Time for an artist whose work is a bit less straighforward it its representational qualities. Antony Micallef has become incredibly trendy lately. His paintings play with pop culture and distort, juxtapose and subvert images from the commercial, religious and media arenas.
The resulting compositions are dark, unnerving and grotesque, yet also very witty and remarkable in their execution. They have the same bitter sense of humour as much of Banksy’s work, and perhaps this is why he has become so popular.
In his own words (according to wikipedia that is)… “The trouble with pop imagery is that it doesn’t really go deeper than the surface, you have to drag it down and challenge it to make it interesting. When you put two contrasting images together it causes friction and that is the bit I’m interested in”
Wordless Wednesday: Jeffrey T. Larson
I realise I tend to post artists whose work has a figurative emphasis, and have perhaps left slightly neglected the rich area of landscape painting. There are a number of landscape painters whose work I find inspirational, and make me want to get out there with my little easel. David Sawyer is one of these.
I tend to have an inherent distrust of painters whose subject matter is likely to appeal to the tourist eye, since you can sell any old rubbish to tourists wanting some kind of souvenir. The beauty of many tourist destinations means that a huge number of painters simply rely on the great subject matter to give their work interest. Sawyer is not like this however. His eye for evocative compositions and fantastic colour give his images of familar subjects a different angle.
Most of his paintings are of Venice, though he also appears to have worked in Istanbul and London a great deal. The appeal of venice is understandable, following in the footsteps of Canaletto (who, let us not forget, painted almost exclusively for British tourists), Whistler (whose etchings gave a new direction of depictions of Venice, with an emphasis on the rather special light of the Queen of the Adriatic), Sargent and countless others.
Wordless Wednesday: Rupert Alexander
San Francisco painter Kim Cogan’s representations of urban development have become pretty trendy. While the smears, drips and washes of paint have a sort of aesthetic, albeit rather limited and mannered appeal, his work has more to it than simple paint manipulation.
His paintings have a very similar atmosphere to the work of Edward Hopper, in showing the isolation of city living. Where Hopper would often have one or two soulless looking figures, Cogan has removed figures from his work. The sense of anomie that is the result of this strange urban life is ever present.
Kim Cogan’s blog
Wordless Wednesday: Amnon David Ar
Ann Gales paintings of fragmented figures, painted in muted tones are strangely compelling. The subjects emerge from a storm of little splodges and short brushstrokes, almost by accident. Every edge is broken and indistinct, yet the form of the figure is still forcefully present.
The brushwork feels like each stroke is an independent observation, seperate to those around it, of a little area of the space in the painter’s view. These little observations come together eventually and you observe the emergence of a general whole which is made from the particular. It is this sensation that makes the viewer of these paintings very aware of the artist’s gaze and the power over the model through this gaze. She is said to be influenced by Giacometti, Lucian Freud and Antonio López Garcia.
You have probably seen David Downton’s work endlessly without perhaps stopping to consider it fully. He is a remarkable illustrator, primarily for the fashion world, working on catalogues, advertising campaignes, mangazine articles…etc
Artists with an emphasis on line tend to be of less interest to me, just for fairly arbitrary reasons of taste, but Downton’s line is captivating. Elegence, grace and liveliness keep the eye entertained, making his work a natural choice to promote fashion.
What is so remarkable in his work is how effortlessly he captures exactly what is needed to give a likeness or sense of a fashion item, with such economy of brushwork. This, combined with a tremendous sense of design, makes his work every bit as interesting as work that calls itself ‘fine art’ rather than illustration.
David Downton’s Website
David Cobley is one of a number of painters who have made a successful transition from the world of illustration to that of fine art (that is to day, selling work in galleries, rather than painting commissions for print). This background in illustration has given him a rather extraordinary ability to shape-shift into any kind of painter. Style is to him, something that is taken on for the individual purposes of each piece.
Self portraits are often an area in which an artist can explore different ways of working, while demonstrating to prospective clients one’s ability to paint a solid portrait. Cobley’s self portraits, and paintings of himself in the studio, are perhaps the most interesting of his work, simply for the incredible breadth of styles Cobley has experimented with over the years. One thing that unites his work though, is a very intelligent approach to colour relationships, to give an energy and psychology to each painting.
David Cobley’s website
Duane Keiser can probably be credited with starting, or at least being the catalyst for the massive number of painters who paint something small everyday and post the results on a blog. This ‘painting a day’ phenomenon has worked very well from a business point of view for Keiser. In fact, it has worked a great deal better than for most others. I guess this is due to the fact that it doesn’t come across as contrived, but a very genuine diligent study of what is around him.
These little paintings, mostly still life, are little gems of observational painting, completed to varying levels of finish. They show what I love most in contemporary art, which is a contemporary vision, executed with respect to the lessons found in great masters. His compositions and subject matter are very definitely modern, having the feel of something Keiser has chanced upon while wondering what to paint, rather than something set up to be studied.
This quality of the chance set up, gives them an interesting quality. Though not depicting movement of ethereal objects, one is aware that what is captured is something that was not there for long. They are snapshots of what is in Keiser’s field of vision.
Duane Keiser’s website
Keiser’s ‘Painting a Day’ blog