Ohio-born oil painter Herb Roe creates surreal scenes that are actually grounded in reality. Recent work documents the Courir de Mardi Gras, a traditional pre-Lenten bash attended by Cajun and Creole residents of his adopted home of Louisiana. In these celebrations, revelers wear costumes “drawn from medieval traditions, frontier era depictions of Native Americans and political and social commentary,” the artist says. Partially disguised, the members of these parties bring a lively and uninhibited energy to the proceedings.
Czech artist Richard Stipl began his career as a painter, before moving on to the unsettling figurative sculptures for which he’s now known. The artist, based in Prague, conveys varying emotions and uses both two-dimensional and three-dimensional ideas to wrestle with humanity. A statement maintains that the work toils with the idea of creating art in itself. Materials used include oil on wax, ink on wood, clay, silver leaf, and several other tools.
Patricia Traub’s oil paintings exist at the intersection of art and activism. These works attempt to humanize her animal subjects, in a way that showcases both their inherent beauty and rights to live in the world untortured. In her group portraits, in particular, she places animals and humans among each other in a way that emits harmony and equation of value.
Michele Oka Doner‘s long career has produced bold sculpture, works on paper, and public art that engrosses in both its appreciation of the natural world and innovation. Her figurative works, in specific, use partially formed and seemingly organic parts to inspire awe. Many named for gods and goddesses, these particular works feel at once godly and incomplete or reflections of our limitations.
Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, a painter based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, crafts oil and acrylic works that blend traditional iconography and technological symbology. In particular, the Illunga series “Mangbetu” comments on a native culture coerced into modernization, as the region is an exporter of material used in computer chips.
Zhang Jian Long, an artist based in China, crafts bronze sculptures and paintings that touch on the innocence, mischief, and broader whimsy of being a kid. Against natural backdrops, the mood and memories evoked by the pieces ring even truer. And although there are flourishes of cultures throughout time contained in the piece, the materials used give the works a timeless quality.