Fascinated by the way that water refracts light, Oliver Wilson paints swimmers wading in pools. The familiar sight becomes a graceful dance between light and water, the swimmers’ bodies fracturing into a million pieces that break up into organic yet kaleidoscopic patterns. Complementing this painting series, Wilson also frequently photographs swimmers and considers himself both a painter and a photographer. Painting, however, poses a much greater challenge to him, as he must capture the fluid motion and depth of water and light — a multi-layered process he likens to sculpture.
Adam S. Doyle’s oil paintings of animals and fantasy creatures emphasize the physicality of his medium. He appears to paint entire realistic creatures using just a few pronounced strokes, evoking the intentionality required for writing calligraphy. Doyle’s subjects are often woodland animals like wolves, rabbits, and crows, though he has other series inspired by mythology and folklore. His paintings resemble a dance between paint and brush and simultaneously remind us of his process while whisking away our imaginations with the final result.
Minimal and quiet, Brian Robertson’s artworks seem to be both a homage to cubism and other various abstract art movements, and to our curious obsession with space and the universe. Going against typical physiognomy, the LA-based artist dissembles people and objects with clean acrylic shapes and lines juxtaposed with controlled dashes of spray paint. Looking closer, you’ll also notice that various portals appear in his work — a black hole doorway to a starry universe, a triangular cut-out through which a blue line travels — perhaps a commentary on the loneliness of the human condition and the vast wonder of the universe. On a more humorous level, Robertson names every one of his people or objects with tongue-in-cheek titles such as Mr Pot-Head Worm-Mouth or Mr Yellow-Brick Shit-House.
Miami-based painter Juan Travieso brings his work to life with vivid colors out of a sense of necessity. In his early days as a child in Cuba, his access to art supplies was limited because of the country’s trade restrictions. As a result, Travieso has a deep appreciation for color and takes advantage of the hues available to him with his full-spectrum palette. His oil and acrylic paintings on canvas often feature geometric forms interacting with birds and other animals. Travieso uses this juxtaposition of realism and design to draw attention to the adverse effects human activity has had on nature. He views each painting as a chance to give voice to the powerless and endangered species on our planet. We spoke to Travieso about the ideas behind his paintings, as well as his artistic evolution.
It seems that everything Tempe, Arizona-based artist Travis Rice touches turns to rainbow. In his paintings and installations, Rice entices viewers with colorful, abstract shapes that respond to geometry and architecture. His enormous, multicolored paper installations have been a hallmark of his shows over the past few years. With these waterfalls of shredded paper suspended from the ceiling, Rice alters the way that viewers interact with an otherwise ordinary gallery space. While these works are soft and amorphous, his paintings are more rigorous studies of form and depth. Shard-like rainbow shapes seem to explode outwards towards the viewer, creating layers of contrasting colors and textures.
Berkeley painter Deth P. Sun’s work, taken a whole, can be read almost like a comic book. With each solo show, his blank-eyed cat character — whom longtime fans have come to know well — returns for new adventures. Coming up on April 25, the artist has a solo show at Grumpy Bert in Brooklyn titled “Being and Nothingness.” This time, his mystical feline tackles themes of global proportions. Set against a backdrop of a star-lit sky, Sun places the microcosm of his protagonist’s world in the larger context of the universe. Amid the endearing visuals are bouts of melancholy as our hero ultimately must face his own mortality. “Being and Nothingness” will be on view through May 24.