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Art

Gestural Brush Strokes and Focused Color Palettes Form Watercolor Portraits by Nick Runge

July 13, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Los Angeles-based artist Nick Runge paints watercolor portraits of people and human skeletons in a unique style that blends elements of abstraction with hints of realism. Soft edges of layered shapes and blended flesh and bone tones present all the visual information required to see features, without crossing into the realm of photorealism.

“I do sketch out the composition first, but I try not to have any kind of formula,” Runge tells Colossal about his painting process. “I try to narrow down the colors to ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ as a rough idea. I like to guide the watercolor but let it also do its own thing, to be more abstract.” Muted colors and expressive poses add to the naturalistic feel of the portraits, even when the subject is a jacket-wearing skeleton.

Raised in Colorado by now-retired professional artist parents (a college art professor and a graphic designer), Runge says that he did not study art formally but that he did benefit from having both of their perspectives. After working as an illustrator for 11 years, he found his voice in 2004 through experimentation. “Oil paint and watercolor allowed me to loosen up and step away from the highly realistic, pop type art (done mostly with acrylics and pencils) and let the paint do more of its own thing,” Runge explains, “Also, getting away from celebrity portraits and pop culture allowed me to focus more on HOW something is painted, and not WHAT/WHO I’m painting. Art for art’s sake.”

To see more of Nick Runge’s paintings, follow the artist on Instagram. He also has online and in-person watercolor workshops for those interesting in learning.

 

 



Art

Palette Knife Smudges and Heavy Brushstrokes Form Colorful Abstract Portraits by Joseph Lee

July 7, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Los Angeles-based artist and actor Joseph Lee (previously) brushes and smudges thick globs of oil paint to create multi-colored portraits. Vibrant layers of segmented brushstrokes focus on the emotion of human faces rather than their physicality, with facial features partially or entirely obscured from view.

Lee began painting as a way to channel his creativity after a failed acting audition. “After working on a long project, I needed to protect my energy and be selfish with my time,” he told Shape/Shift Report. “I don’t have any formal artistic training and coming from a theater background, human behavior and emotions were the closest references I had to paint.” Describing his process as “a bit of a blur,” Lee says that he shuts off mentally and fully engages with the work. No two days are the same, and that’s the way he prefers it. “I am not conscious of what I am doing much of this time,” he explained. “Obviously, there are times that call to be analytical and business-minded, but the actual process is to be fully engaged with my piece without interruptions. There are times when I’m just throwing paint around mindlessly, and other times where I find myself staring at a blank canvas for hours.”

To stare more deeply at Lee’s canvas paintings, prints, and clothing, head over to his Instagram.

 

 



Art Photography

Ethereal Portraits Created Using a Desktop Scanner by Maitha Demithan

June 19, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs courtesy of Maitha Demithan

Artist Maitha Demithan has worked in a variety of media over her career, and in 2009 landed on the use of scanography to create portraits. This process involves using a scanner that comes in contact with the subject but does not expose the intense light source to the sitter’s eyes. The dream-like scanned images have a dramatic focal field, in which the in-contact surface of the subject quickly fades to black, and the subjects’ eyes are usually closed, distancing their inner thoughts from the viewer. Despite the large-scale finished products, Demithan actually works with a desktop-sized A4 scanner. She takes up to 100 images and then digitally layers and stitches them together, playing with the combination of different focal points and textures to create a printable collage.

Demithan has used scanography both with human and animal subjects, including falcons and owls, and she often reflects on themes of family and animal-human relationships in her work.  She shares her approach to image-making:

I let the process of scanning and drawing in the presence of the living being – be it human or animal – define the portrait and the outcome. The outcomes are difficult to categorize or express as the interactions between the ‘sitters’ and between the ‘sitters’ and myself create the moments I wish to capture. These often hold an emotional quality.

The Dubai-based artist has exhibited her digital photo collages throughout the Middle East as well as in Australia and Germany. Demithan offers a selection of her works as prints in her online store, and shares glimpses from her process on Instagram.

 

 



Art

Embroidered Women by Klára Hosnedlová Inhabit Installations Inspired by Historic Stage Design

June 11, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

All images © Klára Hosnedlová and Karlin Studios, Prague

Berlin-based artist Klára Hosnedlová builds installations that evoke the feeling of romanticized dressing rooms. Her recent exhibition titled Seated Woman (pictured here) was inspired by the stage design of the bedroom scene in the 1924 Karel Hugo Hilar production of Romeo and Juliet at the National Theater in Prague. Instead of a bed, Hosnedlová has installed a sculptural changing area with wispy, transparent curtains. This gesture merges what happens backstage with the theatrical design of a play, inviting the audience to imagine the intimate and unseen moments that happen just off stage.

Her textured, baby pink walls also act as armatures for detailed embroideries of women in different stages of dress. Heavily layered, long stitches form rich portraits of semi-anonymous figures. Each is thickly bordered with a frame that appears like endlessly looping braids, imitating the idea of getting ready or preparing for a night onstage. You can view more of Hosnedlová installations and embroideries on her Instagram.

 

 



Art Illustration

Over Fifty Artists Showcase Work Within Notebook Spreads for the 8th Annual ‘Moleskine Project’

June 7, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Juan Travieso

Back for an eighth year, the annual Moleskine Project, curated by Rodrigo Luff and Spoke Art, brings together a diverse slate of artists all working within the confines of a Moleskine notebook. Featuring over fifty artists from around the world, this year’s exhibiting artists include Laura Berger (previously), Kevin Peterson (previously), and Martine Johanna. Luff describes the mission of the show as “a tribute to how artists have developed and grown by using sketchbooks to dive deeper into the personal realms that fuel their artwork. An energetic visual dialogue of imagery flows from frame to frame, forming a collective sketchbook that allows us to appreciate the radically individual approach taken by each artist.”

The Moleskine Project show opened on June 1 and runs through June 22, 2019 at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco. You can keep up with the bi-coastal gallery’s upcoming events on Instagram and Facebook.

Loribelle Spirovski

Martine Johanna

Jayde Cardinalli

Laura Berger

JP Neang

Kevin Peterson

Hope Kroll

Zach Oldenkamp

 

 



Art

Candid Charcoal and Oil Paint Portraits of South African Children by Nelson Makamo

May 30, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Nelson Makamo, "We are Angels with Dirty Faces," all images by Andile Buka

Nelson Makamo, “We are Angels with Dirty Faces,” all documentation by Andile Buka

Johannesburg, South Africa-based artist Nelson Makamo (previously) uses paint and charcoal to create works that capture the candid nature of childhood. His subjects are often South African children, including his 11 year-old cousin Mapule Maoto who is commonly featured in his drawings, watercolors, monotypes, and oil paintings. The gestural pieces aim to present a child’s perspective, with playfully drawn flowers presented in the subjects’ hands or hair and big, round glasses on their faces.

Recently the artist created a new piece of Maoto for the cover of Time Magazine. His solo exhibition, which includes these paintings and more, will be shown at Loo&Lou in Paris through July 27, 2019. You can see more of his paintings of children and other subjects on his website and Instagram.

"A Gaze in Inverse"

“A Gaze in Inverse”

"To Paris with Love"

“To Paris with Love”

"Decoration of the Youth"

“Decoration of the Youth”

"Untitled"

“Untitled”

"Untitled"

“Untitled”

"Women of Coulour"

“Women of Coulour”

Photograph by Solomon Moremong

 

 



Art

Detailed Portraits of Tahiti’s Third Gender by Kehinde Wiley Challenge Gauguin’s Problematic Depictions

May 25, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Portrait of Geysha Kaua, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 151,5 x 122,5 cm 59 3/4 x 48 1/4 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

American artist Kehinde Wiley (previously) has unveiled a new series of paintings of Tahiti’s Māhū community, a group of Polynesians classified as a third gender between male and female. Presented at Galerie Templon in Paris, the colorful portrait series challenges a collection of 20th century works by Paul Gauguin, removing elements that Wiley considers problematic and exploitative side effects of colonialism.

Wiley takes issues with Gauguin’s depictions of the Māhū for being unrealistic fantasies that sexually objectify the community for the sake of his White audience back home. The paintings in his “Tahiti” series incorporate tribal patterns, bright colors, plants, and poses inspired by Gauguin’s work, but these distinctive elements were chosen by the models themselves as a form of “self-presentation.”

Portrait of Kea Loha Mahuta,II, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 162,5 x 213,5 cm 64 x 84 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

“I am interested in transformation and artifice,” the artist said in a statement. “My newest exhibition will engage with the history of France and its outward facing relationship to black and brown bodies, specifically relating to sexual proclivity. Gauguin features heavily in the imagination of France and her global interface–with that comes an entire history of complicated gazing. I interrogate, subsume, and participate in discourse about Māhū, about France, and about the invention of gender.”

The “Tahiti” exhibition opened on May 18 and will remain on view at the gallery (along with a new video work) through July 20, 2019. Follow Kehinde Wiley on Instagram to see what else he has been up to, including preparing for his upcoming Black Rock Senegal residency.

Portrait of Kea Loha Mahuta, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 92 x 78 cm 36 1/4 x 30 3/4 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

Portrait of Moerai Matuanui, 2019 Huile sur lin/ Oil on linen 183 x 153,2 cm 72 x 60 3/8 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

Portrait of Shelby Hunter, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 183 x 244 cm 72 x 96 1/8 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

Portrait of Tuatini Manate,III, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 180 x 241,5 cm 70 7/8 x 95 1/8 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

Portrait of Tuatini Manate, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 114,5 x 92 cm 45 1/8 x 36 1/4 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

The Siesta, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 183 x 244 cm 72 x 96 1/8 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019