Baltimore based Amy Sherald was born in Columbus, Ga. in 1973. She attended Clark- Atlanta University where she earned a Bachelor’s of the Arts in painting in 1997. Sherald was chosen as Jurors Pick of the New American Paintings Edition 88. Her work was mostly recently acquired by the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Smithsonian Museum of African American Art in Washington, D.C. Through her portraits, Amy Sherald explores the ways people construct and perform their identities in response to political, social, and cultural expectations.
LA-born and bred, Anja Salonen studied fine art at California Institute of the Arts. Salonen’s paintings have a splash of technicolor plasticine world about them. While her oddly-colored figures have often human bodies, more surreal elements can be found in their faces in the form of poster-paint toned noses, eyes and lips. While aware of their historical context, Salonen’s paintings are heavily reliant on a post-analogue visual language, and explore the interaction between body and virtual.
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.
Sydney, Australia based artist Ben Smith’s paintings are an attempt to combine the beautiful and the unsettling, the humorous and the sincere, the banal and the uncanny in order to reflect his experience of life. Recurring themes in his work are doubt, divergence within a personality and the search for comfort and solace. These themes are explored through multi-layered allegory, using various expressive possibilities of paint.
Portland-based artist Josh Keyes received his BFA in 1992 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in 1998 from Yale University School of Art. He has exhibited his work nationally and internationally and has work in private and public collections.
Though often steeped in satire, Josh’s drawings and paintings are also suffused with a sincere admiration of our planet. His altered landscapes reveal both the intricacy of the earth as a system and the complexity of our response to the natural world, while retaining a sense of specificity and intimacy.
San Diego-based Kelsey Brookes has shifted his focus to explosive, kaleidoscopic paintings that fuse his fascinations with microbiomes, Buddhist philosophy, exotic plant life, and human desire. His meticulous compositions include bright colors and repetitive patterns resembling abstract mandalas, psychedelic tessellations, and energetic fields.
“The brain and its product, the mind, are a fascinating subject; I question existence, both philosophically and scientifically, and because of my background, a good place to start my interrogation of life is through the material science of the brain.” Kelsey Brookes
Brookes masterfully melds a deep knowledge of cognitive science and art to create bright, intensely detailed paintings that abstract drug compounds, molecules, atoms and hallucinogenic states to heighten a viewer’s sensory perceptions and reactions. His two main bodies of work — molecules and aesthetic abstractions — are created with a rigorous process of attentiveness. A process of focusing awareness on the paint that is lost from the brush as it is applied to the surface of the canvas, then refocusing attention as the mind wanders away; which provides visual evidence of both an artistic process and meditation in practice.
Zoé Byland was born in Bern, Switzerland in 1975 and currently splits her time between Bern and Vienna, Austria. Her paintings exist within a carefully constructed monochromatic universe; exuding a curious timelessness and imbued with a palpable atmosphere.
Through her protagonists, Byland invites us on a journey into intriguing territory, where past and present collide, providing us with opportunities to explore the relationships that exist between all facets of our cultural experience from high to low, the ways in which we form personal memories and how these serve to alter our expectations and perceptions. The nature of identity is also under scrutiny, as Byland’s characters often appear in disguise, or are partially obscured, inviting us to project ourselves forth, and once again granting us the occasion for valuable introspection and the convergence of philosophical contemplations.