The New Contemporary Art Magazine

Tag: Figurative Art

Artem Rogowoi’s oil and gold leaf paintings offer quiet, yet rich moments. In works like "Chamomile," the artist's rendering of elements such as hair or a bed of leaves carry unexpected textures. And each carries a fantastical quality, even when packed with everyday elements.
Laura Buss creates stirring oil paintings with subjects that appear to moving through planes of reality. The San Francisco-based artist renders both scenes and intimate studies that carry introspective themes. Buss had a recent show of her paintings at Modern Eden Gallery.
Known for his surrealistic portraits of elongated women with stretched oval faces and simplified features, self taught artist Troy Brooks once joked that, had he gone to art school, it would have "fixed" his work's most defining characteristic. "One thing that used to drive me crazy was that I always made the faces too long. It was something I used to have to go back and fix in my drawings. When I began creating my own characters I decided to just accentuate it," Brooks says.
The vivid oil paintings of Jenny Morgan capture an honesty about her subjects, drawn in a candid moment in the nude when they are at their most vulnerable. The Brooklyn based artist's electrifying figurative work, gracing the cover of Hi-Fructose Vol. 39, balances abstraction and realism, combining beautiful design aesthetics with her subject's unique complexion and emotion. Morgan herself has described her work as "psychological portraits", focused on presenting the sitter's psychological state.
Japanese sculptor and photographer Yuichi Ikehata creates chilling scenes that bridge the gap between reality and fiction. In his surreal ongoing series “Fragment of Long Term Memory," his intention is to comment on the fragmentary nature of memory and render it physical. "Many parts of our memories… are often forgotten, or difficult to recall. I retrieve those fragmented moments and reconstruct them as surreal images. I gather these misplaced memories from certain parts of our reality, and together they create a non-linear story, resonating with each other in my photographs," he says.
Belgium based figurative painter Michal Lukasiewicz portrays his subjects with the tenderness and warm sensuality of the High Renaissance, combined with the vibrancy of Pop art in his use of bright colors. Working primarily in acrylic, his works are almost monochrome, if not for the patches of shades like off-white, ochre, sienna, pink, grays, and neon oranges and yellows. Despite the contemporary expressiveness of his palette, his nude subjects, mostly women, have a mysteriously quiet nature about them that recalls famous figures in art like Leonardo's "Mona Lisa", or Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring".
Christine Wu's oil paintings feature multi-layered images of figures with haunting and sensual undertones, often reminiscent of double-exposure photography. She likens the people that she paints to apparitions, displaying a sort of uneasy flux about them and evoking a sense of nostalgia for distant memories. When we last caught up with her, Wu explained, "The concept behind the work is a variation of the ideas that appear throughout my paintings: the feeling of or search for transcendence." Since then, Wu has moved from Los Angeles to Brooklyn, New York, where she has been busy working on her latest body of work that debuted over the weekend at Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles.
Alessandra Maria and Zachari Logan's works offer poetic and detailed portrayals of figures mixed with nature, but in different ways. The two artists will debut their new series in side by side exhibitions tomorrow at Roq la Rue gallery in Seattle. While Logan's distorts the male figure in a sensual way, Maria's enhances the divine qualities of feminine allure. For his latest series, titled "Grotesques", Logan transforms figures based on his own into a landscape of lush flora and fauna. Using a subdued palette, his paintings weave together figures out of petals, branches and animals to the effect of a Medieval tapestry. Though elegant, his hybrid subjects embody the concept of grotesqueness in their disfigurement or "re-wilding", as he calls it.
New York based artist Gaetanne Lavoie experiments with conveying emotional and mental conflict in her figurative oil paintings. Many of her works depict vibrant and whimsical scenes, while also exuding a certain somberness and yearning. In her statement, she writes, "Through my experiences, I have realized how important the contradictions are... Within the perceived ‘negative’ emotional state of being is beauty, to which the contradictions no longer fight against each other, but rather, work in harmony creating a most delectable state of being."
Genevive Zacconi's figurative portraits employ a dark symbolism, presenting viewers with clues that allude to something more brewing below the surface. When she first began studying art, Zacconi found inspiration in surrealists Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte, and Frida Kahlo's dramatic and symbolic works. Blood, cutting, and tears are just a few motifs that make up Zacconi's visual language. Her latest series contrasts realistically rendered figures with endless lines of text, which they cry and hurl into literal word-vomit.
New York based artist Hope Gangloff paints expressive and visually striking portraits with emotional depth. First covered here, her portraits primarily depict family, friends and other artists in intimate, vaguely erotic and melancholy scenes. Gangloff has described her paintings as caricatures- rather than capturing her subjects' likeness, she focuses on their details separately and intensely, and exaggerates their features like hands and feet.
Originally hailing from Australia, now based in Los Angeles, David "Meggs" Hooke creates explosive figurative works and murals using bright colors and raw textures. For his upcoming solo at Beyond Eden Art Fair in Los Angeles, Meggs looked beyond his usual comic book and mythological influences and turned to his natural environment. Titled "Paving Paradise", his exhibit looks at the duality of our relationship between nature and that which is man-made. "It questions our effect on the planet's rapidly diminishing natural resources, and where our values lie as living beings on this planet," he told Hi-Fructose in a recent studio visit.
Los Angeles based artist Soey Milk paints confident young women in boldly colored clothing inspired by the imagery of her Korean heritage. Featured here on our blog, her slightly amorous oil portraits are imbued with mystery and personal discovery. On October 1st at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco, Milk explores her intimate world with a new series of paintings and drawings. In the tradition of previous exhibits, the series is titled in her native Korean "Pida (피다)", which translates to blossoming or becoming something else.
A new group exhibition at Last Rites Gallery in New York is looking at how 4 different artists style the human figure: Alex Garant, Sarah Joncas, and collaborative artist duo Kit King and Corey Popp (aka "Oda") make their subjects more exciting and complex by enhancing their portraits in various ways. Whether through color, line, shape, or dramatic composition, their subjects undergo a certain transformation in their works. Their collective exhibition, "Transfigure", currently on view through October 3rd, explores this idea.
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.
Meghan Howland is an oil painter currently working from her studio in Portland, Maine. With a pragmatic approach to creating, Howland shares with Hi-Fructose that painting allows her to express herself in ways that words simply cannot. While painting, she reflects on human spirituality and nature by studying the relationship of humanity to other organisms. Join us now as we get an exclusive look into Meghan Howland’s latest paintings, as well as a few of her thoughts about them.
The brutal paintings of Cleon Peterson (covered here) have a visceral effect on the viewer, plunging them deeply into a world of chaos, ruin and violence. On August 29th, Peterson brings his iconic style to Detroit's Library Street Collective for his latest exhibition, "Poison." "The show is about revenge, which is a current of poison running through our culture and other cultures around the world." Peterson shares. "It's often a motivation for war and a justification for punishment. It is a social impulse that is destructive and easy to be complicit in." Peterson is deliberate in his unflinching presentation of the darker side of human nature. In this world, muscle-headed brutes cross swords and knives, locked in a cycle of aggression.
Dallas, Texas based artist Michael Reeder paints eclectic portraits that explore ideas about identity. Reeder is fascinated by the various characteristics that define us, and his works mix those elements both stylistically and conceptually. While his main interest is modern identity, the figures he portrays often have a classical quality. He renders their faces as if he were chiseling away at marble, redefined with abstract and exaggerated features with blank eyes (ancient statue eyes were painted or inlaid.) His portraits aren't meant to be accurate representations. Rather, he considers portraiture to be more like a reinvention of his subjects, which takes place at their simplest form. 
Currently living and working in the idyllic town of Urtijëi, Italy, sculptor Willy Verginer shares a closeness with his environment in both technique and concept. His surreal wooden sculptures are carved from a single linden tree trunk with incredible precision and detail. Although their features are classical, Verginer paints bold stripes of color across his figures and poses them in awkward positions, making them completely contemporary. Previously covered here, he's often paired his figures of women, men, and young children with other animals and objects that don't fit together. His most recent pieces, which are on currently view at Galerie Van Campen & Rochtus in Belgium, pairs them with oil barrels.
Figurative artist Malcolm Liepke paints expressive images of men and women with increasing sensuality and range of emotions. The gestural quality of his oil paintings (previously covered here) lends to his concepts that explore sexual freedom and inhibition. It’s a technique he borrows from those of his favorite artists which includes Diego Velázquez and John Singer Sargent. Closing today at Arcadia Gallery in New York city, his new series “All That We Might Become” builds upon the layers of the complex psychology found in his art.
They are "the girls behind the lace." This is how Okinawa based painter Mao Hamaguchi describes the young subjects of her romantic paintings. Her Gothic Art inspired images are painted in a soft and delicate style, where we find Contemporary aristocratic girls peeking through veils or shrouds and lace curtains. The symbol of lace is used throughout Hamaguchi's art. Lace is a sensual fabric, often associated with intimacy and pleasure, as well as wealth, once among a household's most prized possessions. Hamaguchi embraces all of its nuances, using them to emphasize the qualities of womanhood.
South African artist Ryan Hewett looks straight to the core of his subjects in boldly expressive paintings. For his upcoming exhibition "Untitled" at the Unit London, opening April 24th, Hewett depicts world leaders and influencers as we aren't used to seeing them. His portraits of President Obama, JFK, Martin Luther King, and Contemporary artists like Ai Weiwei are stripped down to the most vague details. If there is any power to be represented, it is in his gestural technique, heavily influenced by figurative painters like Frank Auerbach. By focusing on the raw human nature of his subjects, Hewett creates a non-specific portrayal that is free of judgement.
Dynamic and skillfully executed, there is more than meets the eye in the figurative work of Chinese artist Mohan (默涵). His subjects are usually women, cast as little girls, brides and patriots, placed in idealized settings. We find them at home, cheering their comrades, or quietly contemplating their futures in moody landscapes of China. In recent works, they also venture to foreign cities like Paris. They are lit with the softness of Romanticism, with an attention to detail that borders hyperrealism.
This Saturday, Merry Karnowsky gallery will present three side by side solo shows by Los Angeles based artists Mercedes Helnwein, Kim Kimbro, and Vonn Sumner. Together, their new works are elaborate and psychologically intense, depicting dream like moments. Read more about their respective shows, "Mama Said Amen", "The Queen of Calvary", and "Gravity and Other Lies" after the jump.
Italian artist Marie-Esther (aka Gaia) draws sensitive portraits of women interrupted by overlaying abstract images. Her women have a multi faceted quality which she literally peels back in layers, revealing their emotion underneath. She describes her subjects as “a sort of icon of rationality, the way I see it. Geometric, cold. The rationality we need when people, or even our emotions hurt us.” We take a look at her mixed media "Transparency Series" after the jump.
Los Angeles based artists Karen Hsiao and Dan Quintana each evoke complex life themes in their figurative work. They will combine subject matter with “Perverse Foil”, opening August 2nd at Marcas Contemporary Art in Santa Ana. Hsiao, who is also a professional photographer, will be exhibiting original paintings and drawings in collaboration with Quintana, who has created surrealistic works based on her photos. A live demonstration at the opening will give attendees a look of their collaborative process. Take a look as we go behind the scenes after the jump.
So close, yet so far. It’s an idiom that seems to fit these curious, misty paintings by New York based artist Kristy Gordon. Her indirect self portraits and otherwise mundane scenes have a mysterious ambiance and depth. Gordon’s technique creates this illusion by depicting closer objects as paler, less detailed, in lower contrast than those away from us. At the same time, there is directness in the way she returns the observer’s gaze. Her treatment of atmosphere here sets the tone for the relationship between object and viewer. See more of her work after the jump.
Austrian illustrator Alice Wellinger paints ironic and surreal images inspired by her childhood and everyday life experiences as a woman. Wellinger's paintings are a like patchwork of womanhood, often weaving female bodies with florals and other abstract, organic shapes. Her editorial illustration employs elements of cool surrealism with unapologetic messaging; from a fragile, porcelain-like vagina to more whimsical, like her pregnant Superwoman on a mission. Her imagination runs wild in her personal work. Wellinger’s artist statement on her website is simple: “I always try to tell a little story in my pictures - I like when people have something to think about." See more after the jump!

Subscribe to the Hi-Fructose Mailing List