The New Contemporary Art Magazine

Tag: still life

In the Mia Brownell series "Plate to Platelet," the painter combines the sensibility of classical still life and the scientific investigation of blood cells, examining the relationship between consumers and food. Brownell is currently involved in two shows: a duo effort with Hunterdon Art Museum with Martin Kruck titled "Skepitcal Realism" and a group show at Shiva Gallery titled "Foodie Fever." She was last featured on our site here.
The acrylic paintings of Olan Ventura reference the still-life paintings of the Old Masters, yet take a contemporary turn in conveying what only appear to be printing errors that run hues off the canvas. While conveying “glitches” with paint can be found in the practices of contemporaries, Venture is able to navigate both ends of time in his faithful recreations.
Kathy Ager’s stirring paintings, inspired by classical still-life and Baroque iconography, integrate pop cultural and personal objects. In a new show at Thinkspace Projects, titled “Golden Age,” her recent explorations are offered, each showing the artist’s knack in both realism and graphical, toon-influenced rendering. The show opens tomorrow and runs through July 20.
Mia Brownell, a Chicago-based artist and daughter of a sculptor and biophysicist, has a new body of work that she says "simultaneously draw on scientific images of platelets (tiny blood cells shaped like plates) and the history of the painted food still life." The new series is called "Plate to Platelets: and other things that travel and bind,” and it features several new palette paintings. Brownell is featured in the Hi-Fructose Collected 4 Boxset.
The billowed rugs and other objects in Antonio Santin’s ghostly oil paintings are rendered with unsettling realism. The Madrid native works in "elaborate still-lifes," as he alters his subjects to create new realities. The artist taps into the tradition of Spanish Tenebrism and a sculptural background to dream up and execute these works on canvas. When photographed from a distance, the work still turns heads, with the viewer attempting to understand what he or she is seeing. He was featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 18 and was last featured on here.
In painting nature, artist David Kroll evokes a classical sense of beauty and fragility. He combines elements of naturalist painting and still life in his portrayal of animals like elegant egrets and koi which perch and swim around delicate objects. Though remarkably detailed and inspired by early landscape painting, Kroll has said that he wants to paint a version of the wild that is romantic, and not necessarily realistic. "I paint refuges, places to go to for solace. I want my paintings to be destinations of quiet and calm," he says. "However, this world is fragile."
Jonny Green's oil paintings of haphazardly-made sculptures are part portrait, part still life. The UK based painter, who lives and works in London, describes his work as a combination of the "carefree and painstaking", images of crudely built subjects made of a strange selection of items- modelling clay, office tape, flowers, Christmas lights, and whatever else is immediately available to him- which he then renders in incredibly meticulous detail.
Chicago based artist Maria Tomasula creates highly realistic oil paintings that add a touch of magic to still lifes and the human figure. Influenced by the bright palette and painting of her Mexican heritage, her arrangements of fruits, flowers, skulls and floating bodies that shimmer like jewels are exceptionally colorful, sensual, and even dark at times, while touching upon subjects like religion, life and death, and the beauty of nature. Most describe Tomasula's works as Magical Realism, for her portrayal of enchanted elements in an otherwise believable environment.
Montreal, Canada based visual artist Katherine Melançon brings a new energy to the classic still life in her trippy photographic works. Though her mesmerizing images may look it, they are not entirely digital; they are created using a variety of processes and techniques achieved with digital tools and camera-less photography such as photograms. As in her "Nature Morte" series, subjects like flowers, fruits, chicken, and other inanimate subjects are moved while she is scanning them, creating an ephemeral effect with smoky smudges. Images like these exist at a cross-section between traditional art making and a more contemporary practice that uses machines, as well as figurative and abstraction.
Hailing from New York, painter Tony Curanaj carefully arranges objects in his studio and with a sensitive eye, renders them in the spirit of classical realism. Interested in recreating the living moment and atmosphere in which they were painted, he prefers to mix his own oil colors, which allows him to evoke the desired light source, mood and effects. Though his still lifes are mostly inanimate objects, there are hints of life in them throughout as in the daylight coming in through the studio windows, reflecting off of glazed pottery and vintage gumball machines, or in the cautious eye of a golden finch, who acknowledges the painter with his head cocked to one side.
Portland based artist Eric Wert, first featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 32, is known for his larger than life and visually intense still life paintings of plants and food. Though his style is hyper-realistic, there is something about his portrayal of the vibrancy and ripeness of his subjects that makes them more appealing than life. Wert makes every day florals and foods like grapes and tomato look beautiful and evocative with a certain wildness. He has said, "I want to create an image that one can be lost within. To me, still-life painting is about looking intensely. It's about intimately exploring a subject." For his current exhibition at William Baczek Fine Arts in Massachusetts, Wert created a smaller series featuring hydrangea, lilies, pansy, iris, and figs in luscious, glistening still lifes.
Australian artist Alex Louisa draws upon life and death in nature with fervor in her soft pastel artworks. Primarily using PanPastels on textured paper, she is able to exhibit her unique fascination for her subject's peculiarities. Among her still life and landscape drawings, birds and their features are the most common subjects in her work. Their softness is contrasted against that of callous skulls and bones, each rendered with an eye for small complexities such as veins and divots.
New Jersey based artist Mikel Glass began painting his bizarre rubber glove florals over ten years ago. Since then, they've continued to pop up in his various works, slowly building out a series of 30 paintings. He paints them in a variety of blooms and palettes from bright rainbow colors to romantic pastels. The gloves are not Glass' only subject. He's also an accomplished painter of portraits and still life, for which he sculpts unusual sets made of toys, rubber balls, and pumpkins that turn into self-consuming fruit baskets. Unlike these inanimate objects, the gloves take on a personality of their own as something meant to be worn by a living person.
Japanese artist Toru Kamei creates sensual, dreamlike paintings that reference nature and mythology. While some of his pieces delve into the enchanted worlds of serpentine gods and mermen, other works offer a surrealist take on vanitas painting. Like the Northern Renaissance still lifes, Kamei's work meditates on the fragility of life and the imminence of mortality. But his work takes on a bizarre dimension when one notices the eyeballs popping out of the flowers he paints, making them look haunted and eerily alive.
The dramas and battles we imagined our toys engaging in as kids come to life in Robert C. Jackson's oil paintings. His work is populated by balloon dogs and apples that appear to be staging epic wars amid a landscape of colorful vegetable crates.
Belgian artist Cindy Wright's realist approach to her paintings is straightforward and traditional, but her subject matter imbues her work with an haunting, enigmatic ambiance. Wright is interested in death and decay. Her still lifes focus on single objects — one polished skull, a slab of fresh meat bleeding on the ground. Presented to us without context or an explanation, the morbid subjects exemplify the physicality of flesh. In this way, her work continues the Northern Renaissance tradition of vanitas paintings, still lifes meant to evoke the passage of time and one's inevitable mortality.

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