The New Contemporary Art Magazine

Tag: portrait

Sebastián Gutiérrez crafts two-layered portraits that reveal something less elegant beneath the surface. This particular series from the Puerto Rican artist, titled “Inner Beauty,” is a study in contrast. A statement says that “though his main medium is oil paint, its usually presented on everyday items such as doors, rugs, windows or toys; he wants to give the spectator an instant sense of familiarity.”
Lu Cong is known for his striking portraits, whether rendered in oil, watercolor, colored pencil, or all three. His latest work toys with form, blending textures, tools, and styles to create evocative pieces. The artist was last featured on here.
Alejandro Pasquale’s surreal paintings are mysterious portraits, with the faces of subjects often obscured in flora or masks. These youthful explorations often come in varying moods, from wonder to melancholy and even loneliness. The painter uses oils, acrylics, and graphite to fuel these ideas. The artist was last featured on here.
Nicolas Uribe’s painted portraits contain varying levels of abstraction, injecting both a surreal and engrossing quality into each work. The Colombia-based painter has also delved into kinetic scenes in this style, all carrying the intimacy and unsteadiness of memory.
Yasmine Weiss describes her works as “pretty realistic but not quite.” These oil paintings and drawings carry a surreal quality, with touches of the intimate and the disconcerting. Weiss says she has always had a fascination with humanity, and as being hard-pressed to explain why is part of the engine that fuels her work.
Louise Riley, an artist based in the London, began sewing because frankly, she was “too fast at painting.” She found that embroidery, in particular, gave her a chance to really immerse herself and understand what she was creating. And then one day, she tried a new experiment, using a mattress as her canvas.
Ghanaian artist Jeremiah Quarshie finds the inspiration for his paintings in his immediate environment. Living and working in Accra, the capital of Ghana, his highly realistic acrylic portraits depict models, typically ordinary women, in roles of beauty queens, businesswomen, and laborers alike. In his own words, the people in his portraits are characters representing the “foundations of society into pools of utter elegance", 21st century workers and fictional women.
Scott G. Brooks, featured here on our blog, paints offbeat portraits, often expressing a surreal narrative inspired by children's books and his own psyche. Described as twisted, sentimental, and disturbing, his portraits are characterized by his use of wit and the distorted version of reality they present. "Using a language that is easily understood, I tell stories. I weave figures, symbols, and elements together to create a narrative to share with an audience," he says.
German artist Tobias Kroeger, also known by his moniker "Tobe", made his career as a successful street artist, but in 2013 he suddenly stopped and turned his attention towards the canvas. What he created is a series of glitchy portraits inspired by his roots in graffiti and a growing concern for our addiction to technology. "Composed of data fragments and machine parts", his depiction of people is not far from the truth; a portrait of a new generation, living their lives in front of the computer screen.
For Toronto based artist Brian Donnelly, featured here, painting is a risky business. At first beautifully rendered in oil, he then sprays his subjects with turpentine and hand sanitizer until their faces are distorted beyond recognition, to a more limited expression. Donnelly's work is all about embracing limitations: "I ask a lot of questions about art and how we define it," he says. "How far away from the original state can we go before we stop calling something art? In the process, I end up drawing a parallel between the fragile nature of artwork and the human condition."
"I believe that artists should speak about the most desperate and desirable issues for humanity," says Korean painter Kwon Kyung-Yup. Though known for her realistic portraits of melancholy subjects, first featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 24, Kwon describes herself as a happy person whose paintings are about recalling memories. Her works find an emotional balance between her artistic inspirations, citing the beauty in Klimt's paintings which she pairs with tragedy, as found in the works of Caravaggio.
During the last seven years, Ontario based artist Kit King has struggled with agoraphobia which is clinical anxiety in response to open spaces. As she explains, she lives her life "behind the same walls day in and day out" and worries she may never see her art outside the studio. Her emotions and relationship to spaces inform her works, featured here on our blog, and while highly technical, they represent the artist's study of identity in the context of space.
Afarin Sajedi's portraits of women are rarely pretty in the conventional sense or pleasant to look at. One might even call them deformed or strange, appearing almost alien-esque with their large heads and round eyes. Previously featured on our blog, the Iranian artist once described her work as "a little bit science fiction, a little bit realism", mainly working from her imagination to create her emotive characters.
Casey Weldon’s paintings have always combined beauty with a dark sense of humor to convey a distorted version of reality. Featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 32 and on our blog over the years, the Seattle based artist's palette has gradually developed a neon-colored luminosity, where his subjects appear to be glowing and bio-luminescent. Moments of darkness and reflecting colors of electric lights are used to convey emotion and spark intrigue in the viewer.
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.
When California based painter Brian M. Viveros debuted his "Matador" series last year, he unleashed a side of his sultry, smokey-eyed vixens that hadn't been seen before. His subjects still exuded the sexiness that the "Dirtyland" artist has become known for, but clad in painstakingly detailed and shining clothing inspired by the iconic bullfighter, they held a newfound sense of passion and fire. For his upcoming solo at SCOPE New York, his first east coast showing since 2012, Viveros sought to channel the toughness and splendor from his "Matador" series in a new body of work.
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."
Beijing based artist DU Kun incorporates his passion for rock music into his new oil painting series titled "Revels of the Rock Gods". His works, which just debuted at Mizuma Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, are monumental portraits of rock musicians that appear carved out of mountains, cliffs, oceans, stones, trees and waterfalls. His first profession while he was in art school was as a rock musician himself, and has since frequently demonstrated his musical prowess. The artist began working on his "Gods of Rock Festival" series in 2014, creating the works out of his own experience with rock music.
Austin, Texas based artist Kate Zambrano sees beauty differently than most people. The subjects of her paintings and drawings are obviously blessed with natural good looks (many of her images are based on models like Codie Young), but Zambrano couples this ideal with attitude and darkness. A self taught artist, Zambrano exhibits a keen understanding of how atmosphere defines her subjects' persona, balancing their strength with their 'barely there' forms. Many of her pieces use light and shadow play with high contrast, usually monochromatic tones, to bring out their emotional diversity.
Mérida, Venezuela based artist Miguel Devia injects an emotional intensity into his portraits of close friends and figures of literature. Though his subjects are ones that he is familiar with, he often strays from capturing their likeness or any particular sense of familiarity. Rather, his primary interest seems to be in their expressiveness, playing with line and contrasting colors to evoke the emotion of the person or setting. Devia works in both digital illustration and oil painting, and in both mediums, he combines a psychological acumen with graphic design and illustrative devices.
Rainbow waterfalls spill from the faces of Brian Donnelly's men and women. The Toronto-based painter describes himself as a portrait painter, yet he distorts and erodes his subjects to sometimes unrecognizable ends. Donnelly's paints from real life, selecting his subjects based on interesting features such as piercing eyes or characteristic facial hair. He then paints them on canvas before using a combination of turpentine and hand sanitizer to make the colors run.
Polish painter Daniel Maczynski does not concern himself with the subtext of his work. Rather, his geometric portraits are studies in form and color. According to the artist, the meaning behind the work is for the viewer to decide. Maczynski paints with thick, textured brushstrokes that evoke the physicality of the paint. In his portraits, he veers from tightly-rendered details to loose abstraction, allowing the human figures to morph into psychedelic swirls of color.
Chinese artist Li Wentao’s work is theatrical. It’s not just way the artist stages the lone character, a young, fragile woman, always barefoot, always in some state of undress. Clearly something’s on her mind. It’s the way we identify with her, just as we identify with, become invested in, a play’s protagonist. It’s easy to conflate the artist and subject. The woman looks out a window, off to the side, at the viewer. We can’t describe, much less identify, her expression. Pensive, wary, frightened? Or does she share some quiet secret, some personal conspiracy? In any event, she doesn’t wear her face-the-world face. We don’t know her story but we want to. We want to keep looking at the work, hoping for some resolution of whatever situation she’s in.

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