Canadian artist Alex Garant’s “double-eyed” portraits, featured here on our blog, have become instantly recognizable for the dizzying effect they create. Her style of overlaying her subject’s features like eyes and lips produces multiple images that are captivating but admittedly, also challenging to look at; for some, her works create phantom images, and even the feeling of being intoxicated. Her new series of portraits, titled “Wakefulness”, is inspired by how our brains enter into a state of consciousness when we wake up.
San Francisco based artist John Wentz plays with texture and abstraction in what he calls his “fractured” oil paintings of figures. Previously featured on our blog, the figures in Went’z work have been described as hazy, dreamy, and stripped away, broken down to a combination of nondescript washes and bold areas of pigment that evoke the feeling of remembering a distant memory that comes back to us as distorted. In his artist statement, he explains that “working within the classical idiom of the human figure, his goal is to reduce and simplify the image to it’s core fundamentals: composition, color, and paint application.”
The explosive abstract portraiture of Los Angeles based artist Justin Bower is currently featured in a new exhibition at MOAH (Lancaster Museum of Art and History), “Thresholds”. Previously featured here on our blog and in Hi-Fructose Vol. 31, his digital-looking, hand-painted portraits constantly question how much we will allow technology to permeate and destruct our daily lives? Like a glitchy mirror image of ourselves, glued to our computers and mobile devices, the giant, anonymous faces that he paints are continuously broken up by neon colored markings and shapes. His “Thresholds” series is an extension of a series of portraits that first began with his piece titled “Spaceboy” in 2009, here ending with several new paintings created throughout 2015.
Chinese born, California based artist Vincent Xeus paints his portraits with a sensitive treatment of light and shading to an almost haunting effect. Though his work shares elements of 17th-century Dutch masters and contemporaries like Gerhard Richter, Odd Nerdrum, Francis Bacon, and Antonio López Garcia, Xeus has created an entirely new approach. Previously featured on our blog, he has said that his intent is to reveal that which is beneath what we think we see. This involves smudging the paint until the subject’s face is hardly recognizable or appears blurry and more impressionistic. His latest body of work, “Hue is Full / A Thousand Faces”, which opened Friday at Gallery 1261 in Colorado, takes his unconventional style to a new level where he wipes and scrapes away at his subjects.
Halloween is supposed to be about embracing the sinister, but somewhere along the way, sinister became sexy. Enter the sexy Halloween costume. Artist Deborah Oropallo embraces this costume phenomenon in her layered photo-montages of subjects best known by their masterpiece museum portraits. For her series titled “Guise”, Oropallo superimposed pigmented photographic prints and acrylic painting in a way that makes her costumed subjects almost indistinguishable. If you look closely, suddenly, famous faces such as the Girl with a Pearl Earring become the Sexy Maid, Sexy Nurse, Sexy Circus Ringmaster, the list goes on.
As a young girl, artist Margaret Bowland‘s favorite books and songs told stories about love and life, stories that condition girls to expect certain things out of life and want to be a certain way. Ideas about love, beauty, and personal identity are at the heart of her 19th century-inspired oil paintings, covered here. In particular, her portraits often feature the same African American girl named “J”, grandly styled with her face painted white, and attended to by white servants. She makes a reappearance in Bowland’s upcoming exhibition at Driscoll Babcock in New York, “Power”.