Los Angeles based artist Alexandra Manukyan (covered here) is instantly recognizable for her captivatingly dark and surrealistic oil paintings. Painted with a sense of the Renaissance, Manukyan’s artworks feature strong young women in highly dramatic costumes and environments. This Saturday, she will present a new series of paintings and drawings in her upcoming solo exhibition, “Oracle of Extinction”, with Copro Gallery in Los Angeles. With a newfound concern for the planet, her works touch upon our damaging treatment of our environment and, if uncorrected, its grim impact on our future.
Though dark notes of surrealism certainly ring throughout her work, Alexandra Manukyan paints graceful characters with a lightness that evokes the portraits of the Renaissance. When one approaches, however, the realism of her highly-varnished oil paintings breaks down, revealing expressive, emotional brushstrokes. Manukyan has a background in the fashion industry, and it comes across though the elaborate accoutrements with which she adorns her figures. Heavy metal girdles, flouncy tutus and other theatrical costuming adds to the performative, melodramatic quality of her subjects’ gestures.
Last week, Last Rites Gallery in New York City opened two solo shows, “Sine Qua Non” by Alexandra Manukyan (previewed here) and “In the Dark” by Hi-Fructose Vol. 6 cover artist Yoko D’Holbachie (previewed here). Though Manukyan’s dramatic realism and D’Holbachie’s fantastical pop surrealism seem to lie on different ends of the contemporary painting spectrum, the two artists’ shows surprisingly complement one another with their dramatic lighting and goddess imagery. Both artists focus on strong female protagonists in their new bodies of work — while D’Holbachie borrows from folklore traditions to invent female deities of her own, Manukyan stages dramatic scenes that reference both the Renaissance and tattoo culture. Take a look at some photos from the opening reception by Paola Duran after the jump.
For her solo show, “Sine Qua Non,” opening tomorrow night at Last Rites Gallery in New York, Alexandra Manukyan presents a series of graceful, theatrical paintings that reference Shakespeare and contemporary fashion and tattoo culture alike. Featuring a collection of fierce female protagonists, Manukyan’s new paintings cast her heroines in dramatic scenes that hint at pivotal moments in their paths of fate. These characters are shown taking control, subverting the norm of the passive female subject in Renaissance painting, from which Manukyan most noticeably draws inspiration for her aesthetic. The precision of her figures’ articulate gestures, as well as the detailed fabrics in their costumes, are testaments to Manukyan’s masterful technique. Take a look at our preview of the show after the jump, images courtesy of Last Rites Gallery.
Earlier this year we introduced you to the epic oil paintings of artist Alexandra Manukyan (see our original post here) and we’re happy to now see that the artist will soon be opening a new solo show, ‘Secrets and Confession’ at La Luz de Jesus. Thematic undercurrents of fantasy and surrealism meld together in technical mastery for an introspective look into identity, masks and facades in the artist’s debut solo show. Get a look at several of the new works after the jump, ‘Secrets and Confessions’ opens January 6th.
Visually arresting, the epic oil paintings of artist AlexandraManukyan showcase both a reverence for the past and an interest inpsychological symbolism. The dream-like work is imbued with the suggestion ofwar, as the highly realistic figures are fashioned in armor and gas masks. This subtle threat of violence contrasts with the ritualistic, magical tone of thework, portrayed via masked, powerful women clustering together in lush, surrealatmospheres. View more of the alluring works after the jump.