During her schooling at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Polish painter Justyna Kisielewicz was forced to create monochromatic paintings. But after she graduated, she took things in a new direction. Much of her work, primarily her oil paintings, are lush explosions of pink and pop. Now, she’s been dubbed the “princess of pop culture” by Pangea Magazine, who says the artist’s intention is to “intention is to rip up the stereotypical image of the dour Polish artist.”
Having only recently shifted her focus from sculpture to oil painting, Austin based painter Kati Williams will be a new name to most of our readers. Her dramatically lit images of mythological figures are heavily influenced by Baroque painting and the old masters of Romanticism, and a visit to her instagram will catch her admiring contemporary artists like Roberto Ferri and Brad Kunkle (featured in HF Vol. 25), who are also applying antiquated techniques. Though the difference between three-dimensional sculpture and two-dimensional painting is substantial, Williams likens the process of painting to building a sculpture, where she meticulously layers colors and glazes until eventually, light forms out of utter darkness.
Roberto Ferri is known for his poetic imagery imbued with references to Baroque painters such as Caravaggio and other old masters of Romanticism. His work focuses on the coexistence of good and evil, sacred and profane in both our daily life and our subconscious. In this light, the emotional intensity of his depictions reveals an attempt to connect the parallel dimension, where his almost-theatrical representations take place in a socio-psychological present. The psychological aspects of his figures are projections of different phases that the human soul goes through during its ongoing transformation.
British artist Stephen Mackey portrays whimsical scenes in his 17th and 19th century inspired oil paintings. In fantasy settings reminiscent of the past, Mackey paints kittens posed for upper class portraits, skeletons wooing young brides, and animals hosting Mad Hatter tea parties, while the moon watches over, smiling with her perfect cupid’s bow and rouged blush of a 1920s film star.
If Daniel Merriam’s watercolors were books, they would be fairytales once upon a time in a far away European dreamland. The painter, who is currently exhibiting at AFA Gallery (covered here), compares his process to a writer’s. In our recent interview, Merriam told us about the influence of 17th and 18th century Baroque architecture on his works which he draws from memory. Although imaginary, his elaborate structures must be believable in their world, and he builds them out carefully as a point of reference. In this sense, one could also call him an architect.
It might surprise some that watercolorist Daniel Merriam, known for his stylized, fantastic paintings, grew up in a sleepy summer resort town. There were none of the castles or glorious architectural forms found in his works – their foundation and beauty lies purely in his imagination. He finds such beauty in the world around him, whether it be a building, a landscape, or a creature. All of these things create a place he “escapes” to in his current exhibition, “Now You See Me: The Art of Escapism” at AFA Gallery in New York.