Hailing from New York, painter Tony Curanaj carefully arranges objects in his studio and with a sensitive eye, renders them in the spirit of classical realism. Interested in recreating the living moment and atmosphere in which they were painted, he prefers to mix his own oil colors, which allows him to evoke the desired light source, mood and effects. Though his still lifes are mostly inanimate objects, there are hints of life in them throughout as in the daylight coming in through the studio windows, reflecting off of glazed pottery and vintage gumball machines, or in the cautious eye of a golden finch, who acknowledges the painter with his head cocked to one side.
Portland based artist Eric Wert, first featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 32, is known for his larger than life and visually intense still life paintings of plants and food. Though his style is hyper-realistic, there is something about his portrayal of the vibrancy and ripeness of his subjects that makes them more appealing than life. Wert makes every day florals and foods like grapes and tomato look beautiful and evocative with a certain wildness. He has said, “I want to create an image that one can be lost within. To me, still-life painting is about looking intensely. It’s about intimately exploring a subject.” For his current exhibition at William Baczek Fine Arts in Massachusetts, Wert created a smaller series featuring hydrangea, lilies, pansy, iris, and figs in luscious, glistening still lifes.
Australian artist Alex Louisa draws upon life and death in nature with fervor in her soft pastel artworks. Primarily using PanPastels on textured paper, she is able to exhibit her unique fascination for her subject’s peculiarities. Among her still life and landscape drawings, birds and their features are the most common subjects in her work. Their softness is contrasted against that of callous skulls and bones, each rendered with an eye for small complexities such as veins and divots.
New Jersey based artist Mikel Glass began painting his bizarre rubber glove florals over ten years ago. Since then, they’ve continued to pop up in his various works, slowly building out a series of 30 paintings. He paints them in a variety of blooms and palettes from bright rainbow colors to romantic pastels. The gloves are not Glass’ only subject. He’s also an accomplished painter of portraits and still life, for which he sculpts unusual sets made of toys, rubber balls, and pumpkins that turn into self-consuming fruit baskets. Unlike these inanimate objects, the gloves take on a personality of their own as something meant to be worn by a living person.
Japanese artist Toru Kamei creates sensual, dreamlike paintings that reference nature and mythology. While some of his pieces delve into the enchanted worlds of serpentine gods and mermen, other works offer a surrealist take on vanitas painting. Like the Northern Renaissance still lifes, Kamei’s work meditates on the fragility of life and the imminence of mortality. But his work takes on a bizarre dimension when one notices the eyeballs popping out of the flowers he paints, making them look haunted and eerily alive.
The dramas and battles we imagined our toys engaging in as kids come to life in Robert C. Jackson’s oil paintings. His work is populated by balloon dogs and apples that appear to be staging epic wars amid a landscape of colorful vegetable crates.