The New Contemporary Art Magazine

Tag: Watercolor

Stuart Holland's stirring charcoal drawings and watercolor works packed Arch Enemy Arts this month in a show titled "Elsew(here)." The Idaho artist crafts quiet, cerebral scenes, each its own introspective and metaphysical exploration. The show ends on June 1.
Ukraine-born, Paris-based artist Nikolay Tolmachev crafts provocative watercolor paintings showcasing a knack for elegance and wry humor. The artist's practice also delves in illustration, recently providing work for a release of the classic narrative poem "Kateryna" by Taras Shevchenko.
Nature has once again reclaimed the world in the watercolor scenes of Robin Crofut-Brittingham, whose lush textures reveal surprises upon inspection. The artist, whose work has been exhibited in both U.S. and Canadas, crafts new, mystic figures that seem to have evolved adorned with nature's texture. The use of watercolors underscores the elegance of the flora and fauna she’s depicting.
Moving between works on paper and ceramics, Cathy Lu explores cultural identity and traditional Chinese art in her work. Many of her pieces contain dozens of young female characters, scaling classical vases and metaphoric lifeforms. The artist offers some insight into what she’s traversing in her work:
The massive, frenetic scenes painted by Fredrik Söderberg pull from mythology and art history. Using watercolors and taking notes from cultures across the globe, he uses a knack for lush environments to pull together otherwise disparate elements. Works such as "Krigarens väg / The Warrior's Path" (below), blend the gruesome with the elegant.
The watercolor paintings of Turkish artist Yiğit Can Alper carry a ghostly quality, their creatures disappearing into sparse backdrops. Alper's drab figures and structures seem to be part of a dilapidated world. And the textures of the material render each component as a temporary apparition.
Stacey Rozich's new watercolor paintings are part of a body of work titled "Constellation Applebee's," and though it's packed with folkloric and otherworldly sights, there's an even more personal edge to her new work. The paintings are collected in the new show named for the series at Showboat Gallery in Los Angeles. She was last featured on the site here.
Michelle Avery Konczyk's riveting watercolor paintings offer surreal, intimate portraits. With the artist's custom framing for each work, each work functions as a gateway to the artist's explorations. The artist’s new show, "Les Fleurs" at Arch Enemy Arts, offers her most recent work and runs through June 28. The artist was last featured on
Brazil native Alvaro Naddeo crafts intricate watercolor paintings that examine the consumption of the Western world through enormous, unlikely constructions. The artist, who has a background in advertising, has a particular knack for depicting discarded branded products. For some, his attention to detail and urban iconography likely recalls the work of Kevin Cyr, whose oil paintings have focused on graffiti-adorned vehicles.
This month, Rob Sato returns to Giant Robot with a new body of work under the title "Arco Iris." These watercolor works tackle the differing significance of rainbows through several lenses. (Sato’s work is part of the upcoming Hi-Fructose Collected 4 box set, here.) The gallery and company says that this new show “marks another radical shift in style for the artist.”
Michelle Avery Konczyk’s painted scenes use elements from the human body and the natural world, with absorbing and unsettling results. The works are often rendered in watercolor on paper mounted to panel for both a delicate, moody sensibility. The artist was last featured on here.
Hi-Fructose co-founder Annie Owens assembles a new body of work in "A Place Worth Knowing," a new show at La Luz De Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles. The title of this collection of watercolor works comes from Algernon Blackwood, a favorite author of the artist: “No place worth knowing yields itself at sight, and those the least inviting on first view may leave the most haunting pictures upon the walls of memory.” In her statement, Owens offers some insight on the figures found across her pieces. The show kicks off Aug. 4 and runs through Aug. 28.
Gosha Levochkin’s fanciful, strange worlds, often rendered in watercolor and gouache, carry an undercurrent of autobiography for the artist. The artist says “these mediums gives me the freedom to work with mistakes. I love the transparent feel that watercolor gives me and I love the opacity that gouache provides, over all making my work look like animation.” He was last featured on as a solo artist here.
The context of the narratives depicted in Tom Herzberg’s paintings isn’t always clear for the viewer. Yet, the humorous and occasionally unsettling watercolor and acrylic works are absorbing and offer the chance to form our own theories about each’s wild characters. Herzberg is a Chicago-based artist and educator whose illustrations for magazines, books, newspapers, and other products number in the thousands.
Esther Sarto, a 24-year-old painter based in Copenhagen, creates gouache and watercolor works that are often as unsettling as they are elegant. Sarto, once known as “Miss Take” as a street artist, often uses bare, entangled humans and plant-life to express her sentiments. ”I am not a very verbal person,” she told WEAART. “There are a lot of issues you can express better without words. Often the meaning lays between the lines.”
We first covered Caitlin Hackett's painstakingly detailed ball-point pen and watercolor paintings in Hi-Fructose Vol. 17, where she told us that her empathy for the natural world is the driving force behind her beautiful, yet morbid subject matter. Surrounded by her nature books and collections of bones in jars, from an early age, she has carried what she describes as "a profound sense of tragedy" for the destruction of nature.
San Francisco based artist Lindsay Stripling usually works in watercolor to create her playful illustrations of dreamscapes dotted with simplistic human characters, animals, and objects. But for her new series, exhibiting this week at Flatcolor Gallery in Seattle, Stripling found herself painting in oils after an 8 year break from the medium. "It's my first real adventure with oils in 8 years and it was fun for sure," Stripling says, "trying to carry my looseness from my watercolors into these oil paintings."
Italian artist Cristiano Menchini relies on a combination of his memory and imagination and observation to recreate nature in his work. Working in acrylic and watercolor or pen on paper, the artist creates highly stylistic interpretations of overgrown vegetation where small animals like birds and beetles make their home. Elements like blades of grass criss-cross into natural, messy patterns appearing almost abstract, set against dark shadows that lift them from the page. They are not quite reality. "I see my work as immersed in a timeless dimension, unreal state, crystallized. There is a detachment from reality in what I represent," he says.
New York based painter Walton Ford, featured here on our blog, is well known for his monumental watercolors of animals. From his tongue-in-cheek depictions of King Kong, to mythical 60 foot serpents, and epic battles between beasts, his works take the visual aesthetic of traditional natural history painting and apply it to an often bizarre and fantastical narrative. Ford recently debuted six new paintings at Paul Kasmin's booth at Frieze New York, an homage to the incredible journey of a black panther.
In 2016, the watercolors of Moira Hahn recall the woodblock prints of Japan’s Edo period, which ended nearly 150 years ago. Even with endearing, anthropomorphic animals in the place of human warriors or villagers, there’s a refined quality to the work that feels centuries-formed. And hidden within these pieces, you’ll often find charming, humorous narratives and modern-day commentary.
Swedish artist Benjamin Björklund lives a simple life in a farm house on Sweden's west coast and his oil and watercolor paintings reflect this life. His work usually portrays the people and animals that surround him, such as his dog, Solomon, and other pets like rabbits, pigs, and mice. He's also inspired by physical or emotional situations that he has experienced throughout his life; before becoming an artist, Björklund had a varied career working as a prison night guard, a psychiatric nurse, and a veterinary technician student. To look at Björklund's paintings feels like looking into a dream.
Melancholic girls find themselves in moments of quiet drama in the works of British artist Craww and San Francisco based (and Hi-Fructose co-founder) Annie Owens. Where Craww's pieces feature heroines with an almost spiritual-like quality, Owens' black and white watercolors and sketches enhance the mystery of her subjects. Both artists will present new works in side by side solo exhibitions opening on October 29th at Antler Gallery in Portland.
Berlin-based artist Anna Lea Hucht creates drawings, watercolors and ceramics with solemn, and sometimes sinister undertones. The works have an aesthetic lightness which betrays their more disquieting subjects. Upon first look, Hucht's domestic scenes are peaceful, tame. However, closer observation reveals individuals forlorn, lost among the trinkets and knickknacks that fill their homes. Hucht's artworks are intriguing for their exacting detail that lends a specific personality and history to the people depicted. For example, Hucht offers clues about a woman seen behind a bookshelf containing a flask and beaded fringe lamp situated between ceramic vases and kitsch figurines.
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.
Moscow based artist Dima Rebus paints subdued watercolors of urban life as envisioned by his subjects. Here, life is occupied by situations that are humorous, but also full of uncertainty and fear. In surreal, slightly unsettling scenes, we find young people sleeping in and forgetting their chores while newer works have more serious implications. Titles such as "Life in my city implies heavy consumption of carbohydrates" also imply the artist's reservations and concerns about environmental issues.
Hi-Fructose's own Annie Owens just released a new limited edition print of her "Yee Naaldlooshi (Skinwalker)" by Pressure Printing. At their blog, Pressure Printing writes, "When we saw Annie’s Skinwalker watercolor on Instagram almost a year ago, we were entranced. And we weren’t alone – when we re-grammed it it garnered more likes than anything we’d posted before, and still has more likes than anything we’ve posted since. Small wonder: the Navajo witch who can transform into any animal she chooses is a being both evil and mysterious, and Annie’s painting embodies that magic."
Oakland based painter Max Kauffman (covered here) seeks to find peace in his soft, loose watercolors that reflect chaos. This journey often leads him to colorful, abstract structures like houses, which he calls his "sanctuaries". In his artist statement, he says, "The world I portray is sometimes yours and mine and sometimes a more magical place – I call it future primitive. It is a potential path or maybe just a way to reconnect with more pure ideas of culture from our past. It is knowing empires crumble, but accepting the growth that emerges in the aftermath." His latest series of paintings for "Beautiful Squalor", now on view at Parlor Gallery in New Jersey, seems to find them in a state of visual disintegration. 
Jeff Soto (HF Vol. 18) celebrated his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles since 2009 on Saturday night with "Nightgardens" at KP Projects/MKG. We recently discussed the exhibition with Soto in our studio visit here, where Soto shared his continued interest in landscapes: "Nightgardens" is an exploration of the magic and mystery in life coupled very loosely with the tradition of landscape painting. For this show I am using the concept of "nighttime" as a symbol of the unknown. I'm working on creating an imaginary world of magic, monsters and daydreams that exists in a different time and place, yet alludes to issues in our chaotic modern world."
Mattias Adolfsson is an artist and illustrator working from his studio in Sigtuna, Sweden, just outside of the capital city of Stockholm. His path to being an illustrator took several turns, beginning with his interest in Mathematics and Architecture in his university days – eventually finding his rhythm as an illustrator after years of work doing 3D animations for the game industry. Infused thoroughly with a wonderful sense of humor and whimsy, Adolfsson’s work is a combination of hand-rendered ink drawings with watercolor accents that he meticulously produces in his sketchbooks. Adolfsson’s latest book, The Second In Line, has garnered the artist the prestigious Most Beautiful Swedish Book award by the Swedish Bonkkonst.
The word "escapism" can have a negative meaning, suggesting that escapists are unhappy and unable to connect with the world around them. It sounds like a surreal concept, but in our every day lives, on social media for example, we find ways to divert from reality.  Daniel Merriam's recent exhibition at AFA Gallery challenges the notion that escapism is fundamentally negative. "It's not a sin, it's not a crime, it's not a disease... You think of escapism as being denial. So a little bit of escapism is considered good - too much is not," he shares. "Now You See Me: The Art of Escapism" is Merriam's reflection on this idea.

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