After years of practicing realistic portraiture, Korean-born artist Shin Young An decided it was time for a change. Her work was once focused on depicting her subject as faithfully and realistically as possible. She now moves beyond the surface and aims to engage politically with the viewer and motivate introspection, even action.
Despite the meticulous control and calculated perspectives, Canadian artist Adam Lupton’s oil paintings are constantly fidgeting. They mostly feature youth in various incarnations in a blur of motion represented as simultaneous frames, or with different layers of paint exposed. This jitteriness is revealed both through substance, by showing the layers of material creation, or through time, as the viewer pans multiple freeze-frames overlaid on top of each other. What stands still throughout all his work is an obsession with time and chaos, and the individual’s navigation of the two in the constant present.
Mexican artist José Luis López Galván works with oil paint to create dark and unsettling scenes that can be simultaneously erotic and grotesque. His paintings further estrange the viewer by calling to mind wildly different artistic styles, from the quietly dramatic chiaroscuro of Rembrandt to the surrealism of Dali. López Galván maximizes the dramatic potential of oils, creating lush and eerie tableaux that are populated by enigmatic characters, such as anthropomorphic and lavishly attired rabbits, disembodied limbs and half-human robots. As in paintings by the Old Masters, López Galván’s storybook-like scenes often feel like allegories for a larger narrative. In this case though, the background story resembles the logic of a nightmare or a hallucination more than the workings of the divine.
Taiwan-born artist Chen Dao Lee’s creates ambiguous narratives of unresolved tensions. His style is nearly photorealistically perfect. His compositions are taut and vigorous. If the light in his work made a noise, it would be loud and blaring. It’s his choice of subject that makes the work provocative. Each piece features young, beautiful, semi-clad women with garish red hair. Some hold automatic weapons. Some wrestle with each other. Some engage in sexual escapades with other women. Some do so with other men. These women are young, beautiful, and… bored.
Miriam Escofet creates rich oil paintings of idyllic scenes that nostalgically allude to classical antiquity. Perhaps the only notes of pessimism in these sumptuous depictions of ornate architecture, statues and jewels is that Escofet’s heavenly world seem to be nearly devoid of human inhabitants. This is a place that seems to belong to the gods — too perfect for mortals. Escofet originally studied 3D design and set out to be a ceramicist, which explains her attention to texture and volume. Each crease of fabric and crevice within a tree’s bark is rendered with precision. Light and shadow are greatly contrasted to a level beyond what we normally experience with the human eye, making Escofet’s fictional lands seem vivid yet illusory.
The hyper-realistic oil paintings of Joshua Suda will make you question whether you’re looking at a painting or a photograph as he recreates the features of the human face with stunning accuracy. Going beyond replicating life, many of Suda’s pieces also have elements of surrealism. Bizarre compositions, mixed with Suda’s impressive attention to detail, result in uncanny contortions of the human face. He often breaks the fourth wall, playing with the foreground and background to make it appear that the subject is bursting through the surface of the piece. In other works, he paints to mimic other media, replicating the detail of everything from pencil drawings to old photographs and contrasting them with how the subjects might appear to the human eye.