Dutch photographer Teun Hock’s photographs are clever, eye-catching, and surreal. Consistently using himself to convey a peculiar character, he depicts a middle-aged man who is perpetually trapped in self-depreciating and humorous situations. He is stuck in the middle of an ice floe while his bag, hat, and umbrella are carried away on separate pieces; he hangs from a swinging chandelier; he is blindfolded and wearing a birthday hat while walking on the moon, and using a ladder to measure the night sky.
His process is very labor intensive and his work extends far beyond the traditional boundaries of photography. As explained by the artist:
“…There’s a big backdrop that I paint or build, or whatever’s needed, and I stand in the middle of that. Then I take a picture of myself in black and white and enlarge it. I do it myself in the darkroom with a little bit of help. Then I tone the picture sepia. And later I add oil paint. I color everything, but it’s transparent, so that you can see the picture underneath.”
In addition to his work in photography, he was commissioned to design and paint stained glass windows for the Grote Kerk of Dorecht, a medieval church located in the Netherlands.
Lily Morris is an emerging artist based out of Brooklyn, NY. Detailed and yet distorted, her paintings depict foggy but seemingly familiar scenes that require squinting eyes and conjure a feeling akin to driving somewhere remote in the pouring rain. Her style fluctuates between washy layers of oil and solid photographic realism. Subjects and objects are caught exploding, describing the very instant an action occurs- the horrifying moment before perception intervenes and untangles what just happened. Morris’s paintings recount these inexplicable, fleeting moments of confusion and lay them out in raw and compelling fashion.
Dylan Rabe is a fellow artist and friend and colleague of mine. His illustrative works contain all things one could hope to see in a painting. Executed with bold colors and painstaking attention to detail, they fuse together theatrical narratives with assemblages of eccentric subjects, symbolic props, aged furniture, and elaborate décor; he successfully fits all such things into a single painting, typically creating medium to large-scale works. Dylan derives influence from a variety of sources such as 1950’s pulp art, soap operas, science fiction and romance novels. His work is enigmatic and enchanting, and I hope to see Dylan’s work gain further recognition in the future.
Christian Rex Van Minnen’s remarkable paintings showcase a mastery of traditional oil painting techniques that are paired wildly with a fascination for historical painting, witty humor, and a strong inclination towards the grotesque.
His still lives pay homage to Dutch vanitas painting yet, even using modes of traditional depiction, they expand to encompass modern sensibilities through the addition of present-day objects and graphic symbols; rainbows, uncanny mushrooms, Cretaceous plant life and hearts and stars accompany decaying flowers, rotted fruit, and scenic lands far away.
His portraits reference the unconventional Mannerist painter Guiseppe Arcimboldo, as well as contemporaries such as Glen Brown and Ivan Albright. Like his still lives, Christian’s portraits are conventional in composition and style, yet his subject’s faces are unrecognizable, malformed and undefinable. They are constructed from a cluster of earthly refuse; human and animal skin, organs and entrails, fruit, insect parts, fur, and textiles come together to emanate feelings of unease, horror, and wonder through intricate, realistic depiction.
Holly Coulis’s still lives and portraits all share an idiosyncratic relationship between background and subject; with their hodgepodge of complex patterns and vibrant color, her paintings combine a witty sense of humor with a deep regard for craft. On top of bright layers of complimentary orange, she arranges people from old photographs, animals, and plants in a flat style reminiscent of Alex Katz. Coulis brings a modern sensibility to traditional modes of representational painting.
The subjects of Ridley Howard’s paintings dwell within a dreamy, still world that seems frozen in time. His figures are executed in simple but believable form; rounded at the edges and in soft focus, they are flawless characters suggestive of stylized CGI on the precipice of the uncanny valley. The scale of his paintings range dramatically, but regardless of size, his work feels intimate and yet enveloping. Abstract nooks of color takes form in between background corners – a crevice painted powder blue behind a man’s neck, a patch of yellow between two lover’s embracing. These details might initially go unnoticed, but the mood they provoke resounds.
Hailing from the Edinburgh College of Art, Sarah Muirhead’s portraits of eccentric strangers conjure an immediate feeling of intimacy. With poignant insight towards her subjects, she offers a sympathetic narrative of their lives by meshing together scraps of the subject’s environment and superficial appearance; these carefully selected details are window dressing compared to the clarity of soul that is depicted. A beer bottle, patch of leopard fabric, facial wrinkles around the eyes, brick with graffiti, a strip of red fence, bodies covered with tattoos – each have their place within the individual’s story. The subject’s gaze is often to the side and aloof; however, this does not prevent the viewer from being captivated. Beautifully painted in acrylic on canvas and board, Sarah’s paintings are compelling representations of passersby easily forgotten in everyday life.