In 2016, the watercolors of Moira Hahn recall the woodblock prints of Japan’s Edo period, which ended nearly 150 years ago. Even with endearing, anthropomorphic animals in the place of human warriors or villagers, there’s a refined quality to the work that feels centuries-formed. And hidden within these pieces, you’ll often find charming, humorous narratives and modern-day commentary.
Swedish artist Benjamin Björklund lives a simple life in a farm house on Sweden’s west coast and his oil and watercolor paintings reflect this life. His work usually portrays the people and animals that surround him, such as his dog, Solomon, and other pets like rabbits, pigs, and mice. He’s also inspired by physical or emotional situations that he has experienced throughout his life; before becoming an artist, Björklund had a varied career working as a prison night guard, a psychiatric nurse, and a veterinary technician student. To look at Björklund’s paintings feels like looking into a dream.
Melancholic girls find themselves in moments of quiet drama in the works of British artist Craww and San Francisco based (and Hi-Fructose co-founder) Annie Owens. Where Craww’s pieces feature heroines with an almost spiritual-like quality, Owens’ black and white watercolors and sketches enhance the mystery of her subjects. Both artists will present new works in side by side solo exhibitions opening on October 29th at Antler Gallery in Portland.
Berlin-based artist Anna Lea Hucht creates drawings, watercolors and ceramics with solemn, and sometimes sinister undertones. The works have an aesthetic lightness which betrays their more disquieting subjects. Upon first look, Hucht’s domestic scenes are peaceful, tame. However, closer observation reveals individuals forlorn, lost among the trinkets and knickknacks that fill their homes. Hucht’s artworks are intriguing for their exacting detail that lends a specific personality and history to the people depicted. For example, Hucht offers clues about a woman seen behind a bookshelf containing a flask and beaded fringe lamp situated between ceramic vases and kitsch figurines.
Conrad Roset is a watercolor and ink artist based out of his studio in Barcelona, Spain. Roset, who was profoundly influenced at a young age by the enigmatic Expressionist, Egon Scheile, explores the sensuality and fragility of the feminine form. Roset’s new paintings are a continuation of his “Muses” project, in which the artist searches for beauty in the effects of the watercolor and black India ink washes.
Moscow based artist Dima Rebus paints subdued watercolors of urban life as envisioned by his subjects. Here, life is occupied by situations that are humorous, but also full of uncertainty and fear. In surreal, slightly unsettling scenes, we find young people sleeping in and forgetting their chores while newer works have more serious implications. Titles such as “Life in my city implies heavy consumption of carbohydrates” also imply the artist’s reservations and concerns about environmental issues.