portraits

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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

 

 



Art

Mercurial Emotions Carved into New Glitched Sculptures by Yoshitoshi Kanemaki

May 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Japanese sculptor Yoshitoshi Kanemaki (previously) captures the emotional complexities of youth in his glitched 3-dimensional portraits. Kanemaki carves tree trunks into figures—often young women—whose faces are multiplied in expressions that range from distressed to joyful in a single sculpture. The figures’ casual, natural poses seem to capture them in real time: some of the artist’s characters perch on chairs mid-conversation, and others gesture with their arms to express confidence or bashfulness. In his finished works, Kanemaki usually uses lifelike coloring, but for one recent sculpture shown in detail below, the artist experimented with creating the sensation of an out-of-focus image by using soft, blurred shapes and colors to complete the expression. See more of the sculptor’s finished and in-progress works on Instagram and Facebook. (via Hi-Fructose)

 

 



Art

Head-Turning Historical Portraits by Ewa Juszkiewicz

May 13, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Ewa Juszkiewicz subverts the traditional notion of female portrait sitters as passive, simple subjects in her subtly unusual oil paintings. The artist constructs each painted portrait using familiar tropes from European art history, sometimes even citing specific paintings as inspiration. Female subjects with smooth, pale skin and luxurious apparel are placed in front of abstract or generically bucolic settings, sometimes with a “gender-appropriate” item in hand, like a paint brush, small book, or feather.

But in place of the beautiful face a viewer would expect in the center of these pleasant trappings, Juszkiewicz has turned the subject’s head 180 degrees to show an elaborate hairstyle, or filled the face with unruly plants or ribbons. A statement on the artist’s website explains, “Through the deconstruction of historical portraits, she undermines their constant, indisputable character and tries to influence the way we perceive them. Juszkiewicz experiments with the form of the female figure and face, balancing on the border between what is human and inhuman.”

The artist lives and works in Warsaw, Poland. She is represented by Galerie Rolando Anselmi in Berlin, where she will have a solo show on view in November and December, 2019. Juszkiewicz shares updates from her work and travels on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Vintage Family Photos Painted As Large Scale Murals by Mohamed L’Ghacham

April 21, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Separación De Poderes II, Ostend (Belgium) 2019

Morocco-born, Barcelona-based artist Mohamed L’Ghacham paints large figurative murals based on scenes from vintage family photos and everyday objects. Often choosing photographic “accidents” for their authenticity, the artist paints meals, table settings, toasts, and other communal rituals performed by normal people. When viewed at a wall-sized scale, the personal and seemingly unimportant moments gain new meaning and become more emotionally resonant for viewers despite never having met the families portrayed.

L’Ghacham’s use of muted color palettes connects the murals with their respective urban surroundings while also staying true to the vintage aesthetic of the source photography. Loose, layered brush strokes give the general shape of facial features and objects, but a step back from the image is necessary to appreciate the full snapshot. Head to the Mohamed L’Ghacham’s Vimeo page to see the artist in action, and follow his Instagram for more in-progress and completed mural photos.

Separación De Poderes II, Ostend (Belgium) 2019

Reunión de vecinos, Mataró (Spain) 2017

Le cadeau, Paris (France) 2017

¿Es papá y me lleva a casa? with Alba Trench, La Roca del Vallés (Spain) 2017

El Baile, Ragusa (Italy) 2018

Casa Paquita, Can Picafort (Spain), 2017

Aquí no et faltarà pa… with Ivan Floro, Granollers (Spain), 2018

Por Angelo!, Lioni (Italy), 2018

Cena para dos II with Alba Trench, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (Spain) 2019

 

 



Art Photography

Black Bodies Painted and Photographed Like the Cosmos by Mikael Owunna

April 7, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Infinite Essence: “James” (2018) All images courtesy of Mikael Owunna

Mikael Chukwuma Owunna, a queer Nigerian-Swedish artist raised in Pittsburgh, has spent the past two and a half years photographing Black men and women for a series titled Infinite Essence. Hand-painted using fluorescent paints and photographed in complete darkness, Owunna’s subjects are illuminated by a flash outfitted with a UV filter, which turns their nude bodies into glowing celestial figures.

Owunna tells Colossal that the series was his response to the frequent images and videos of Black people being killed by those sworn to protect them: the police. The photographer’s friends, family members, dancers, and one person he connected with on Instagram serve as models for the project, which is named after an idea from his Igbo heritage. “All of our individual spirits are just one ray of the infinite essence of the sun,” Owunna explains. “By transcending the visible spectrum, I work to illuminate a world beyond our visible structures of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia where the black body is free.”

Infinite Essence: “Uche” (2019)

Having struggled with his own body image (and with his identity as a gay African man, which has inspired his previous work), Owunna says that the response to the project has been powerful, both from the public and from the models. “One of the models, Emem, broke down in tears looking at their pictures saying that they had always dreamed of seeing their body adorned with stars and that these images were beyond their wildest imagination,” he said. “They then told me – ‘every black person deserves to see themselves in this way’ and how the experience was life-altering for them.”

After seeing Owunna’s work via an NPR feature, a 60-year-old Black woman told the photographer, “I’ve hated my body all my life, but–for a glorious instant–that photo made me feel good about it.”

To see more of Mikael Owunna’s work and to be informed about his upcoming lectures and exhibitions, follow the artist on Instagram and Twitter.

Infinite Essence: “Sam” (2018)

Infinite Essence: “Sam” (2018)

Infinite Essence: “Sam” (2018)

Infinite Essence: “Sam” (2018)

Infinite Essence: “Kinya” (2017)

Infinite Essence: “Emem” (2018)

Infinite Essence: “Emem” (2018)

 

 



Craft

Antique Lace and Handkerchiefs Add Detail to Embroideries of Female Icons by Lily Bloomwood

April 5, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Portrait of Dorothy Gish

Self-taught artist Lily Bloomwood utilizes bits of antique lace, handkerchiefs, and delicate pieces of old knitting as the starting point for her embroidered portraits of female figures. Many of the works are inspired by women of the silent movie era such as the Canadian born actress and producer Mary Pickford or Olive Thomas, who is regarded as the very first “flapper.” Bloomwood is also inspired by relatively unknown medieval heroines, women she chooses to immortalize in her embroidered canvases. You can see more of the London-based artist’s work on Behance, and buy her work on Etsy. (via Colossal Submissions)

Portrait of Maude Fealy

Portrait of Maude Fealy

Portrait of Maude Fealy

Portrait of Maude Fealy

Portrait of Mary Pickford

Portrait of Mary Pickford

Portrait of Marion Davis

Portrait of Marion Davis

Portrait of Maude Adams

Portrait of Maude Adams

Portrait of Lillian Gish

Portrait of Lillian Gish

Portrait of Lillian Gish

Portrait of Lillian Gish

Portrait of Mary Pickford

Portrait of Mary Pickford

Portrait of Camilla Horn

Portrait of Camilla Horn

Portrait of Olive Thomas

Portrait of Olive Thomas