Taiwanese artist Chen-Dao Lee has created a world of violence, vengeance and a lot of semi-naked women. Lee introduces the viewers to a mysterious and erotic body of work, with his pop images reflecting as dark objects of desire on the viewers’ mind. These anime-like, twisted paintings depict a world where men are perverse pigs and women are fighting Amazons.
Lee’s characters are furious and cynic individuals who strive to survive in a world where fighting seems to be the only way of communicating. Expressing their emotions through violent and excessive reactions, the heroes fully embrace every single feeling that passes through their body.
Aaron Johnson has created two distinctive and wildly innovative approaches to painting: his well-known “reverse-painted acrylic polymer-peel” paintings and his sock paintings. The two bodies of work exist in counterpoint; meticulously layered Indian-miniaturesque details in his reverse-paintings starkly juxtapose the swashbuckling brushstrokes created by a clunky impasto of flung socks in his sock paintings.
Uniting his two modes of work is Johnsonʼs inimitable style, a painterly madness flowing forward from his influences of Goya, Peter Saul, Picasso, Ensor, Llyn Foulkes, and the Hairy Who. Johnson’s paintings are a delight of a seductive surface, garish color, and entangled flesh.
“In my paintings, I construct absurdist allegories featuring comic grotesque characters. Technically I believe in an experimental approach to painting that evolves the historical medium into a contemporary adaptation. I have developed two main modes of making paintings: reverse-painted acrylic polymer-peel paintings and sock paintings. The methods involve reverse-painting, meticulously detailed layers, and polymer peel transfer; or the opposite: building up a chunky impasto of old socks. My spectrum of interests ranges from socio-political critique on one end to existential human questions on the other; each individual painting will fall somewhere between those two poles.” Aaron Johnson
Los Angeles based artist Orion Martin is known for his stylized, super-flat style, which re-contextualizes the still life into seductive portraits of consumerism. Often presented in over-the-top, polished plastic frames, Martin’s works combine various limbs and objects, interweaving each object into an elegantly cohesive statement.
Cologne-based artist Melike Kara’s canvases are sketchy and spare, economically painted in one or two colors on bare white background. The characters that populate her enigmatic canvases are regularly put through their paces. While some images seem relatively sedate, others are full of figures performing an array of impressive choreographies featuring gravity-defying somersaults and backflips. The contorted bodies, all long arms and legs, offer a casual articulation of human anatomy: with their outstretched hands and legs akimbo, the figures literally let it all hang loose.
Los Angeles based Todd Schorr is an American artist and one of the most prominent members of the “Lowbrow” art movement or pop surrealism. Combining a cartoon influenced visual vocabulary with a highly polished technical ability, based on the exacting painting methods of the Old Masters, Schorr weaves intricate narratives that are often biting yet humorous in their commentary on the human condition.
Schorr grew up as a child in Oakland, New Jersey. Showing a compulsion for drawing at an early age, his parents enrolled him in Saturday morning art classes when he was five years old. Deeply affected by fantasy movies such as the 1933 film classic “King Kong” and the early animated cartoons of Walt Disney and Max Fleischer, their influence along with comic books such as “Mad” would have a lasting effect on Schorr’s developing visual vocabulary.
Thierry Bruet has painted and sculpted for over 35 years. His grand canvases shaped by a consciously classical slant and executed with traditional oil techniques, are witty, satirical and replete with carefully observed details. One side of him tends towards caricature and the grotesque, the other towards elegance and refinement.
New York based artist Gilbert Williams has been contributing his work to the world since the 1970’s. His work is of fantasy worlds which have a transcendent, visionary touch that keeps the imagination going. Williams’ beautiful, surreal imagery combining Earthly realms with outer space makes for wonderful multidimensional artistry.
Henry Taylor is an American artist and painter who lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Taylor is most well known for his acrylic paintings, mixed media sculptures, and installations. Taylor paints quick, loose portraits of his relatives, friends, celebrities, and athletes on large and small canvases, as well as creating evocative sculptures and assemblages of found materials.
Drawing on the folk art and modernism present in a strain of African American painting that traces back to Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden, Taylor has painted monumental canvases based on WPA photographs of black farm workers.
San Francisco based Michael Page’s work (previously featured here) offers the viewer an optic alternative to the visual reality of life, as we know it. Page introduces narratives of strange, phantasmagoric and frenzy nature. Intense and rich color pallet additionally provides a sense of vivid hallucination or hazy sensation from the depth of unconsciousness.
Regardless of the technique or the approach, it is the narrative which pops up and offers a full insight into his work. The different reality of his is inhibited with unusual creatures or entities. It seems as if these are manifestations, perhaps, of human delusions or just a specter of dreamscapes and alterations fulfilled with dynamic movement.
Born in Santa Barbara, California, Brendan Monroe studied at Art Center in Pasadena. A sculptor and painter, his work consists of explorations of his ideas and dreams, translated into images of a familiar but unseen world. It’s this dual quality and the tension between the reality and surreality that gives them their power and allure.
“I think it’s important to constantly challenge oneself with new ideas and new mediums. My interpretations of the world are mostly rooted in science then executed through painting and sculpting. These are the best ways for me to communicate, but I always enjoy making other things as well.” Brendan Monroe