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 He often borrows sepia-toned photographs that look like vintage images or historical documents, and then adds his own interesting take on each scene.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.
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.