Portland based artist Eric Wert, first featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 32, is known for his larger than life and visually intense still life paintings of plants and food. Though his style is hyper-realistic, there is something about his portrayal of the vibrancy and ripeness of his subjects that makes them more appealing than life. Wert makes every day florals and foods like grapes and tomato look beautiful and evocative with a certain wildness. He has said, “I want to create an image that one can be lost within. To me, still-life painting is about looking intensely. It’s about intimately exploring a subject.” For his current exhibition at William Baczek Fine Arts in Massachusetts, Wert created a smaller series featuring hydrangea, lilies, pansy, iris, and figs in luscious, glistening still lifes.
Toilet paper, keys, pills, and dice are just a few of the every day subjects that Chinese artist Chen Wenbo depicts in his larger than life, hyper-realistic paintings. Chen once explained that he is most interested “in the surface of things”, something he explores in his exaggeration of small details. His subjects almost feel important in their massive scale, which allows us to appreciate details like their vibrant colors that would otherwise be overlooked. Most of Chen’s works are irregularly shaped, distorted or fractured in a way that looks like broken glass. His latest body of work draws upon the theme of the “Fat Years”, inspired by the Chinese dystopian thriller written by Chan Koonchung.
Hyper-realist painter Maria Teicher, featured here, likens the experience of being an artist to being in high school. As a student, she felt like an outcast who didn’t quite fit in, a “loner” forced into an artificial social dynamic. Teicher explores this theme in per paintings, which portray people in powerless moments, often wrapped in “veils” that distort their faces. Her work almost stops your breath, not only for her impressive use of the oil medium, but because you can feel the moment of constriction. For her latest body of work “Here Together, So Alone” at Arch Enemy Arts in Philadelphia, Teicher observes how we group ourselves together as humans while remaining inexplicably alone.
Most of us flinch when we see a bad bruise. Finland born, Helsinki based artist Riikka Hyvönen sees an inspiring myriad of colors that tell a story. Her art combines hyperrealism painting with sculptural elements, pop and kitsch styles, taking the pain that we have all experienced at some point and making it strangely alluring. She calls bruises “kisses”, specifically worn by roller derby girls, of which she collects photographs and then reinterprets into large-scale artworks.
Born in Cologne, Germany, former tattoo artist Mike Dargas paints portraits of women dripping in honey. His hyperrealistic oil paintings are painted on a large-scale and appear as impressive photographs. With such provocative titles as “Golden Thoughts,” “The Ecstasy of Gold,” and “Carpe Diem Baby,” the portraits exude a certain opulence, suggesting honey as a metaphor for gold. Using this analogy, his paintings may be interpreted as commentaries on the role of monetary wealth in contemporary society. With closed eyes and probing tongues, Dargas’ women become greedy narcissists caught in moments of private ecstasy.
What makes some of us feel repulsed may be a thing of a beauty to others. That seems to be the case with Buenos Aires based studio and artist collective Six & Five’s latest work. The group has designed a beautifully disturbing series of digital creatures that they call “Morbo”. Inspired by oceanic organisms, the Morbo are all that remain of a recently-occurred apocalypse, discovered on toxic beaches during low tide. They are strangely alluring in their hyperrealism.