Traces. Mixed Media. 31.5 H x 23.6 W x 0.5 in
There are few places as personal, and as potential a source of embarrassment as a person’s bed. In this Traces, by artist Melinda Matyaswe see an unmade bed, strewn with sheets, blankets, pillows and clothes. Items of indeterminate identification lay on the floor beside the bed. The mattress itself is askew, as if to reinforce the obvious impression that whatever else might be going on in the person’s life whose bed this is, the state of their room is not a priority (and we might wonder why). The artist herself suggests that this piece is a “metaphor of the hidden traces of life issues.” Yet, for many of us, who find that our own bedrooms are the last to receive our attention after all of our other more urgent responsibilities to children, work, and community have been attended to, this scene is only too familiar.
The painting is roughly composed into three radiating regions: two walls, and the bed and floor. One effect this has is to draw our interest to the head of the bed, where a bright blue sheet or blanket or sheet sits. The articles atop the bed are painted as angular regions. The painting as a whole has the pleasing aspect we might find in abstracts.
Terrasse. Oil on Canvas. 31.9 H x 21.3 W x 0.8 in
In Terrasse by painter Annie Puybareau, we see two women seated at an outdoor cafe, conversing, as might be glimpsed from a terrace. The light is bright, but low; long shadows extend along the ground from the furniture. The colors are cool and pleasant. Much of the visual interest in the painting derives from the angle of perspective, and the interplay of light and shadow.
Winter Impression 18. Oil on Linen. 10.6 H x 13 W x 0.4 in
In Marta Zamarska’s pleasing series of paintings, Winter Impressions, we see various snowy winter landscapes, often featuring figures in various outdoor activities: children sledding in the snow, climbers make their way up snowy peaks, cross country skiers treading along a path. In these, the figures are painted as the merest impressions, as if seen some distance off through a haze of wind blown snow. The features of the landscape, captured as soft variations in color and shadow.
Winter Impression 19. Oil on Linen. 39.4 H x 47.2 W x 1 in
In others, any figures that might have been present, are lost from view in their entirety. For example in Winter Impression 20, a burst of sunlight is scattered in an airborne cloud of snow, an unlooked for hazy explosion of warm red and yellow. It is as if, the view were too dazzling to see clearly.
Winter Impression 15. Oil on Linen. 10.6 H x 13 W x 0.8 in
Winter Impression 20. Oil on Linen. 19.7 H x 23.6 W x 0.4 in
Nude in Ball on Floor. Oil on Wood. 14 H x 14 W x 1 in
The art of Ingrid Capozzoli Flinn focuses on the female form in nude, usually posed in subdued interior spaces. Unlike many paintings of women in the nude, the chosen poses, while often innovative, seem deliberately neutral; the artist is exploring the female form through color and light, but the intent seems neither to entice nor to repel; instead, it is an invitation to observe. In this respect, her work is refreshing.
In these two works, the model faces away from the painter. In one case, the figure is on the floor huddled in a ball, the arch of her back brightly lit by the studio lamps. In the other, the model sits in a butterfly pose on a stool. In contrast to many of her other works, these paintings utilize richer, earthier color tones, both in the depiction of the model, but in the depiction of the interior spaces.
Nude in Butterfly Pose. Oil on Canvas. 10 H x 10 W x 1 in
Milky Way II. Acrylic and Oil on Canvas. 47.2 H x 31.5 W x 0.8 in
In these two dramatic works by artist Grażyna Smalej, the Milky Way, the galaxy of stars of which our own solar system is part, is shown as a colorful plume extending up from the horizon to tower overhead, resembling a roiling forest conflagration. The artist uses the the vertically oriented canvas to give the night sky, and the arch of the Milky Way, its towering aspect, while her use of color enhances the contrast between the the darkness of empty space with the luminous galactic cloud.
Milky Way I. Acrylic and Oil on Canvas. 47.2 H x 31.5 W x 0.8 in
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.