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.
Jana Brike was born in Riga, Latvia, a small country in the North-East of Europe, which was at that time under Soviet occupation. She studied academical painting in the Art Academy of Latvia and received M.A. degree in year 2005. Brike has exhibited her work internationally in professional venues since 1996 while beeing still a young teenager, and has had 11 solo exhibitions and nearly 100 other projects and group exhibitions all over the world.
Her main interest is visual art with a strong narrative and depiction of a figure, mostly using the traditional medium of oil painting on canvas, but also drawing, animation, mixed media sculpture, installation and digital art.
London-based Rebecca Chitticks is a contemporary figurative artist working in oil on canvas. Her work is informed by the creeping influence of the digital realm. Rebecca wants to incite emotion through her art and she insists on painting primarily male subjects.
Ukranian artist and designer Alexey Kondakov merges figures from classical oil paintings with photographic scenes of modern Naples. The figures effortless merge with their present day surroundings, two women looking perfectly bored flipping through comic books in the back of a dusty book store, while a different woman takes a nap beside a latte and half-eaten sandwich. See more amusing juxtapositions from “Art History in Contemporary Life” here.
The paintings of Irish artist Genieve Figgis are possessed of a wicked, unmistakably Irish sense of humor. They ironize our attitudes to conspicuous wealth, land ownership, and social hierarchies by reimagining canonical paintings—commissioned to preserve the glory of their subjects—as nightmarish scenes, suggestive almost of depravity.
Her scenes depicting bourgeois homes, traditional portraits, or landscapes are often haunted by spectral figures and leering creatures with canes and top hats. A sense of the charmingly macabre emerges from Figgis’ combination of an apparent pictorial banality with dreamlike qualities.
Los Angeles based artist Chyrum Lambert uses ink, dye, stain, acrylic, wax, epoxy, and oil to create the pieces of his artwork, which he cuts up and layers into these fantastic pieces. Some of the artwork is more abstract while others have a semblance of figures or plant-life, familiar shapes slowly appearing.
North Haven, Connecticut based Maurice Sapiro is an artist that grew up in America from Highlands, New Jersey. You get a great sense of fluidity to the dreamy presentation of Maurice’s work, evident in his technique ranging from his oil paintings, to sculptures, to his basic hand drawn sketches.
Some of his most dream-like works comes from his “Pour Paintings”, where he uses a technique of “Viscosity Printing”, a technique developed by the late Stanley William Hayter, which uses oil paints of different viscosities which repel each other, rather than blending together.
San Francisco based Sandra Yagi, whose art examines the human psyche, is influenced by nature and science, all done with classical aesthetics.
Contemporary culture, human folly and an obsessive curiosity for the macabre provide the fuel for Yagi’s subject matter. Her work is inspired by the natural sciences as well as by the classical drawing techniques of the old masters, including anatomical studies by artists such as Andreas Vesalius and Bernhard Siegfried Albinus. Yagi’s recent paintings incorporate anatomical imagery to explore the human psychological condition, such as cutaway skulls portraying our basic human drives and the thin veneer of humanity overlaying our animal nature.
There’s something so iconic yet surreal about the works of Granada, Spain based Paco Pomet. With a fierce sense of humor, his oil paintings take on an unexpected twist in the narrative. He often borrows sepia-toned photographs that look like vintage images or historical documents, and then adds his own interesting take on each scene. With an overall monochrome effect, including bursts of unexpected, bright colors, his art is original, quirky and always created with an underlying wit.