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 bathing, peeking through cathedral gates and lace curtains. The symbol of lace is used throughout Hamaguchi’s art. Lace is a sensual fabric, often associated with intimacy and pleasure, however in Hamaguchi’s work, it emphasizes beauty and grace.
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.
Italian artist Marie-Esther (aka Gaia) draws sensitive portraits of women interrupted by overlaying abstract images. Her women have a multi faceted quality which she literally peels back in layers, revealing their emotion underneath. She describes her subjects as “a sort of icon of rationality, the way I see it. Geometric, cold. The rationality we need when people, or even our emotions hurt us.” We take a look at her mixed media “Transparency Series” after the jump.
Los Angeles based artists Karen Hsiao and Dan Quintana each evoke complex life themes in their figurative work. They will combine subject matter with “Perverse Foil”, opening August 2nd at Marcas Contemporary Art in Santa Ana. Hsiao, who is also a professional photographer, will be exhibiting original paintings and drawings in collaboration with Quintana, who has created surrealistic works based on her photos. A live demonstration at the opening will give attendees a look of their collaborative process. Take a look as we go behind the scenes after the jump.