Though gorgeously rendered, Chester Arnold’s paintings don’t idealize the state of nature. It depicts how, despite humanity’s best efforts, the Earth endures the accumulation of humanity’s waste and development. Cascading piles of tires and trash becomes their own mountainous formations.
Katie Metz paints the city that is around her. Working and living out of Seattle, a city bustling with activity and nightlife, her landscapes express the immediacy of her experiences there. Though realistic depictions, Metz applies impressionistic brush strokes where scratched layers of paint make the picture quiver with life. Her individualistic style brings the viewer into a luminous, almost other worldly realm as it takes us past skyscrapers, through streets and overpasses.
In painting nature, artist David Kroll evokes a classical sense of beauty and fragility. He combines elements of naturalist painting and still life in his portrayal of animals like elegant egrets and koi which perch and swim around delicate objects. Though remarkably detailed and inspired by early landscape painting, Kroll has said that he wants to paint a version of the wild that is romantic, and not necessarily realistic. “I paint refuges, places to go to for solace. I want my paintings to be destinations of quiet and calm,” he says. “However, this world is fragile.”
Italian artist Cristiano Menchini relies on a combination of his memory and imagination and observation to recreate nature in his work. Working in acrylic and watercolor or pen on paper, the artist creates highly stylistic interpretations of overgrown vegetation where small animals like birds and beetles make their home. Elements like blades of grass criss-cross into natural, messy patterns appearing almost abstract, set against dark shadows that lift them from the page. They are not quite reality. “I see my work as immersed in a timeless dimension, unreal state, crystallized. There is a detachment from reality in what I represent,” he says.
San Francisco based artist Jeremy Mann captures the exciting air of his hometown in his dynamic oil landscapes. His “Cityscapes” series portrays the city from bustling, bird’s-eye views to its more mundane and quiet street corners at night, all flickering with glitchy dabs of paint that makes his art appear digital, though it is a description he rejects. It’s a common misconception that perhaps stems from his process, where he references “jumbled up” digital manipulations of his own photographs.
Nicole Gordon paints landscapes that lean on the whimsical and somewhat grim, an expression of beauty met with the horrors of real world change and transformation. The Chicago based artist cites namely 16th century painters Pieter Bruegel and Hieronymus Bosch as her inspiration, whose works while dramatic and highly stylized, also offered expressions of the every day of their time. Similarly, Gordon describes her work as a combination of fantasy with darker truths: her use of bright colors and out of place objects create an imaginative view of reality.