Will Cotton’s paintings take the viewer into confectionary, celestial wonderlands where voluptuous cumulous clouds are made of cotton candy. The New York-based artist asks his viewers to suspend disbelief and enter his sweet, sticky paradise populated by model-esque women. In this land of milk and honey, cake decorations and macaroons constitute proper dress code. His human subjects, however, often stare off into the distance with melancholy expressions, suggesting that this dreamworld may not be as idyllic as it seems at first glance.
Sascha Braunig’s paintings nearly overwhelm the eyes with their barrage of contrasting colors. Their CMYK color palette gives her works a digital glow. Iridescent gradients shift from yellow to electric blue, hot pink to neon green. Geometric forms and patterns contour her figures’ faces and bodies, their voluminous forms more akin to the images produced by 3D modeling software than rendered with a paintbrush. Braunig’s paintings feature an Op Art aesthetic executed with realist techniques, resulting in an otherworldly portraiture style filled with optical illusions.
Colombian artist Johan Barrios seems to be fascinated with how quickly the superficial veneer of propriety can disintegrate. His well-heeled and well-groomed characters are outfitted with all the signifiers of upper class status — blouses neatly tucked into pencil skirts, tailored blazers, leather couches. Yet by omitting select details in his realistically-rendered works, Barrios endows them with a sinister tone. In one piece, a woman lies despondent on a glossy, tile floor. Black party balloons hover over her like an ominous cloud. A creeping suspicion sets in as one begins to wonder whether this polished world hides dark secrets.
San Francisco-based artist Zio Ziegler’s work requires two levels of the viewer’s attention. There are the large figures almost always present in his canvases, drawings and murals — Cubist-inspired bodies whose heads and limbs appear splayed out the surface. Ziegler stitches together these characters with intricate, collage-like patterns that often evoke indigenous, South American folk art forms. The repeating patterns within each figure inform our understand of the larger whole. His solo show “Intuitivism” opens tomorrow, November 15, at LeQuiVive Gallery in Oakland. Earlier this week, the artist painted a large-scale mural on the corner of 17th St. and Webster St. Take a look at some photos of the mural as well as a preview of the exhibition below.
Erin Anderson paints with oils on copper sheets, strategically using negative space to incorporate her surface’s glimmering texture into her compositions. Her portraits are realistic and straightforward. But the copper swirls that envelop her subjects endows these ordinary people with a supernatural glow. Anderson etches the metal, giving it texture and a sense of movement . She states that she is interested in learning about the ways various elements of nature are connected and hopes to illustrate a similar, universal connection among her human subjects.
Beijing-based painter and illustrator Alice Lin creates nostalgic, whimsical works on paper. The world she develops evokes Victorian-era storybook illustrations with its lush, ornate flora as a recurring decorative motif, but the artist’s imagery is far more contemplative and melancholic. Using watercolor and natural mineral pigment, she envelopes her characters in a marbled texture with wisps of gradients that seem to float though her scenes like fog. As viewers, we come upon her characters in moments of contemplation, staring with downcast eyes or obscuring their faces from our gaze.