England based artist Dylan Andrews uses light and shadow to portray emotion in his drawings. His monochromatic charcoal portraits build up to a dramatic intensity that is almost surreal. Owing to the drama and atmosphere in his pieces is the use of black and white high contrast of tones. Pattern and texture is another aspect of the work that he uses to explore the emotional possibilities. The shadows on his young subjects’ extend the reality of the image beyond the page, a reflection from an object we cannot see.
Often using himself as a subject, Madrid-based painter Eloy Morales paints large-scale, expressive portraits that hone in on the uniqueness of the human face. Morales often depicts his subjects covered in paint and other props as a way to add interesting textures as well as emotional content. The artist has a solo show coming up this week at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York titled “About Head.” Opening May 16, the exhibition will present new, mural-scale portraits that put the human head front-and-center, inviting the viewers to get lost in Morales’ meticulously-painted details.
New Zealand based artist Peter Stichbury combines attractive good looks with ugliness in 1950s style portraits. His Big-Eyed young subjects represent non-conventional beauty, something we can find in today’s supermodels and misfits alike. Stichbury regards these young people as a collective group in society, which he renders in a style that flattens their facial features to a non specific point. In their abstract, clone-like similarities, they become anonymous and linked to one another. They are intentionally deprived of human emotion, owing to their awkwardness. At the same time, his aesthetic can be regarded as strangely realistic.
Canadian artist Alex Garant paints realistic portraits that capture her subjects in multiples. Using traditional portrait techniques, her oil paintings combine graphic design elements with abstraction in great detail. Looking at her work is like getting lost in an optical illusion, where colorful patterns are key to holding the composition together. Among her stylistic inspirations, she credits early ink printing, Pop surrealism, Baroque tapestries and themes found in retro kitsch. This is especially apparent in her use of image superposition, where her subject’s 70s-esque big lips and eyes are enhanced.
Born in Canada and based in Manhattan, Karel Funk discovered the meaning of personal space while riding the New York subway for the first time. His subjects are the every day men and women he observes there at a close range. As Funk closes in past the comfort zone, he’s met with a certain rejection. Their clothing, hair or headphones act like a modern day armor that shields the viewer from any possibility to engage. Some paintings show only a jacket, a hood, or the back of a girl’s ponytail. What is left for us to speculate are things like folds in fabric, which Funk renders to a hyper-realistic point, and we become a voyeur to these details.
Tomas Clayton takes us back 100 years with his nostalgic portraits set in the World War I era. Re-imagining documentary photographs and artifacts from this time period, Clayton creates enigmatic, highly stylized images that zero in on various characters — soldiers, acrobats, actors, and average men and women alike. Influenced by the aesthetics of the 1970s, elements of this period get muddled with his early 20th century imagery, as well. As a result, his oil on masonite works at times become dislodged from a specific time and place, inviting viewers to create narratives of their own.