Whether rendered in charcoal, pastel, or oils, Ian Ingram’s enormous self-portraits are stirring explorations of humanity. The artist blends his realistic drawings with abstraction and surreal notes, yet consistently offers an intimate perspective in each work.
Born on the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific Ocean, artist Gilles Barbier is most well-known for his series of aging super heroes. In "L'Hospice," a grey-haired Wonder Woman with sagging breasts and square hips cares for Captain America, who attached to an IV, lies bloated and incapacitated on a gurney. In another corner, a wrinkled Cat Woman sleeps in front of the TV, while next to her, a deflated and anemic hulk sits comfortably in a wheelchair. Like all of Barbier's works, most of which feature his own self-portrait, "L'Hospice" uses the absurd to reflect on the darker and more difficult themes of aging and the collapse of dreams and ideals.
California based artist Candice Bohannon creates alluring and emotive figurative works using a multitude of media. Her subjects are often portrayed alone and drifting into sleep, emoting solitude and tranquility in their quieter moments. In her statement, Bohannon describes her work as "the invisible yet perceptible quality of awareness, emotions, experiences, memories and expectations, the ethereal nature of the human soul and a searching for comfort and familiarity in the sublime unknown."
Born in London, Lina Iris Viktor merges hip hop and high fashion with Art Nouveau patterns to create bold artworks that scream contemporary pop expression. Many of her designs contrast soft swirls and sharp peaks, referencing motifs used to convey the mood of spiritual and technological progress of the early 20th century. Viktor however, is perhaps best known for her use of 24k gold. The artist, who has an interest in astrophysics and theater, uses the luxury material to elicit the same guttural response of awe that viewers have expressed towards uses of gold for centuries, such as in Byzantine icons.
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.
New York-based artist Ian Ingram uses primarily charcoal and pastels to render rich self-portraits filled with details normally almost invisible to the human eye. Ingram focuses his energy on the copious details in the skin, rendering the texture of each pore and pockmark. He uses primarily dark tones for his work, allowing the skin's texture to glisten as if reflecting the sun's rays at its lowest point just before it sets. While some of the portraits focus on the poignancy of the facial expression, others include surreal details such as embroidered geometric patterns. By way of subtle cues, Ingram's drawings communicate the nuances of our emotions and imaginations.
Traditionally, the self-portrait gives the viewer an outward representation of the inner self. Painter Haley Hasler, however, is interested in creating self-portraits that confront the viewer with the exterior self — the different roles and expectations other expect us to fill. With a colorful palette, Hasler looks at herself through the many fantasies, realities, fears and motivations that live within her. Using a realist painting technique, the artist is able to freely cross the border between the imagined and the real.
New York-based artist Melissa Cooke uses herself as a primary reference point, both physically and emotionally. While many of the subjects of her large-scale graphtie drawings are modeled after the artist's own likeness, her works go deeper below the surface to investigate the uncomfortable crevices of the psyche one must traverse in order to truly know oneself. Her most recent series, Plunge is a meditative series of close-up self-portraits of Cooke in her favorite place of solace: her bathtub. A place of escape from frantic New York City life, the tub is a safe haven for the artist. The drawings are not entirely utopian and placid, however: There are notes of tension as water and suds splash her face like the turbulent tides of the ocean.