New Zealand based Meredith Marsone is a contemporary artist working in oils. Her subject matter centres around the figure as they move through the myriad of human experiences. Marsone’s work is at once accessible and relatable but leaves the audience wondering the deeper context. She purposefully leaves this up to the mind of the viewer encouraging you to create your own narrative and meaning from the figures in their chaotic and emotive environs.
South Africa based artist Ryan Hewett‘s paintings are notable for their flesh tones, and are thick with florid reds and lead white. He works impulsively, without a preliminary sketch or charcoal, beginning by applying paint directly to the surface and working quickly for fear of the oil drying. The result of this style of working is an abstracted and dynamic portrait with great presence and vitality.
For Hewett the portrait is not about capturing an external likeness of a subject; but rather as a portal to an inner journey of self-exploration. Hewett does not use sitters or models in an effort to produce a realistic depiction. Although photographs constitute his starting point, he relies principally on the free-flowing processes of memory and creative imagination.
Budapest-based French painter Jonathan Ouisse creates beautiful line work pieces on canvas. His work ranges between dystopian and surreal scenes and detailed portraits, blending a straightforward subject with regional iconography and designs. Jonathan found his vocation at a very young age, when he was 5 years old, while flicking through a book of Caravaggio, he felt the impulse of drawing and has not stopped since.
In Ouisse’s oil and acrylic paintings on canvas, he pairs destruction and morbidity with a weird mix of animal and human interaction. None of the paintings offer overt meanings, yet all seem to exist within the same world, adorned in graffiti, living creatures, and chaos.
Alice Tye is a London-based illustrator with a one-of-a-kind style. Her work is at once playful and sophisticated, both approachable and complex. She grew up mostly in Kent, England, but dreaming of the California she saw portrayed in pop culture convinced her that she had been born on the “wrong side of the Atlantic.”
Her fascination for the West Coast grew into her work as an artist and illustrator; it is there in her lithographs of California views and an incredibly detailed four-meter long painting of La Jolla Road, Los Angeles (created through an extensive study of Google Street View). Perhaps unsurprisingly, when she first went to the US on a two-month road trip in 2015, she found it a bit off, struggling to reach a consensus between the West Coast she knew from her imagination and the one she encountered in real life.
Fulvio di Piazza studied at the Urbino Art Academy and makes large oil paintings of fantastical scenes with lush forests, spiraling volcanic smoke, islands in the sky, and vividly colored sun light. His paintings are a prime example of horror vacui, a term for filling an entire surface of an artwork with detail. Amid these, there are frequently large floating heads or animals floating in the center of his canvases, which upon closer inspection are actually composed of delicately and minutely detailed landscapes. Di Piazza has favored a dark palette for his paintings, and the abundance of swirling clouds has led people to interpret his works as pessimistic.
Brooklyn-based artist Jordan Kasey‘s large scale paintings are surreal oil on canvas landscapes and portraits. She grew up in the Chicago area and moved to Baltimore in 2004 to study painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). She graduated in December 2007 and currently works as an Art Handler.
In her strange worlds, her subjects occupy entire compositions and are often distorted by a canvas’ constraints. Although they could seemingly exist anywhere, we see them fused with natural landscape. As often as not their faces and bodies obscure all but the smallest details needed to understand their surroundings or the mundane activities they’re engaged in.
Brooklyn-based artist Kajahl Benes was born and raised in Santa Cruz, CA. In 2008 he received a BFA from San Francisco State University and spent his final year studying at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, Italy. In 2012, he received an MFA from Hunter College in New York City.
His works vacillate between explorations of African femininity in light of contemporary mores, and the influences of the western world on African culture, as a whole. It’s all gorgeously complex, heady stuff mixed into deceptively simple silhouettes and geometric patterns. His technique and use of oils on canvas in his portraiture while he renders subjects – whether real or imagined – in a naturalistic, yet elegantly distorted manner makes them jump off the two dimensional plane, and enter into our own space.
Groningen, Netherlands based artist Joram Roukes‘ energetic canvases have an incredible liveliness that draws us into each surreal world that he constructs. He works in predominantly large scale oil paintings that are reflections of everyday life situations, observed, filtered and reassembled in a collage like way. The resulted paintings pose a fragmented yet cohesive view on today’s society and human behaviour.
Minneapolis-based artist Mathew Zefeldt successfully balances improbable combinations – modern with historical, digital with classical, painterly foregrounds with computer-like backgrounds – all by densely rendering them in traditional painting techniques with oils and acrylics. The figures cohesively exist alongside more modern glitch aesthetics, shifting colors, garish patterns, and computer-like repetition.
“These figures are based around my own ideas of the fictional potential of paint. The entities often appear as illustrations of heaps of paint, objects covered in paint, cross sections of imaginary impasto paintings, classical statue heads that multiply into larger heads, studio detritus, or simply figures that are liquefied into gooey, lumpy, colorful painterly abstraction. Exploring the materiality of paint as well as its capacity for figuration, my paintings self-reflexively reinterpret the history of abstraction as a collection of codes to be referenced and reworked.” Mathew Zefeldt
Bennett Slater is an illustrator, designer and graduate from the BAA interpretive illustration program at Sheridan Institute. Bennett’s work draws inspiration from the relationship the future shares with the past; new from old, life from death.
Utilizing traditional oil methods on wood, Bennett plays with a mixture of traditional flemish and dutch disciplines, with bold geometric forms linked to the contemporary avant-garde school of design. This dichotomy of contrasting artistic disciplines and influences lends itself to the underlying dualities observed in his work.