Antonia Gurkovska just graduated from the MFA program at SAIC and already has already landed a solo exhibition in Chicago’s Kavi Gupta Gallery and is exhibiting in the Armory Show. She favors surfaces that are stapled and dripped, sticky, slippery and oozing, emulating dripping orifices; but they somehow remain extremely neat, hygienic, settling in even, grid-like formations. A variety of painting materials are layered thickly, then crudely sliced to reveal further layers beneath, so the paintings appear reductive rather than additive. Her bubble wrap pieces, neither sculpture nor painting, serve to both reiterate her aesthetic of ovular forms and invite a reversal of material reading, where the packaging product sheds its banal connotations and instead becomes a beautiful, bulging, golden grid.
In a recent attempt to find contemporary artists making fresh, black and white imagery, I fortunately stumbled upon Sam Moyer‘s, washed out, subtle abstractions. These images, composed of bleach and ink, are soft and elegant and fair in scale. I want one. Many more after the jump!
Jason John paints extraordinarily detailed scenes of dramatic narratives. These stories touch on the ephemeral side of a serendipitous coincidence – that cold forbidden zone of the wandering brain. More after the jump!
Michelle Morin’s works are beautifully detailed natural scenes depicting flora and fauna. Each of her pieces is full of painted texture, and puts an earthy calm spin on classical animal paintings. As a once professional gardener, she has a unique insight into her subject matter. I think it makes all the difference, don’t you?
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.
Mark Alsweiler has some new work out and it’s just as intriguing as his last. Each piece is eerie, full of color and texture, and references a different time. I love the pilgrim like characters who seem to have wandered into a different dimension. His work shows people doing normal tasks in this disappearing, melting atmosphere. I’m excited to see what’s up next for this talented gent.
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.