Anyone who’s ever played the computer game the Sims knows the strange, God-like feeling of watching miniature people living their lives from above. Brazilian artist San Poggio’s paintings create a similar sensation. Poggio’s works feature flat, fantasy landscapes whose attributes sometimes turn into abstract patterns with outlandish colors. Within them, dozens of minuscule characters carry on with their separate activities, interacting with the bizarre surroundings they find themselves in.
The people in Carl Beazley’s portraits seem to be fighting internal battles to hold back their grimaces and make straight faces. His oil paintings feature young people wearing multiple expressions at once. Several small faces inhabit their full-sized heads, each one sending a conflicting signal. Some of Beazley’s portraits look like a time lapse of a single gesture, while others are meant to confuse and amuse viewers with their incongruities.
Zhao Na’s elaborate acrylic and ink paintings explore nature’s splendor. Her recent work, Drunk in Autumn, features a variety of exotic creatures such as red pandas, koalas, and leopards napping peacefully in a plentiful pomegranate tree. Her paintings typically show expansive scenes with many animal characters engaged in a variety of activities at once. Detail shots of her work reveal tight brushstrokes more evocative of drawing than painting. Na’s detail-oriented paintings allow viewers to get lost in the many microcosms within them.
Idealized nude figures are a longstanding tradition in Western art history and, as viewers, we’re accustomed to seeing the female body exposed. But the bodies we see today — not only in art, but in magazines, films, and music videos — adhere to certain constraints in regards to their size, shape, skin tone, and even age. With her large-scale paintings, Brooklyn-based painter Aleah Chapin shows the beauty of realistic physiques not typically shown in our society’s visual culture.
Moscow-based artist Slava Fokk paints flat, exaggerated figures that evoke vintage advertisements and Art Nouveau alike. His work is imbued with burgundy, teal, and beige color schemes that give it a retro feel. Female characters populate his stylized world. Fokk zeroes in on select details like the contours of the cheek bones and eyelids while making the hair and body abstract. His sleek brushwork gives his characters an otherworldly appearance.
Rebecca Guay is an artist and illustrator whose dreamlike watercolor paintings invite viewers to languish in their sensual imagery. Ornamented with gold leaf, her female protagonists luxuriate on lofty clouds and in cool lagoons. The characters look like goddesses unfettered by mortal woes, at ease in their nudity. Guay’s style of rendering figures with elongated faces and limbs evokes the Pre-Raphaelite movement of the 19th century, though her flat style gives her work a more contemporary look reminiscent of Japanese illustration. Take a look at some of her latest works below.