 x 108 inches

“Grandpa” (2021), ballpoint pen on sketchbook, 3.5 x 5 inches

“Family Wall” (2021), ballpoint pen on sketchbook, 3.5 x 5.5 inches

 

 



Art

Traditional Portraits Are Reimagined in an Exploration of Concealment and Identity by Shawn Huckins

May 5, 2022

Kate Mothes

“The Artist’s Wardrobe, Mary Greene (after Copley)” (2022). All images © Shawn Huckins, shared with permission

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)

 

“Various Fabrics, Bashi-Bazouk (after Gerome)” (2022)

“Red and Black, Mrs. Freeman Flower (after Highmore)” (2022)

“Pattern No. 4, Winslow Warren (after Copley)” (2022)

“Yellow and Blue, Portrait of A Lady (after Hudson)” (2022)

“Various Fabrics, Margareta Rees (after van der Werff)” (2022)

“Various Fabrics, John Park with Dog (after Stuart)” (2022)

“American Portrait, Elizabeth Murray (after Copley)” (2022)

 

 



Art

Evening Sunlight Blankets the Dense Los Angeles Hills in an Ethereal Glow in Seth Armstrong's Paintings

April 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Green” (2021), oil on wood panel, 66 x 66 inches

Los Angeles-based artist Seth Armstrong (previously) gravitates toward saturated palettes of greens and blues to render the steep, hilly landscapes of his hometown. Evening sunsets bathe the staggered houses, trees, and sloping streets in a warm glow, adding a tinge of magic to the densely populated neighborhoods. Balancing light with shadow and hyperrealism with more ethereal details, the oil-based works, while similar in composition and subject matter, rarely follow the same process, Armstrong shares. “Sometimes I rely heavily on a drawing to compose a painting, and sometimes I’ll jump straight into the wet stuff,” he tells Colossal. “I haven’t decided if I prefer a thin and complete underpainting, or if I like just slopping it on, straight up.”

Armstrong has paintings slated for a few upcoming shows, including with Asia Art Center at Jing Art in Beijing this May and this winter at Amsterdam’s Miniature Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. He’s also working on a number of commissions and new works, and you can follow his progress on Instagram.

 

“Lemon Yellow” (2021), oil on wood panel, 60 x 48 inches

“Electric Avenue” (2021), oil on wood panel, 48 x 36 inches

“Pastel Is Punk” (2022), oil on wood panel, 36 x 24 inches

“Braintree” (2021), oil on wood panel, 48 x 60 inches

“Mt. Angelus” (2021), oil on wood panel, 40 x 40 inches

 

 

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