Argentine-born artist Gabriel Grun paints with an unusually sure hand. His paintings and drawings recall those of the Renaissance and Baroque masters he emulates in his work: Rembrandt, Durer, Memling, Van Eyck, Caravaggio, Holbein, and Ribera. He structures these his figures with compositions as geometrical as anything that Da Vinci and Raphael ever did. He pays particular attention to the details in landscape, musculature, and physiognomy. His drawings, especially, confirm that he’s as much devoted to technique as he is to expression. As befits an artist who works in the Renaissance, his themes are classical: Aphrodite; Leda; the Fates; Saint Sebastian; Galatea; Danae; and Arachne. The faces are contemplative, pensive, brooding, perhaps. These figures deal with weighty issues, issues that define the human condition. And yet there’s a serenity about them, a stoicism that, along with the gravitas of the manner in which Grun renders them, makes them heroic.
This Thursday, March 6, Roq La Rue in Seattle will debut “Infusion,” a group show featuring some artists that have been at the core of the gallery’s roster (such as Femke Hiemstra and John Brophy) as well as a wide range of international up-and-comers and established names. A passion for mysticism and nature underlies the oeuvres of many of the artists in the show, including Alessia Iannetti, Nicomi Nix Turner, Alessandra Maria and Zachari Logan, whose drawings focus on poetic, detailed depictions of flora, albeit in different ways. The figurative works in “Infusion” demonstrate a surrealist sensibility, but the various artists take it in diverging directions, borrowing from different eras of art history and infusing a variety of influences into their distinct styles. See a preview of the exhibition after the jump.
Andrew Hem and Mel Kadel currently have solo exhibitions on view side-by-side at LA’s Merry Karnowsky Gallery, with an opening reception slated for the evening of March 8. Hem’s “Dream but Don’t Sleep” presents a series of new paintings filled with cool-hued shadows and prismatic shapes. Though focused on figuration, Hem paints with an expressionistic looseness. His figures reveal his brushstrokes and nuanced color palettes without much blending. Yet, his work retains a sense of precision, lending it an illustrative quality that complements his Impressionist-influenced painting style. Read more after the jump.
Through simple means artist Mark Powell tells a story that, in a way, unfolds over decades. Often wielding only a basic ball point pen, Powell draws extremely detailed portraits, attempting to capture what his statement calls “a certain beauty that is a step away from the image of beauty fed to society.” His subjects are frequently older men and women, pensive, hinting at a long life story. Appropriately, Powell’s portraits are executed on vintage maps, old documents and other ephemera of a time long past. Together, they suggest the unfolding story that led to the present moment, a context perhaps easily taken for granted. See more of Mark Powell’s portraits after the jump.
111 Minna Gallery in downtown San Francisco is currently presenting a show of new work by locals D Young V, Eddie Colla and Hugh Leeman. All three artists are well known within the Bay Area’s graffiti art scene and the vitality and effort at public engagement from their street art can be strongly felt in these gallery pieces. The show includes both collaborations between the artists, as well as individual works. Read more after the jump.
The ladies exposing themselves in Lilli Hill’s paintings are mostly big and almost always brash, posing nude in the evacuated context of a formal portrait. Hill paints the great, creamy rolls of her fleshy women with impressive detail, and the expressions and postures are poised to convey a hearty defiance and flirtatiousness — whether embracing a minotaur, decapitating roosters, or channeling Rubens. That defiant gaze makes the ladies’ portraits both difficult to look away from and a lighthearted study of disgust and curiosity. Some of the later portraits follow a more surreal tone, incorporating illusions and costume, but the playfulness (and the fleshiness) remains. Hill’s paintings will be on display March 13-16 at KK Galerie’s booth for the art fair Karlsruhe 2014 in Rheinstetten, Germany.