Doug Bloodworth’s photo realistic oil paintings transport us to another slower, calmer, and less anxious time. Whether it’s a still life depiction of the Sunday Funnies sprinkled with candies or a road atlas paired with matches and a roll of mints, we can’t help but feel nostalgic for our own quiet tactile interludes and luxuries minus the iPhone or Blackberry.
Teodora Axente is associated with the Cluj School, a group of Romanian artists making work after the 1989 Revolution, which ended Nicolae Ceausescu’s communist regime.
There is a dark sense of carousing in her work which examines the question of boredom in a secular world. Left to his or her own devices, Axente’s adult figures conjure up spirits or flights of whimsy in seemingly childlike ways, often seeking solace in shiny and tactile objects such as tinfoil, plastic wrap, or furs. However, translated to a non-secular world, each stroke Axente makes seem satirical or political, consciously examining religion or capitalism.
According to the artist, this dichotomy is the exact intention: “One of my concepts is to transform a real fact into a game . . . It is all about play from my perspective, the playfulness is more than a world of novelty in which everything happens and is reconstituted because of the freedom to act, to think.”
Artist Jeremy Geddes paints with considerable skill. His highly detailed oil paintings depict surreal, often lonely scenes. Many of his panels picture a lone astronaut in an empty urban landscape. Its unclear whether his subjects are falling or floating, in trouble or asleep. Geddes communicates the haunting silence of each scene as effectively as textures and light. He clearly has an ease of technique and personal aesthetic.
Toronto artist Matt Bahen creates thick oil paintings of desolate scenery and, often, dogs. Tweaked just right, the lighting in Bahen’s work almost renders itself the subject in each respective canvas, creating a sense that the elements most “alive” in his world are not, in fact, animate. Scavenging dogs and dying foliage or crops are often the only living organisms depicted in Bahen’s most recent work. And though a veritable source of action, these elements often serve more as secondary, blended, narrative connections than primary statements. In keeping with the aesthetics of B/D, this body of work presents a perfect opportunity to draw as much life from the dead as from the living. Bahen is currently showing at LE Gallery in Toronto in a solo exhibition entitled “After Wolves.” If you’re up that way, do not miss out.
Guy Denning of Bristol, UK has been putting out emotive, figurative paintings for almost two decades. He works mostly in oil, perhaps the perfect medium for working with the human figure due to its unique luminous qualities, and he takes the guesswork out of using art as a mirror for the human condition by directly rendering our anguish and strife in muted, stylized tones. He also maintains a pretty awesome daily drawing blog.
Christophe Avella-Bagur hails from France and his almost unsettling oil paintings of clowns caught our attention. But who doesn’t love naked zombie clowns?
Artist Gary Brewer combines the visual language of old school science illustrations (like the kind you’d find in a textbook from the 70s) with some extra imagination to create these otherworldly floating collections of plants, rocks, and other organic matter.