The Understated Dreaminess of Meghan Howland’s Paintings

The story of Meghan Howland‘s oil paintings are quiet like a secret.  Her work captures understated dreamy scenes.  A confusion of birds, hidden faces, a scarf that may or may not be choking its wearer – her work at once is lighthearted and hints at a darker undercurrent.
Her gallery relates, “Her paintings are often dreamlike, and yet carry a weight of something that is slightly more dissonant. The question of whether something is safe or dangerous, loving or hateful, is often unexplained in her work.”

A snapshot quality to the image, fill flash like lighting, lends the paintings the characteristic of a caught instant.  However, her painterly hand stretches the moment.  While definitely working a contemporary aesthetic, Howland’s paintings are at times reminiscent of Degas’ style and palette.

Melissa Stekbauer

 Girl So Fine• 2007, oil on wood, 10cm x 15cm

Girl So Fine• 2007, oil on wood, 10cm x 15cm

Raunchy, suggestive illustrations with strange pseudo-human characters leave viewers unnerved, but at the same time, engaged in a conversation of questions. What is going on and why?? Melissa Stekbauer‘s works can place the viewer in a vulnerable, almost submissive, state, allowing her characters some authority. Her works present interesting narratives, especially because they are paired with a softer painting technique, which can feel more inviting and friendly than the actual content of the work. Maybe that’s why it’s “seductive”?

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Brian Cooper

Interiority (2007), 35.75 x 47.75

Interiority (2007), 35.75 x 47.75

Artist Brian Cooper‘s paintings explore the idea of landscape and space through abstract representation. His work features surreal situations that appear to explode from their ‘real’ counterparts. Check out the way he uses depth by contrasting the ” tension between flat and far” to create eerie and fantastical environments. I love how, as the viewer, I get sucked into the padded rooms and sharp angles of his creative, dali-esque compositions. The structures and strange shapes become more enticing through Cooper’s use of rich colors. There’s a cool tangible quality to the visual textures of the abstract surfaces, especially in Bulge, posted after the jump.