The expressionist work of British artist Antony Micallef layers the figure to the point of total distortion. His style of painting misshapen figures against soft backdrops is an amalgamation of influences from Francis Bacon, to old masters like Caravaggio and Velázquez, to more modern contemporary photographers and graphic artists- leading to the nickname “Caravaggio meets Manga” in the media. Featured here on our blog, he describes his art as “like watching a Disney movie which slowly turns into violent pornography- the trouble with pop imagery is that it doesn’t really go deeper than the surface, you have to drag it down and challenge it to make it interesting.”
Argentinian artist known as Hyuro’s art makes use of negative space through a series of repeating figures, where the location of her work is integral to how we perceive it. Featured here on our blog, this has usually taken place in the streets. But whether she is mural painting, building installations, or showing her paintings in a gallery, Hyuro is making observations about life: framed by an empty white background, the people in her work demonstrate our relationships and how we interact with one another.
Those who have seen Jon MacNair’s work might be surprised to learn that he is greatly inspired by popular children’s literature, fairytales, and Renaissance art. The Portland based artist is well known for his fantastical, quirky ink drawings, often labeled as “dark”, and we don’t mean his monochromatic palette. “Some of my most distinct memories as a kid were of looking at picture books and being entranced by the images,” he says. “Even though most of these books were for kids, there were some pretty dark undertones in the illustrations that stuck with me.” These eventually led to his current body of work which turns classically ominous imagery on its head.
When we try to recall old memories, they usually come back in bit and pieces: faces of loved ones, favorite objects, and sometimes our mind fills in the gaps with things that never were. In painting her own memories, Lacey Bryant couples strangeness with a romantic nostalgia, like an incoherent dream. Throughout the Bay area artist’s work there is a sense of alienation or escape from modern life. Suitcase in hand, her subjects navigate a pretty landscape that can suddenly turn dark, from flowery pink blooms and stately Victorian mansions to fields of abandoned vehicles catching fire.
Italian artist Cristiano Menchini relies on a combination of his memory and imagination and observation to recreate nature in his work. Working in acrylic and watercolor or pen on paper, the artist creates highly stylistic interpretations of overgrown vegetation where small animals like birds and beetles make their home. Elements like blades of grass criss-cross into natural, messy patterns appearing almost abstract, set against dark shadows that lift them from the page. They are not quite reality. “I see my work as immersed in a timeless dimension, unreal state, crystallized. There is a detachment from reality in what I represent,” he says.
Eric Green’s meticulously detailed drawings replicate life beautifully- but there is something off about them. “When you really begin to understand life, everything changes completely all the time. Nothing is ever the same again,” he says. Working primarily in colored pencil, Green draws images that are meant to change our perceptions by illustrating the subtleties between moments as light changes and objects are mysteriously moved by unseen occupants.