Stephane Villafane paints pleasing abstract landscapes. For the last several years, his pieces have been titled simply by the date on which they were composed, a habit of refreshing frankness and good sense for art in this genre.
27.03.2017. Acrylic and Spray Paint on Canvas. 13.8 H x 9.4 W x 0.2 in
In these two, quite recent, pieces, there is little sense of it being any sort of landscape (as indeed they may not be). However, the colors: green, brown, blue, overlaying each other in broad strokes of paint over the canvas, present pleasing and earthy textures that while decorative, are neither gaudy nor pretentious; one can admire them as one might admire the grain of a wooden beam.
28.03.2017. Acrylic and Spray Paint on Canvas. 13.8 H x 9.4 W x 0.2 in
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.
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.
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.
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.