Sri Lankan-born, Sydney-based artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran creates rough-edged, vibrant, new-age idols that are at once enticing and disquieting. He experiments with form and scale in the context of figurative sculpture to explore politics of sex, the monument, gender and religion. Self-portraits make frequent appearances and the dual presence of male and female organs suggest gender fluid realms of new possibilities.
New York City based Paul Metrinko’s paintings visually explore the people, places and things that surround him. His paintings are equally a living pictorial memoir and an earnest contribution to the storied tradition of figurative painting.
Using his characteristic and vaguely abstract style, Paul morphs the noisy, harsh atmosphere of a sunny seaside resort into a sweet pastel stretch of atmospheric daubs of paint in a way that makes it completely enchanting, transforming this familiar space into a fairytale-like landscape that’s not completely without sinister undertones.
Kenne Grégoire is a Dutch painter with several thematic areas in which he explores different approaches. The most prominent seems to be still life in which he uses a combination of isometric perspective and naturalistic rendering. This is contrasted with other still life subjects in which he takes a more straightforward approach.
There are other repeated themes, such as patterned backgrounds and figurative work that varies from naturalistic to stylized. In all of his work he demonstrates a refined control of texture and color, usually casting his subjects in muted light and emphasizing their textural characteristics.
Tehran-based artist Salman Khoshroo creates large-scale figures and portraits that practically drip from the canvas. Most of these pieces are several feet tall, composed of enormously precise strokes that veer toward abstraction while eventually leading to a cohesive figure.
Working in his studio in Tehran with a large palette knife to spread oil colors directly on the canvas, Khoshroo’s paintings harness figurative abstraction to evince very concise figures of emotional tension. Beginning with portraits of people he knew, his style evolved from one based on realism to one that draws from abstract art, expressionism and fauvism.
His interest in painting the human face is twofold, both as a conduit of human emotions, made all the more pertinent in his home country where women have to cover up the rest of their bodies; as well as an expression of identity and self-presentation in the age of Facebook.
Henrik Aarrestad Uldalen is a self-taught artist whose creative production revolves around classic figurative painting, presented in a contemporary manner. Henrik explores the dark sides of life, nihilism, existentialism, longing and loneliness, juxtaposed with fragile beauty.
The atmosphere in his subject matter is often presented in a dream or limbo-like state, with elements of surrealism. His focus on atmospheres rather than narratives and realism leaves his painting open for many interpretations.
Palma de Mallorca, Spain based artist Andrea Castro paints delicate oil work portraits overlaid by thick, expressive strokes of color. Castro, who originally studied fashion design, works in the overlap between abstract and figurative art, often adding details such as beading or embroidery to her works.
She considers art as another language, another way to express yourself. She’s fascinated by the idea of reaching everybody around the world, whichever the language they may speak, and connect with them through her character’s emotions or stories. She wants the observer to identify with her own artistic idiom and to vent of all those feelings we all have felt overtaking ourselves at some point. To do that she creates internal conversations with the subjects of her paintings, they tell her what they want to transmit as she’s giving them shape.
Breaking down barriers of the different modes in which the body can exist in social spheres and contemporary art, Ivan Alifan explores the modern gaze of ambiguous figurative paintings that are revealed and transformed within the act of the individuals’ views. These portraits are not an attempt to render physical characteristics but rather create a language of underlying sexual subtexts. Using ambiguity as a tool demands the viewer’s exploration of their psyches and provokes self awareness.
Cornwall, England based artist Lisa Wright’s paintings hold us in the present and connect us with the past. The careful balance of both figurative and abstract elements, along with a heightened and often sensual use of color, emphasise the vibrant and contemporary nature of the work.
Fragments of history – ribbons, ruffs, wigs and petticoats – are pieced together with a contemporary sensibility. The resulting figures hover between time periods. They also hover on the brink of adulthood: childish faces with rosy cheeks and rounded bellies at odds with their formal clothing and decorative adornments.
Mike Carr, a.k.a China Mike of Bristol, England, emerged in the 1990s as a “brush for hire” in the music and retail industries, and has since gone on to exhibit in galleries around the globe.
“Process is as important as the end result. I don’t really feel a pressure to create realistically defined images these days. I want there to be a playfulness in my work, to not get bogged down in mechanical routines.”
Old notebooks reveal more than his line work – a versatile mark-maker, his abilities as a draughtsman have returned to the fore in recent years; the photorealistic paintings which had become a trade mark, have given way to more abstracted figurative work.
Michael Reeder (previously featured here) was born in Dallas, Texas in 1982. He graduated with a BFA in painting from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Since then he has pursued a career as an exhibiting fine artist, alongside the work he does as a freelance graphic artist and also his work at Eyecon Studios, a custom mural and design company based in Dallas.
His work is currently focused on portraiture, where he combines different style elements, techniques, and media. In his artworks one can recognize Michael Reeder’s outstanding painting skills, but also his abilities as an graphic artist. He skillfully blends figurative parts with abstract or graphic elements.