A self-described history nerd, Mike Davis is a San Francisco-based artist who paints scenes stuck in another time. His detailed oil paintings are rife with personal symbolism and minuscule narratives, evoking Renaissance painters such as Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Aertsen. Though he emulates the Northern Renaissance masters, Davis is entirely self-taught. He forayed into painting in his early twenties as an off-shoot of his tattoo career. The founding owner of esteemed San Francisco shop Everlasting Tattoo, Davis currently splits his time between his craft and his fine art, using his paintings as a cathartic processing tool to digest the events of his personal life.
Jenny Morgan’s (featured in HF Vol. 21) paintings reveal beauty in simplicity. She often depicts nude figures with poignant expressions, stylizing their bodies to fit her sunrise-hued palette in lieu of focusing on minuscule details like hairs and wrinkles. The simplification of her subjects gives her work a glossed-over effect that pushes it from objective realism into surreal territory. For her latest exhibition “The Golden Hour” at Plus Gallery in Denver, Morgan explored notions of spirituality and the cycle of life. While her major focus has always been faces, often using herself as a subject, her exhibition features a substantial amount of paintings of skulls, alluding to the fading nature of youth and the ephemerality of the body. Take a look at the work in the show below and check out “The Golden Hour” on view through October 18.
Liu Guangguang was born in China’s Gansu province. He attended Lu Xun Academy of Fine Art. He lives and works in Shenyang and Beijing. He’s a member of the Beijing-based EDGE Creative Collective. His recent work is about scale. His figures (and animals) go about their normal activity. They check their phones. They play cards. They get ready for bed. The people smile without a care in the world. Despite the normalcy of each image, something’s unusual, if not wrong. Either the figures have miniature heads or else their bodies are gigantic. Their fingers and necks are elongated. A few have huge eyes. One woman has the floppy ears and trunk of an elephant.
Technicolor maven Maya Hayuk recently opened her solo show “Alles Klar” at Die Kunstagentin in Cologne, Germany. Sparsely hung on the gallery’s white, painted-brick walls, the painter and muralist’s neon creations have room to breath without overwhelming the viewer. After all, Hayuk almost solely uses neon hues, often overlapping them in kaleidoscopic patterns that subtly evoke folk art forms such as weaving. Each piece attracts the eye like a nexus of energy — as if Hayuk’s intense color choices have a sort of gravitational pull. On a mural created at the entrance of the gallery, Hayuk turns up the volume, subsuming a corner of the space in refracted rainbows.
Kehinde Wiley’s (Hi-Fructose Vol. 29) opulent portraiture subtly stirs the status quo. As an American artist, Wiley honed his craft in accordance with a legacy of Euro-centric art history that left him simultaneously awed and alienated. One would be hard-pressed to find a grandiose portrait of a person of color in the works of the Renaissance masters in the Met or the Louvre. This is the motivating factor of Wiley’s oeuvre: to elevate images of average people of African descent through his ornate depictions, exposing the singular beauty of his subjects through dramatic compositions that evoke the Baroque period.
Robots battle in a world that seems simultaneously prehistoric and futuristic in Rob Sato’s watercolors. The artist (first featured in HF Vol. 16) defies the limitations of his medium both in content and in format. While watercolor paintings are typically kept small, he works at mural scale, rendering the precise outlines of his giant robots, warriors on horseback and bizarre humanoid characters. The softness of the watercolor is still there, adding a handmade touch to his mechanical subject matter. Sato’s latest exhibition “Curses” opens on September 20 at Martha Otero Gallery in LA and features several massive works, folded paintings that become sculptural objects, some simplified sketches and painted baseballs that seem to take their cue from the cave walls of Lascaux. Take a look at our preview below.