The new oil paintings of New York-based artist Kajahl explore “the history and taxonomy of portraiture.” The paintings take notes from differing cultures through time for hybrid reflections on the history of human creativity. The artist’s current show at Richard Heller Gallery, titled “Unearthed Entities,” presents a new collection of these works.
South Korea-raised, Melbourne-based artist Kim Hyunji (also known as Kim Kim Kim) crafts stirring oil portraits that experiment with texture and movement. The artist has said that unlike photographs, “painting no longer relies on flatness; instead it has branched out in the expanded field where I see paint as a sculptural material to add physicality to my portraits.”
Canadian artist Mathieu Laca crafts oil paintings that use texture and abstractions that toy with the conventions of portraiture. Whether it’s famous subjects or the vague everyman or everywoman, the artist packs both meticulous, odd flair and personality into each of the paintings. He’s given this treatment to anyone from Henry David Thoreau and Albert Einstein to historical arts figures like Vincent Van Gogh.
From certain angles, works by Noah Scalin can just look like piles and piles of clothes strewn along the floor. But at the right angle, absorbing portraits come into focus. Recent subjects include Hellen Keller, Maggie L. Walker, and others. The length of these sculptures can comprise around 30 feet. His work explores “the theme of transience – specifically the temporary nature of our individual lives and tenuous nature of human existence on the planet.”
Bart Nijstad, an artist based in the Netherlands, creates surreal portraits that move between pop and everyday subjects. Though the artist would say that his topics and environments can be considered “sober and Dutch.” He uses different mediums in accomplishing this, including gouache, watercolor, and pencil.
Matthew Ivan Cherry, a Boston-based painter, creates oil portraits that ooze with vulnerability and a erratic, yet cohesive style. He uses his subjects, often met on the streets or on social media, to explore issues of individuality, gender identity, and the inherent beauty of the human form. Certain projects, like “somewhereX,” are tethered to Cherry’s upbringing as a Mormon. The project features enormous portraits of LGBTQ mormons (whether active or inactive), including Cherry himself.