Memphis-based Alex Paulus’ paintings reflect the denial of a shitty existence. Paulus has created a crowded installation of grotesque figurative paintings that are unapologetically in your face and ridiculously successful. He combines acrylic, oil and paint marker to create a variety of textures, which also add depth to his works.
A variety of misshapen and jumbled characters inhabit Alex’s canvases, and his figures are depicted trying out VR headsets, swimming with dolphins and windsurfing on a Papa John slice of pizza. Alex’s work is surreal, yet the topical and pop culture references he includes not only add humor but also keeps them grounded in a familiar sort of reality.
Dutch artist Eric Basstein started painting on an early age and at the age of 19 he went to art school. Although he didn’t had the right degree the school decided to take him in by judging his work. After two years he decided to quit school and start focussing on one of his other passions, music.
After 10 years in the music scene he felt that the need to paint again got bigger and bigger. In 2015 Eric decided to switch back to painting and this time with full focus. He took his experience from his musical background with him, and used that for his paintings. The use of multiple layers and all sorts of existing samples to create a new song inspired him. This is how Eric came up with the idea to make collages with samples of old paintings, comic books and fashion magazines. These collages are sketches for his paintings.
Eric’s blend of the historical and modern is sublime. His paintings blends realist figurative work inspired by old masters with abstractions taken from comic books and fashion. His work combines contemporary and classical references to create an astonishingly resonant dialogue with the viewer.
Irving Norman‘s art evolved out of American Expressionism and though he understood and admired what his contemporaries were accomplishing, Irving followed the song of a different muse. He said at one time: “The path I followed chose me, not me it, I was led to painting by experiencing life, it’s contemplation and a desperate need to give it expression. I find spiritual strength in the artists of the remotest past to the immediate present.”
Although influenced by the Social Realists of his time, Norman’s style of figuration was set apart by a predilection for caricature – a realism inflamed by the fantastic rather than the natural. The horror and futility of war as experienced by the artist in Spain certainly equipped him with an apocalyptic vision. Norman was creating meticulously detailed realistic paintings and making use of “cartoon” aesthetics decades before the advent of Photorealism or the current “low-brow” fad.
Queens, NY based Greg Burak (previously featured here) makes figurative paintings. He was born in the Hudson Valley Region of New York in 1986. He received his Associates Degree from the Delaware College of Art and Design in 2005, his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2007, and an MFA in Painting from Indiana University in 2015.
Burak’s strange and unnerving paintings often “set” in the late 1970s or early 1980s (by his use of clothing and interior style), immediately recall coming-of-age movies of that era.
Adrian Cox is a painter living and working in St. Louis, Missouri. Cox attended the University of Georgia for his undergraduate studies, and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors in 2010. He obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington University in Saint Louis in 2012.
It is through his particular passion for figurative painting that the thematic seeds for his current work were sown. Adrian has placed his focus on disrupting the ways we interpret the man-made catagories which we all resort to using when comtemplating the natural world and our place in it. During the analytic process, he started breaking down and blurring the boundaries between humankind and our surrounding environment. By way of this, Cox was inspired to create his Border Creatures and their home, the Borderlands.
“My work forms an ongoing narrative that mythologizes the lives of the Border Creatures, a fictional race of beings that are defined by their shifting and indeterminate edges. These recurring characters exist in a state of perpetual metamorphosis. Through their mutations, they hybridize with mineral deposits, flora, and fauna, allowing an intense physical connection to their environment. These transformations cause them to take on the characteristics of their surroundings; the distinct categories of man and nature are disrupted as the boundaries between these creatures and their wilderness home, the Borderlands, become obscured. This symbiotic relationship blurs the Natural and the Unnatural, concepts that have been central to a traditional understanding of human identity. My paintings are mythic fictions that speak to a contemporary human experience, and suggest that there is no “pure” way to exist in the world. In the Borderlands, qualities that might be seen as grotesque or monstrous are synonymous with beauty. Ultimately, these paintings create an Arcadia for the Other, for creatures with fluid identities, a space where the language of difference breaks down.” Adrian Cox
Jaume Plensa produces monumental sculptures in steel, glass, marble, polyester resin, concrete, and bronze. He is best known for his Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millenium Park, two 50-foot-high glass towers set amidst a pool of water, which play giant video portraits of Chicago residents that periodically purse their lips and spout water into the pool.
Predominantly producing figurative sculpture, Plensa has created larger-than-life-sized heads constructed of fine, stainless-steel wire mesh so that their surrounding environments are visible through the works, and bronze figures cast from his own body.
The paintings and installations of Hendrik Zimmer are influenced by the Internet’s impact on culture at large and its distribution. Belonging to the post-internet art generation and experiencing the changes brought from a long-since digital age and the network ideology, Zimmer develops his paintings concerned particularly with their materiality and their ways of presentation and dissemination in the physical and digital space.
Zimmer’s décollage paintings reconcile figurative elements in form of a photographic image taken from a poster or magazine and the expressionist abstract painted gestures. Most of the times the elements are parts of human figures, faces, hands or other parts of the body and fully integrated in the composition.
Ghent, Belgium based Michaël Borremans juxtaposes -in his figurative drawings and paintings- somber figures, jarring close-ups, and unsettling still lifes that are at once nostalgic, darkly comic, disturbing, and grotesque.
His seductive works contain timeless images of inner drive and external force, of the latent pressure involved in being human. Behind a veil of stylistic perfection, the artist simulates common rituals of interpretation and meaning. His intensely atmospheric images are puzzles involving political and psychological patterns of perceiving the world, which oscillate in a camouflaging, fragile way between inexorable realism and nebulous distance.
Robin F Williams is a painter based in Brooklyn, NY. Her figurative paintings explore pervasive American narratives about childhood, identity and gender. Her figurative work explores closely held American mythologies about gender, privilege, and the American Dream. She uses the fictional nature of the painted image to examine the fictions we tell each other as a culture.