A child of a bustling city of contrast and colors, Rodrigo Branco‘s affinity for abstraction may come as no surprise. But his blurred portraits of local people in São Paulo, created using patches of colors and expressive strokes, are actual representations of what the artist used to see as a little kid. Raised in the southern outskirts of the city, Branco had a severe vision impairment that was left untreated for years.
People complain a lot about Los Angeles: It’s too big, too spread out, and the traffic is terrible. But local artist Susan Logoreci sees a different side of her city that she conveys in her large-scale mosaic-like colored pencil drawings. Her images of the urban sprawl are drawn by hand and without a ruler or projector, giving her work a hand-made or in her words, “elastic”, quality that breaks the first rule of drawing architecture.
“I like when you can walk up to a painting and it’s a little abstract, and as you back up it all syncs together into something that makes sense, but if you walk up close it all falls apart,” says Brooklyn based artist Michael Kagan. Working out of his Brooklyn, New York based studio, the artist draws upon themes relating to space and man’s triumph over nature in his texture-heavy paintings. His self-described obsession with space imagery began as a child, when he would look at the moon through a telescope with his father, and later on, joined Space Camp.
What does it mean to be “normal”? Normality is different to different people, generally applying to what is considered acceptable and not out of the ordinary. To Los Angeles based artist Wyatt Mills, the idea of being “normal” has a broad meaning that he addresses in his latest series of chaotic mixed media paintings. Mills is an artist that likes to make observations about the human psyche, relating his work to a reflection of his reality which is never one thing and switches between different styles.
New Zealand based artist Meredith Marsone’s muted oil portraits reveal glimpses of her subjects in emotional and peaceful moments, “sparks” of realism amidst abstraction. They are typically painted with realistic details juxtaposed against areas of impasto, paint applied thickly enough that the brush or painting-knife strokes are visible. It’s a technique that she admits was borne out of frustration and is an artistically risky one, a process that she details at her Youtube channel and blog, where she recently wrote, “I think the best work I’ve made has been about things that are meaningful to me personally and have been about something I’ve had experience in.”
Atlanta, Georgia based artist Sarah Emerson‘s paintings and murals portray a world where sweetness and craziness collide in energetic displays. These colorful landscapes present a bizarre version of actual places or things, inspired by the ways that time and human intervention affects them. Words like loopy, cartoony, even psychedelic are often used to describe her imagery, populated by Disney-cute animals like baby deer and googley-eyed creatures, who peek through a thick foliage of wavy shapes and lines. Emerson once said that if there is any message that runs through all of her paintings, it’s that life is delicate and temporary, and she urges us to be present in it. This philosophy is at the heart of her solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, “The Unbearable Flatness of Being”.