Brian Willmont (who we featured in Book 3) recently added a new selection of works to his portfolio. His wacky wild west cast of cacti include Clint Eastwood style brambly bandoleers and prickly pistol-iers. The spook of the frontier’s ghost towns, outlaws and mining carts are infused with Brian’s unique sense of humor. I mean really, what’s better than a desert plant sporting oversized cowboy hats and shades?
Stemming from a desire to challenge the conventions of traditional portraiture, Bryan Drury has carefully selected affluent members of society to sit for him, and rather than acquiescing to expectations of flattery, he exploits the power of oil paint to describe their corporeal flaws as precisely as possible. Finding liberation in this reversal of patronage roles, Drury focuses on the organic quality of the flesh and shows the animalistic side of humans that we so commonly attempt to conceal. The works feature a single subject, executed with a painstaking degree of realism. The small-scale portraits capture the condescending and supercilious attitudes of the sitters, who gaze at the viewer with an air of disdain. Set against solid backgrounds, the sitters seem separated from the outside world, and their lifeless artificiality imbues the works with a sense of isolation. In an attempt to expose their vanity and the disconnect that exists between the corporeality of the body and the abstraction of identity, Drury meticulously renders facial details, paying special attention to imperfections and blemishes. His skillful use of light and shadow in portraits highlights the contours of the sitters’ faces, while the subtle glossy backgrounds further accentuate the tactile nature of the skin and hair.
Artist Henrik Aarrestad Uldalen combines something that we’ve seen many, many times throughout the history of art – figure painting. But, he does it with a contemporary approach. His moody paintings feature partially obscured people as they rest beneath the water. They are just below the surface of the dark, deep pool, and the light from their bodies is all that’s visible.
According to Uldalen’s artist statement, his work, “…explores the dark sides of life, nihilism, existentialism, longing and loneliness, juxtaposed with fragile beauty. The atmosphere in his subject matter is often presented in a dream or limbo-like state, with elements of surrealism.” Although these figures are rendered realistically, they rest in a void with little additional visual information. We can’t be sure of where they are or what brought them there. And, for some, if they are dead or alive. It’s this open-ended narrative that gives drama to Uldalen’s paintings, and the hauntingly gorgeous images are the kind that will stay with you – even if you don’t want them to. (Via I Need a Guide)
“In terms of the logical process involved in making sculpture, which gets its whole shape via the integration of parts, my work, in its piling up of variously colored acrylic boards and shaping them, is made via the orthodox method. However, the stripes of the surface created by such a process deform and delude viewers’ visions when they try to see the shape of the work. Probably no one can perceive the exact form of the sculpture. So here, you can see the contradictory relationship: the consequence of the basic process of making sculpture destroys the viewers’ visions.
In addition, each acrylic board is really well made. It can be likened to a ‘mass of color’ that might confuse the concepts of color and shape. The colors of these stripes on the surface are supported by a dense and solid materiality, in other words, by the very concept of the sculptural.” – Kyotaro Hakamata, from Volta NY
Juliana Paciulli’s photographs give you a part of the story and have you fill in the blanks.
Brooklyn based painter Alexandra Rubinstein‘s paintings of women in orgasmic moments are beautiful, sensuous and a little bit kitsch. Reminiscent of some over-the-top romance novel illustrations, her paintings are full of women with blue eyeshadow, novel earrings and big hair – kissing, moaning, or caught in the moment of climax. Even though they are a little bit 80s, her paintings focus on an important, modern day feminist issue – the women’s perspective during the act of sex. The series Looking for Mr Goodsex is a series of small sexy vignettes inspired by vintage porn films, in particular the well known ‘Deep Throat’ movie.
The artist explains more about her work:
Inspired by the title of the 1985 movie, they highlight the shots taken of women’s faces – which are less emphasized in contemporary videos. This disparity questions progression in sexuality and value placed on female pleasure as pornography became more accessible and mainstream. The portraits also explore the emotional states of the women in these films. (Source)
While they seem at first to be quite superficial, cheesy and perverse, Rubinstein’s paintings are a celebration of coitus. She has managed to capture moments of tenderness and enjoyment, even though the source from which they come from is something that usually isn’t so sentimental.
While the styling and acting portray a romanticized version of reality, the faces suggest more honest emotions like vulnerability and withdrawal – left up for interpretation of the viewer. The series evolved into stills of male faces, as well as kissing stills. (Source)
Beautiful/Decay is excited to bring you our exclusive artist feature in partnership with Made With Color, the premiere platform for artist websites. Each week we join forces to bring you some of the most exciting creatives working today who use Made With Color to create their clean and sleek sites. All Made With Color sites not only work beautifully on your computer but also come optimized for mobile and tablet users making sure that your portfolio looks professional no matter how you view it. For this weeks artist spotlight we bring you the paintings of Julia Schwartz.
Julia Schwartz’s paintings are inspired by anything and everything around her. Flooded studios, homes in various cities, disappearing icebergs, california light and relationships all are put through her (mostly) abstract painting process to create work that is intuitive and contemplative all at once. Our favorite pieces in her “State Of Being” series has to be the brutally honest text based paintings that display messages of catharsis and artistic despair.
On her website Schwartz states the following about her painting process:
I have something like a virtual rolodex in my mind which contains not names and numbers, but years of study, reading, looking, shadows, dreams, art, and world events. Like a receptacle of experiences, my unconscious unfurls into a painting in the same way described by chaos theory, with one small seemingly unrelated movement having an impact on the piece as a whole.
In photographer Susan Dobson’s series Sense of an Ending, she taps into our fascination of abandoned buildings. We ask ourselves, what happened to these places? Why is no one there, and how did they come to be in such disrepair? The once majestic-looking structures now sit among ruins and overgrown vegetation, and these haunting images remind us that everything built will eventually turn to dust. Dobson often frames her compositions so the homes look tiny when compared to a large, ominous-looking sky.
The photographer’s intention was that these works were timeless. They could point to a post apocalyptic future or relics of the past. In a short statement about her work, Dobson explains:
I am interested in how photographs have the ability to sit outside of any definitive time period, and to feel dislocated in time. It allows for associations to be made with a range of historical periods. For me, the series evokes images I have in my mind of the ruins from WWII that were still evident in Germany when I lived there as a child. (Via Flavorpill)