Joseph Parra, who received his BFA in Painting this year from MICA, has started his career with a running start. Back in 2008, he worked with famed architect Richard Gehry as part of HBO’s Masterclass, and last year he completed a solo show at Galerie M in Milwaukee, WI. He distorts portraits of absentminded subjects with unorthodox techniques, employing sand paper and collage. Parra’s charcoal drawings, also figurative in nature, are equally of note. His drawings (like his prints) are ghostly. His figures are presented with little distraction, no context or background. This demonstrates a confidence in his image making. He’s showing us exactly what he wants us to see.
Steven Kenny’s portraiture and figure paintings form a vibrant commentary on the nature of balance, sexuality, and that fickle concept: transcendence. Controlling a unique penchant for lighting and surrealism, Kenny has filled a rich portfolio with figures and dynamic echoes that pervade every sense with which we associate being alive.
Bill Sullivan‘s large-scale works; which cover a range of meaty subject matter from lucid portraits of unwitting subjects in the street, to confounding postmodern digital prints on canvas, are both visually appealing and conceptually titillating. Even while navigating such a wide artistic breadth, Sullivan’s work is still pulled under one umbrella; that of the artist’s mind. Sullivan applies a piece of his own subjective vision to all his material, it doesn’t matter what the specific subject matter is. And this is all that can be asked of an artist.
Jose Lerma‘s work borders between 17th century noble portraiture and wild abstractionism. Unlike his college teachings at the University of Wisconsin-Madison he works outside of the box with heavy brush strokes and massive amounts of paint. Which adds another dimension to his work: texture. Lerma also dabbled in political science and law and an MFA in painting, he is an internationally exhibiting artist with shows in Berlin, Korea, New York, Belgium, and Italy, Puerto Rico, and Houston. If you happened to miss the big article we did on Jose in book 2 you can still get a copy and read the massive interview with him. Available here!
This guy’s sweatshirt says it all. The dark, capacious surroundings try to steal the show but his face has such a “just you try” intensity that, despite his size, you know he could for sure kill you with his bare hands. See, Moscow based artist, Olya Ivanova, knows that good portraiture should give the viewer an understanding of what it feels like to be the subject of the image. And it feels pretty serious.
Emily Malan‘s intimate style of photography gives her shots the illusion of being candid. You get the sense that you’ve come to know her subjects without ever meeting them. Her focus is on portraits, but she has her eye on the fashion industry; perhaps one day we’ll see her effortless photographs in fashion spreads in Vogue.
Jennifer Ziliotto is a Los Angeles based photographer (and happens to be a good friend and bandmate of mine!) One of my favorite shots is the David Lynch-ian inspired portrait, above, of Zachary James. I love its flickering, dramatic spot- lighting, its textural qualities; the soft focus, played against the cool, hard steel of the sword, the interplay of velvet on velvet, and its stunning jewel-tone palette – a beauty! Could almost be an out take of a surreal performance from Mulholland Drive or an unexpected hallway in Twin Peak’s black lodge. If her stunning, surreal photography that fuses psychedelia with glamour isn’t enough, she’s also an amazing make-up artist, having worked with the likes of Kat von D and Full Metal Jackie of Indie 103.1 fame.
Andreas Fischer’s “Ghost Town” is currently on view in our lovely city of Chicago. Ghost Town, which is on view at two separate venues, Hyde Park Art Center and The Gahlberg Gallery, shows us two distinct selections of Andreas’s portraiture and imagined landscapes. There is a nice anonymous quality to these locations and figures, with titles like “Original Location” and “Sunday Best”. Plus, the work actually becomes more engaging after you read about it, which in my opinion, is often not the case.