Italian artist Agostino Arrivabene uses antique painting techniques to create a foundation from which metamorphic figures emerge in moments of creation. The time-consuming labor of grinding pigments and layering paints is evident in the complex, heavily textural works. New worlds hide beneath and within cracks and crinkles as human-like figures manifest above ground and often out of water.
In her series “Flesch and Blood,” Scottish artist Heather Nevary uses the painterly language of the Northern Renaissance to explore the complex and doleful moment, in which the innocence of childhood disintegrates, and the objects once held so dear, such as fantastical doll houses or toy animals, fall into oblivion or take on dubious agency.
Sexy and subversive, Lui Liu‘s paintings reveal complex worlds in which women oscillate between positions of power and submission. Lui Liu began his career painting posters during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Though he has lived in Canada since 1991, Lui Liu’s political influences are inseparable from the thematic foci of his artworks, which are largely wrought with political, sexual and social tensions. For example, Cat’s Cradle (2006) features two young girls playing the string game of the same name. A brick wall divides them. They nevertheless, reach across to one another through an opening in the shape of China, while a hawk, a symbol for authority, flies overhead.
For his most recent exhibition, Those Bloody Colours, presented at Galerie Eigen + Art in Berlin, Martin Eder featured lifelike paintings of women in a medieval time warp. Eder’s artworks are scaled true to life and rendered in vivid tones, imbuing them with a tactile and emotive quality with which one immediately connects. Gazing at the eyes of the women, cast downward as if in humble contemplation after battle, one desires the warriors to look up and out.
Born in London, Lina Iris Viktor merges hip hop and high fashion with Art Nouveau patterns to create bold artworks that scream contemporary pop expression. Many of her designs contrast soft swirls and sharp peaks, referencing motifs used to convey the mood of spiritual and technological progress of the early 20th century. Viktor however, is perhaps best known for her use of 24k gold. The artist, who has an interest in astrophysics and theater, uses the luxury material to elicit the same guttural response of awe that viewers have expressed towards uses of gold for centuries, such as in Byzantine icons.
Houston-based artist Ana Marietta paints and draws animals with exaggerated human features to create sympathy for her subjects. Looking at a raven with wide eyes glassy with tears, or a frowning pelican dimpled with warts, one feels the animal’s deep sorrow. The creatures appear to look outward however, suggesting their sadness comes from the environment, as opposed to any personal ailments directly. Their anthropomorphic deformities hint at something unnatural, an effect explained only by human behavior and intervention.