Marion Bolognesi makes emotive watercolor portraiture that seems to appear out of the nothingness of their stark, white backgrounds. She often uses drips and large blots to echo the transient feelings that make us human. This technique also adds a nice aesthetic to the artist’s work, which has spawned a few biters and copy artists. Bolognesi demonstrates a lot of economy- the artist’s ability to do a lot with a little is commendable. With such fundamental subject matter, it’s probably best to keep things simple anyway. It’s not always easy to capture the deeper elements of life with grace, but she pulls it off. The artist, who also does illustration and design work, lives in NYC.
Italian artist Federico Lombardo’s portraits are washy, delicate, and often straightforward, yet in their best moments they possess qualities that are strange and askew. His subjects look distinctly Angelo Saxon or Scandinavian, light skinned and fair, and are conventionally attractive. Their faces, bare and plain, stare straight at the viewer with the knowing look of being gazed upon, often smiling or glaring in response. He has series of women and men, as well as couples and children made with oil, watercolor and by digital tablet, but by far, his watercolors showcase his best efforts. The way Lombardo applies his paint is mostly very controlled, yet in crucial areas he gives way to the fluid nature of the medium and in effect produces subtle, bizarre deviationsin his otherwise bland looking subjects. In this sense, these instances of surrender are reflective of the work of Marlene Dumas; however, Lombardo’s work is wholly different in that it stays safe in its uncontroversial directive.
In 2002 Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada moved to Barcelona where he began his ‘Identity Series’. Gerada was drawn to the beauty of old surfaces and wanted to blend photo realistic images of anonymous locals to question the controls imposed in public space, and the use and abuse of iconic faces to sell us products and ideas. He decided to apply the same approaches used by advertising, such as strategic positioning and size, but with the intention of creating a poetic counter commentary that fades away with beauty. The Identity Series is about initiating a dialogue with a local community through art. These portraits transformed local, anonymous residents into social icons, giving relevance to an individual’s contribution to the community and touching upon the legacy that each life has to offer.
Gerada chose charcoal for its transparency and ephemeral quality. He involves the visual narrative of the textured wall instead of covering it. These time-based portraits gradually deteriorate. They become a metaphor of the fading of life, of fame and of the things we first thought were so important. The creation of the “Identity Series” is also an act that is environmentally sound and at the mercy of the natural world. The pieces fade away like the warmth after an embrace. The photo realistic drawing is only an aspect of the piece. The importance of the piece is the whole process of creation, destruction and memory. Watch a video of Gerada in action after the jump.
“Future Face” is an illustration project by graphic designer, animator, and videographer Billy Nunez, aka Biz20. Currently, this young talent is pursuing a BFA in Communications Design at Pratt Institute. Take a look at his feedback-loop-inducingly-awesome renderings of sexy cyborg ladies after the jump.
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.
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.
New York-based photographer Alison Brady makes some pretty bizarre photos. Pretty and bizarre. The interesting and different perspective is what catches your eye; instead of a traditional beauty-in-the-person snap, these portraits give the car-accident-look- away urge while simultaneously pushing a strange narrative inside a beautiful anonmity. Take a look after the leap.
I’m usually into very loud and boisturous paintings but there is something extremely rewarding in the quiet and subtle portraits by Shauna Born. Each modestly sized painting features a sitter looking blankly into the viewer. The sitters don’t do much in the paintings but the piercing looks in their eyes warn you of a hurricane of emotions that is to come.