Giraffe. Acrylic and Oil on Canvas. 59.1 H x 43.3 W x 0.8 in
Although artist Grażyna Smalej’s work can be described as figurative, typically, the figures in her work are small, and situated in environments of overwhelming presence, painted boldly in a profusion of color. Such is the case in this painting Giraffe. Here, we see a person and giraffe standing opposite each other across a fence, the giraffe’s long neck stretching over toward the person. In the distance, we see a field of grass and a stand of dark green trees beyond them, and above it all, a vibrantly blue blue sky, which stretches high above them all.
Indeed, we are used to thinking of just how tall giraffe’s are; their height, and their extraordinary long necks, are, in our eyes, their defining features, and yet here, the artist playfully downplays that feature, drawing our interest instead to the wide expanse of sky that looms over head.
Family Portrait. Oil and Spray Paint on Canvas. 21.6 H x 17.7 W x 0.8 in
Laslo Sergiu is a Romanian artist fond of interspersing his largely grey-scale paintings with bursts of vivid neon color. In Family Portrait, the artist paints in monochrome an image of a parent hugging a child, behind rainbow-colored bands reminiscent of blinds on a window. Interestingly, while the features of the child’s face are seen, the parent’s face has been smoothed flat into featureless gray. Instead, it is the parent’s grasping hands which are most prominent. The effect is somewhat ominous, however the child’s expression, and the bright colors of the stripes, seem to allay any suspicion of a darker subtext.
Untitled. Acrylic on Canvas. 36 H x 30 W x 0.8 in
A woman wearing a bright red shirt, sits, her legs tucked and crossed beneath her in this figurative abstract painting by Iranian Canadian painter Majid Eskandari. The details of the woman’s face has been replaced by non-representational overlapping strokes of vibrant color. The intense red color of her shirt, and the tone of her flesh is set against a sedate and more uniformly painted background: a light blue wall, and grey floor.
By obscuring the woman’s face, the artist frustrates our natural tendency to read the face to inform our interpretation of the mood of a figurative painting (a technique that seems quite popular among a number of contemporary artists, Hanna Ilczyszyn to take just one example). Instead, we rely on the cheerful colors, and the apparent youth and beauty of the figure’s form.
Herring. Acrylic on Canvas. 16 H x 16 W x 1.3 in
In this still life painting by figurative painter Paulina Swietliczko, herring are painted laying flat on a surface, perhaps a piece of butcher paper on a table, in an appealing jumble; one fish lies in a direction unlike the other.. The fish are painted in blue, purple, and black, with a painterly emphasis on their color and texture.
Moonlit 1. Acrylic on Canvas. 12 H x 12 W x 1.5 in
Moonlit 2. Acrylic on Canvas. 12 H x 12 W x 1.5 in.
Moonlit 3. Acrylic on Canvas. 12 H x 12 W x 1.5 in.
In this series of three paintings by artist Jae Schalekamp, moonlit scenes of a city street have been painted, perhaps out of the artist’s own window. A fog-like grey pervades the paintings so that nothing is seen with clear definition, though one sees that there are buildings with lit windows across an empty street. In two of the paintings, a tree branch or trunk painted in black is in the foreground, not only emphasizing that it is night time, but also giving these a dynamism that is perhaps missing from the third painting in the series.
Dame lo. Oil on Canvas. 78.7 H x 82.7 W x 0.8 in
Diana Roig paints richly textured gestural paintings. In Dame lo, the artist has created a piece that has all the colorful complexity of marbled clay, but the grittiness of a cross-sectional slide of scar tissue. The artist says that some people say that it feels like a landscape, and that others say it reminds them of water lilies.
In these three pieces by Polish painter Anna Orbaczewska we see a woman in a bathing suit walking or standing looking down, as if she has lost something and is searching for it.
In each of these pieces, only a part of the canvas has had color applied to it, so that we see the woman, and just a hints of her surroundings: some greenery, water, and mud or sand, painted in dark greens, blacks, and browns. The effect is to brighten the canvas over all, while emphasizing the figure and her pose. We are left to wonder what the figure is doing.
Untitled. Oil on Canvas. 39.4 H x 27.6 W x 0.8 in
Untitled. Oil on Canvas. 47.2 H x 31.5 W x 1.2 in
Untitled. Oil on Canvas. 47.2 H x 31.5 W x 0.8 in
Portrait #20. Acrylic on Paper. 31.9 H x 20.9 W
In this painterly portrait by British artist Khalid Khan, a man’s face is portrayed in rich earthy colors, painted in sharp jabs and curves. Only portions of the face are fully captured, the rest is left for the mind to fill in. This portrait is part of a series, similarly executed; some of random individuals, but many are of people the artist knows.
Sink Full of Dishes. Oil on Wood. 46.5 H x 33 W x 1.8 in
In Sink Full of Dishes, artist Emma Copley paints in bright, cheerful colors, a garden, and behind it, a pleasant landscape of golden hills and tall grasses, as seen through a kitchen sink’s window. The view is from the artist’s summer home, and is the view the artist would have seen when standing washing up after a meal. The sink area, painted in blues and blacks, is full of dirty dishes, haphazardly stacked and waiting to be washed. The dirty kitchen taunts us with its routine drudgery, while we long for the freedom and pleasure of the bright garden.
It is tempting to read the presence of the dirty dishes as a conscious act of defiance by the artist against the cultural imposition of norms of feminine tidiness, but the tyranny of domestic chores over those who work from home: not only is the artist’s kitchen being presented to us in a state of disorderliness, but the artist has prioritized the painting of this picture over washing up.
SAT NAV. Oil on Wood. 15 H x 11.4 W x 0.5 in
In SAT NAV, the artist again shows us a part of the world as seen through a window, this time through the windshield of a vehicle. In the foreground is the dashboard of a motor vehicle, the steering wheel on the right-hand side in the British fashion. Through the window we see what might be an old windmill. The view through the window is awkwardly constrained by the vehicle. One wants to sit up and look over the dash, but one cannot.
Beach Day. Oil on Wood. 19.5 H x 31.5 W x 1.5 in
In Beach Day by British artist Emma Copley, a multitude of people occupy a distant sandy ocean-side beach. A bluff is seen in the distance, upon which are several cheerful white houses with blue windows. In the foreground is a small rambling fence. The sea is painted in a myriad of blues, pinks and yellows, while the beach sand is predominately yellow and orange. The scene is lively and fun, but distant. This distance, coupled with the thickly applied paint and vibrant color, encourages us to focus on larger patterns of how people group together and use space, rather than their individual activities. A socially oriented landscape.