Known for his surrealistic portraits of elongated women with stretched oval faces and simplified features, self taught artist Troy Brooks once joked that, had he gone to art school, it would have “fixed” his work’s most defining characteristic. “One thing that used to drive me crazy was that I always made the faces too long. It was something I used to have to go back and fix in my drawings. When I began creating my own characters I decided to just accentuate it,” Brooks says.
The vivid oil paintings of Jenny Morgan capture an honesty about her subjects, drawn in a candid moment in the nude when they are at their most vulnerable. The Brooklyn based artist’s electrifying figurative work, gracing the cover of Hi-Fructose Vol. 39, balances abstraction and realism, combining beautiful design aesthetics with her subject’s unique complexion and emotion. Morgan herself has described her work as “psychological portraits”, focused on presenting the sitter’s psychological state.
Japanese sculptor and photographer Yuichi Ikehata creates chilling scenes that bridge the gap between reality and fiction. In his surreal ongoing series “Fragment of Long Term Memory,” his intention is to comment on the fragmentary nature of memory and render it physical. “Many parts of our memories… are often forgotten, or difficult to recall. I retrieve those fragmented moments and reconstruct them as surreal images. I gather these misplaced memories from certain parts of our reality, and together they create a non-linear story, resonating with each other in my photographs,” he says.
Belgium based figurative painter Michal Lukasiewicz portrays his subjects with the tenderness and warm sensuality of the High Renaissance, combined with the vibrancy of Pop art in his use of bright colors. Working primarily in acrylic, his works are almost monochrome, if not for the patches of shades like off-white, ochre, sienna, pink, grays, and neon oranges and yellows. Despite the contemporary expressiveness of his palette, his nude subjects, mostly women, have a mysteriously quiet nature about them that recalls famous figures in art like Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa”, or Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”.
Christine Wu’s oil paintings feature multi-layered images of figures with haunting and sensual undertones, often reminiscent of double-exposure photography. She likens the people that she paints to apparitions, displaying a sort of uneasy flux about them and evoking a sense of nostalgia for distant memories. When we last caught up with her, Wu explained, “The concept behind the work is a variation of the ideas that appear throughout my paintings: the feeling of or search for transcendence.” Since then, Wu has moved from Los Angeles to Brooklyn, New York, where she has been busy working on her latest body of work that debuted over the weekend at Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles.
Alessandra Maria and Zachari Logan’s works offer poetic and detailed portrayals of figures mixed with nature, but in different ways. The two artists will debut their new series in side by side exhibitions tomorrow at Roq la Rue gallery in Seattle. While Logan’s distorts the male figure in a sensual way, Maria’s enhances the divine qualities of feminine allure. For his latest series, titled “Grotesques”, Logan transforms figures based on his own into a landscape of lush flora and fauna. Using a subdued palette, his paintings weave together figures out of petals, branches and animals to the effect of a Medieval tapestry. Though elegant, his hybrid subjects embody the concept of grotesqueness in their disfigurement or “re-wilding”, as he calls it.