Chapel Hill artist Antoine Williams, a.k.a. Raw, explores issues surrounding race and class through mixed-media installations, paintings, drawings, and collage. His work is semi-autobiographical, inspired by his experiences of a rural working class upbringing in Red Springs, North Carolina. “My art practice is an investigation of my cultural identity through the exploration of societal signs as they relate to institutional inequities,” Williams explains in his artist statement. View more of his work on his Instagram and Tumblr.
People packed on train platforms and congregated in public spaces – these images that are so familiar to the city dweller are the inspiration behind Lu Chao’s surreal oil paintings. The artist references the detailed, expressive brushstrokes of classical Chinese painting, applied to a contemporary subject matter, to provide an honest reflection of his personal experiences with living in some of the world’s most populated cities.
Ben Howe’s haunting images of broken, sliced and shredded faces may resemble digitally altered photographs, yet they are actually oil paintings rendered on canvas and board. Part of his ongoing series titled Surface Variations, the paintings are not only visually startling, but also deeply reflective on the nature of human consciousness — challenging our perception of the human form and exploring concepts of fractured memory and identity. The latest additions to the series are currently featured in Transmogrify, a group exhibition at the beinArt Gallery, until July 19.
Esteban del Valle, a Chicago native, is an interdisciplinary artist now based in Brooklyn. Del Valle’s work mixes painting, drawing, sculpture, video, and street art. That versatile approach can be seen in the recent body of work “Displacing Waves,” a vibrant, distorted collection of pieces that tap into the style of political cartoons. The artist displayed the work at Superchief Gallery in Los Angeles earlier this year, and most recent works-in-progress can be seen on his Instagram, here.
In her series Femina Plantarum, Elsa Mora pulls from elements of the natural world to illustrate intimate journeys of personal evolution and transformation. Her paintings of female figures with root limbs, bird heads, and other human/nature hybrids are all at once entrancing, surreal, and provocative. Throughout the series, these creatures are caught in not only the midst of dramatic physical change but also introspective moments of intellectual and spiritual awakening. The artist portrays her botanical women from the viewpoint that change can be frightening and uncomfortable, but also a vital and even sacred part of human life.
Brooklyn artist Roland Mikhail masters the technique of airbrushing to create images of people, objects and wildlife that, as the artist says, “speak to the parts of us we do not know are looking.” His work is bold and instinctive, layered with complex imagery that explores the interconnections between our conscious and subconscious.