Jen Mann’s stirring oil portraits blend realism and abstraction, isolating aspects of the face for photo-negative representations and graphic notes. Mann uses contemporary iconography in her works, using emojis and film subtitles as inspiration. Her toying with a single subject over many portraits represent the prism of personality.
Rebecca Morgan’s portraits of country folk are delightfully weird if somewhat off-putting. Set in hunting camps and other woodsy environments, the artist’s work is an exploration of rural and off-the-grid culture, featuring an array of eccentric characters. Her paintings and drawings bounce between humorous, ambivalent and grotesque depictions of everyday existence in rural Appalachia, inspired by the artist’s upbringing in a small town in central Pennsylvania. Check out more of her work on Instagram.
Rebecca Hastings‘ art is a family affair. The Australian artist uses herself and her children as the focal subjects in her highly realist oil paintings – yet noticeably absent from these portraits is the sentimentality one would expect an artist-mother to insert into her depictions of family life. Instead, Hastings subverts these idealized expectations to reveal the more complex realities of child rearing that is rarely touched upon in glossy advertisements or family portraits.
Annemarie Busschers (featured on our blog here) is fascinated by human imperfection. As a society, we tend to run away from anything that renders us imperfect – yet from the artist’s viewpoint, these traits we so eagerly try to disown are what lend to an individual’s distinction. Busscher’s embrace of all imperfections is reflected in her raw, emotive portraits of people, which focus deeply on the lines, textures, and colorations of the skin’s surface to draw attention to her subjects’ flaws and irregularities.
For more than thirty years, Kerry James Marshall has been creating art to inspire important conversations about African American history and identity. His paintings follow the grand traditions of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, but with new narratives in which black people are the central figures. While Marshall initially began his career as an abstract artist, his dramatic shift to figurative painting occurred in the 1980s when he realized that African American artists and subjects were being excluded from major art museums and galleries. Marshall decided he would use the techniques of the Old Masters so revered in those institutions to create a new dialogue, in which black perspectives are given greater visibility within the art history canon.
Jerome Lagarrigue has depicted many subjects throughout his career- boxers and supermodels to his multi-racial Brooklyn neighbors- but his focus has always been simply, “painting people”. The French born artist traces his interest in portraiture to art school, where it was difficult to find a model and this encouraged him to study his own face. These introspective exercises on expression, color, and psyche continue to inform his oil paintings. He also practiced graffiti, influencing his manner of working in large scale with roughly defined areas.