Currently living and working in the idyllic town of Urtijëi, Italy, sculptor Willy Verginer shares a closeness with his environment in both technique and concept. His surreal wooden sculptures are carved from a single linden tree trunk with incredible precision and detail. Although their features are classical, Verginer paints bold stripes of color across his figures and poses them in awkward positions, making them completely contemporary. Previously covered here, he’s often paired his figures of women, men, and young children with other animals and objects that don’t fit together. His most recent pieces, which are on currently view at Galerie Van Campen & Rochtus in Belgium, pairs them with oil barrels.
Figurative artist Malcolm Liepke paints expressive images of men and women with increasing sensuality and range of emotions. The gestural quality of his oil paintings (previously covered here) lends to his concepts that explore sexual freedom and inhibition. It’s a technique he borrows from those of his favorite artists which includes Diego Velázquez and John Singer Sargent. Closing today at Arcadia Gallery in New York city, his new series “All That We Might Become” builds upon the layers of the complex psychology found in his art.
They are “the girls behind the lace.” This is how Okinawa based painter Mao Hamaguchi describes the young subjects of her romantic paintings. Her Gothic Art inspired images are painted in a soft and delicate style, where we find Contemporary aristocratic girls peeking through veils or shrouds and lace curtains. The symbol of lace is used throughout Hamaguchi’s art. Lace is a sensual fabric, often associated with intimacy and pleasure, as well as wealth, once among a household’s most prized possessions. Hamaguchi embraces all of its nuances, using them to emphasize the qualities of womanhood.
South African artist Ryan Hewett looks straight to the core of his subjects in boldly expressive paintings. For his upcoming exhibition “Untitled” at the Unit London, opening April 24th, Hewett depicts world leaders and influencers as we aren’t used to seeing them. His portraits of President Obama, JFK, Martin Luther King, and Contemporary artists like Ai Weiwei are stripped down to the most vague details. If there is any power to be represented, it is in his gestural technique, heavily influenced by figurative painters like Frank Auerbach. By focusing on the raw human nature of his subjects, Hewett creates a non-specific portrayal that is free of judgement.
Dynamic and skillfully executed, there is more than meets the eye in the figurative work of Chinese artist Mohan (默涵). His subjects are usually women, cast as little girls, brides and patriots, placed in idealized settings. We find them at home, cheering their comrades, or quietly contemplating their futures in moody landscapes of China. In recent works, they also venture to foreign cities like Paris. They are lit with the softness of Romanticism, with an attention to detail that borders hyperrealism.
This Saturday, Merry Karnowsky gallery will present three side by side solo shows by Los Angeles based artists Mercedes Helnwein, Kim Kimbro, and Vonn Sumner. Together, their new works are elaborate and psychologically intense, depicting dream like moments. Read more about their respective shows, “Mama Said Amen”, “The Queen of Calvary”, and “Gravity and Other Lies” after the jump.