Tag Archives: figurative art

Without Guile: Catriona Miller

15 Nov

There is so much cynicism to be had in this world, that sweetness and innocence seem to get lost in the shuffle.  What drew me to the work of Scottish artist Catriona Miller is its charming purity.

Brighton Belle

Her figures gaze coyly to the side, just a hint of a smile on their lips.  It’s as if they carry a delicious secret they cannot tell.

Daisy Daisy

Small World

River Man

Isn’t it interesting how we might often feel sorry for “simple” folks,  yet how much more happy might they be than we?

Jack Jarrett

To see more of Catriona Miller’s work, please visit her website.

All images are via the artist’s website.

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Artsy on Escape Into Life: Sarah Johanna Eick

13 Nov

While most of the time I’m drawn to saturated “happy” color, occasionally my soul calls out for a little moody darkness.  So when I laid my eyes upon the work of photographer Sarah Johanna Eick at The Red Arrow Gallery here in Joshua Tree, the quiet power in the work took hold of me and I just had to feature her in my Artist Watch over on Escape Into Life today ( see the EIL post here ).

From The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing series by Sarah Johanna Eick

Sarah Johanna Eick on Escape Into Life

PS- stay tuned for another Red Arrow artist later this week!

On the Verge: Kevin Peterson

8 Nov

You may have noticed that moving over the website didn’t happen yesterday.. things didn’t quite go as planned.  Working on it again today! 

In just a few days, I’ll be seeing my beautiful nieces for the first time in over a year.  They’ve gotten older and taller and I can tell from photos that they are on the brink of leaving childhood behind.  The work of Houston artist Kevin Peterson looks at that the journey out of childhood and into a fractured world.

Oil on panel, 27×34

Acrylic, metallic paint on panel, 36×36

As children, we’re so quick to want to grow up, we can’t wait to go on our first date, get our driver’s license, go off to college, be able to sit at the “grown-up table”.  But isn’t it amazing how swiftly we would go back to swing sets and school holidays, once we get a glimpse of the cynicism and cruelty of life among the full grown.

Bubbles, oil on panel, 27.5×31

Lovely, oil on panel with corrugated metal, 40×57

While entering adulthood has its carefree qualities ( hello, ice cream for dinner! ), there is a delicious freedom when you’re a kid that only grown-up children can recognize.

To see more of Kevin Peterson’s work, please visit his website.

All images are via the artist’s website.

The Poetic Palette: Brianna Angelakis

29 Oct

Reading an enthralling tale comes pretty close to the joy I get from viewing incredible artwork.  Some of my absolute favorite books have been the work of “classic” female authors such as Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen.  I still pick up my well-worn paperback of Persuasion from time to time.  North Florida artist Brianna Angelakis marries her own passion for literary characters with feminist  surrealism in work that is as wonderfully layered and moody as any Bronte novel.

God’s Orchestra, graphite and oil on canvas board, 36×24

Angelakis explores the idea of isolated femininity by placing her female subjects alone in wild landscapes and in her most recent series, Wonders of the Invisible World, we see young women falling from an unknown place to an unknown destination.

Neurathenia, graphite and oil on wood, 24×24

Modern Hero, graphite and oil on wood

Her use of a cool, limited palette add to the eery mood of Angelakis’ work.  We are caught in the midst of the story she is telling and left wondering.. and wanting to hear more.

Blind Contentment, graphite and oil on canvas board, 24×36

To see more of Brianna Angelakis’ work, please visit her website.  The painting above, Neurathenia, can be seen as a part of the Folio Weekly Artist Invitational at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Jacksonville, FL until December 6th.  Her work can also been seen beginning in December in Minneapolis, MN and in the United Kingdom.  More details on her website!

All images are via the artist’s website.

Flashbacks & Snapshots : Diego Gravinese

25 Oct

There are some artists whose work I respond to on a visceral level, visually.  I see it.  I love it.  I don’t have to know what it’s about or the super secret story behind the meaning of each piece.  The paintings of Argentinian artist Diego Gravinese grabbed me when I spotted one on Pinterest last week.

The Love of Renault and Burritoes Obsequious ( diptych ), acrylic and enamel on canvas, 79×51

The artist’s earlier work ( such as The Love of Renault.. & In the Future.. ) are conglomerations of painted memories.. scenes from childhood and current memories mix with nostalgic elements to give us visual tales of how each experience builds on the ones that came before it.

Milk Girl, oil on canvas, 40×27.5

The Method, oil on canvas, 71×47.2

Mimesis, oil on canvas, 71×47.2

His more current work, ( Milk Girl, The Method & Mimesis, above ), leave behind the nostalgia, focusing instead on fleeting everyday moments.  Painted in a photorealistic style, the palette of each painting seems carefully selected and limited, so that not only do we get a sense of situation and place, but the resulting image is arrestingly graphic.

In the Future, We Will Colonize the Exterior Planets, acrylic on canvas, 75×39.5 ( overall )

To see more of Diego Gravinese’s work, please visit his website.

All images are via the artist’s website.

The Feminine Mystique: Pam Hawkes

22 Oct

We are all guilty of over-sharing these days.  Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Four Square, etc., the world has become privy to our innermost thoughts, what we ate for lunch, how many miles we ran that day.  We scoff at reality shows detailing the daily lives of the Kardashanians, Snookis, and Honey B00-Boos of the world.  We wonder, whatever happened to the allure of mystery?  UK artist Pam Hawkes reaches back into the iconography of illuminated manuscripts and Renaissance portraiture to cleanse our palate of the modernly overexposed.

Unbound, oil on copper leaf on board, 61×104 cm

Tracing Mythologies II, oil on copperleaf on board, 62×122 cm

The stillness and serenity of Hawkes’ figures are at such odds with how we live today.  The often classical poses reminiscent of religious iconography of the Virgin Mary and other figures may at first seem foreign to our contemporary eyes.  Yet there is a softness and vulnerability in these women, as if the ancient had come alive and found itself somehow wandering about our modern world.

You Made Me II, oil, beeswax, and dutch metal on board, 30×41

Fading, oil on copper leaf on board, 122×122 cm

There is a sense of bound freedom to Hawkes’ figures, as if they are only just discovering the door to their cage is open.  We wonder why they sit so still, resisting the temptation to be free.  Perhaps they, like us, have grown fond of their cages.

Birdsong, oil on copperleaf on board, 76×122 cm

To see more of Pam Hawkes’ work, please visit her website— a great many gorgeous works to see there!

Artist found via artist Deborah Scott and POETSArtists Magazine.

All images are via the artist’s website.

Historical Bent: Frohawk Two Feathers

18 Oct

‘Tis election season in the US which for many ( including myself ) = the season for cynicism, frustration, and the eventual choosing between what we hope will be the less destructive of two not-so-great choices.  Throughout history many a nation has had a habit of creatively reinterpreting their own backstory to slant history more to their favor.  In his work, Los Angeles artist Frohawk Two Feathers calls out the ridiculousness of such reinvention, echoing the growing dissatisfaction with the political status quo.

He Dead. Amen! LaDonna, inventor of the hot comb and widow of Andre I of Hispaniola Maitresse of Mambo Erzulie Freda Dahomey, 30×44

Two Feathers’ ( born Umar Rashid ) works are a fictional retelling of periods in history, his latest series being a fictionalized version of the conquest of Haiti.  The overall style of his work bases itself in traditional colonial portraiture yet the artist tweaks it to tell his own version of the story.

Let Me Upgrade You. A farewell embrace for Duke Tarik Ibn Rashid and the Duchess Josefina of Margarita and Tortuga. Tarik was called to Frengland to Tirain the artillery corps by Lord Protector Casimir Theroux of the Republic of Frengland. Josefina is running shit for real man, 30×44

The Spanish Main 1794 (3BB) Blanca, the motherfucking Queen of Spain Jacinta, Queen of the Tairona (Deceased) Carlota, Queen of Santo Domingo (Deceased), 60.5×44.75

While the works are satirical in nature, I can’t help but think that they aren’t that far off from how our own histories have been subtly reshaped over time in order to gloss over certain ugly facts or to push a powerful group’s agenda.

Solid. Solid as a Rock Lord protector Casimir Theroux of Pomerania (Poland) and his wife Helen Sidney of London, 30×44

To see more of Frohawk Two Feathers’ work, please visit the website of his representing gallery, Taylor De Cordoba.  I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to explore LA galleries while we’re in Joshua Tree, since I’ll be heading to Florida for a month in November, but seeing this work in person at Taylor De Cordoba is high on my list.

All images are via the Taylor De Cordoba website.

The Glamorati: Anna Kincaide Horne

17 Oct

For me, gorgeously styled movies and fashion photos are a guilty pleasure and voyeuristic escape.  For a brief moment, I can imagine myself a part of a super fabulous, amazingly glamorous life.  The work of Tallahassee artist Anna Kincaide Horne offers a similar experience in her elegantly painted figures.

Blue Tights Girl, oil on canvas, 48×3

Blue Gloves, oil on canvas, 30×40

In my gallery days, I relished the chance to dress up for an opening or special event.  Something about wearing heels and a little cocktail dress makes even a work event just a bit more exciting.  These days, I ( like many of us! ) live my days in jeans and flip flops.  Events for elegant dress are few and far between.

Happy Hour, oil on canvas

Everyone Wants to be Cary Grant, oil on canvas, 30×30

Yet, life still feels glamorous to me.  Mr. Forager and are pretty fortunate, we live a life filled with travel and discovery.  Even if we’re living it casual-style.

Artist found via Stellers Gallery in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Chiarosuroed Life: Sarah Ann Loreth

11 Oct

While Mr. Forager & I are on the road, making our way to California, we’re rerunning Artsy Forager’s most popular posts.  This post originally published on February 9, 2012.  Enjoy!

When I paint, I tend to turn the lights off at certain points of progress, in order to view my work in the dark.  The darkness reveals the light.   The work of New Hampshire artist Sarah Ann Loreth explores this same notion in a conceptual way, through imagery that is at once eerie and haunting, yet strangely peaceful.

The Standpoint of Daily Life

Loreth seems to be feeling her way through the reality of humanity– her work is emotional, bringing to the forefront our own fears and anxieties, but somehow quieting them.  In each work there seems to be a small voice whispering, It’s okay, this life and your troubles are only temporary..

The Ground is Too Cold to Bury Our Dead, self-portrait with milk in a bath with cow skull

We’ve all had those moments when life just seems unbearable.  When we question why we are here and why it is just so plain hard sometimes.  Loreth isn’t afraid to recreate those moments in her self-portraits, letting us know, we are not alone in our suffering.

The Irreparable Nature of Humans, self-portrait

Just as light cannot be seen without the darkness, so also does joy need sorrow in order for it to be truly felt.  Hope is always with us, we are forever watching for its return.

The Dreamer’s Dream of Morning, self-portrait

The Watcher, self-portrait

To see more of Sarah Ann Loreth’s beautiful photography, please visit her website.  This artist was found via Escape Into Life.

Featured image is Where My Heart Still Is, self-portrait.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Masterworks Monday: Frida Kahlo

8 Oct

While Mr. Forager & I are on the road, making our way to California, we’re rerunning Artsy Forager’s most popular posts.  This post originally published on May 2, 2011, when the blog was barely two months old.  Enjoy!

In honor of Cinco De Mayo this week, I thought we’d focus today on the amazing Frida Kahlo.  When I was in painting classes in college, I remember there being this older Bolivian lady who was auditing the classes and she was obsessed with Frida Kahlo.  She was sweet but somewhat obnoxious.  For a long time, the fact that she was so obsessed with Kahlo managed to turn me off on her artwork.  Weird how our minds work sometimes.

But then, somewhere along the line, I let go of this irrational bias and took another look at Kahlo and her work.  And I was quickly won over.  Health problems plagued Kahlo from a young age, suffering first from polio and then being severly injured in a horrific car accident which left her in a full body cast and bedridden for three months.  Though she eventually recovered from her injuries, extreme pain would torment her for the rest of her life.

Two Fridas

Before the accident, Kahlo was studying to become a physician, but she dealt with the boredom of being confined to bed by taking up painting with her father’s watercolors.  And so, Frida Kahlo, the artist was born.

Kahlo’s work often included symbols of Mexican mythology, as well as those of Christian and Jewish faiths.  Though she is perhaps best known for her self-portraits, often depicting events in her own life, such as the accident, subsequent miscarriages, etc.

She married renown Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera in 1929 and their life together was a tumultous one.

Her work has been described as surrealist, but I think it is the unvarnished depiction of her real life pain and struggle that makes her work so interesting and relatable. We may not have all been through the kind of physical pain Kahlo experienced, but perhaps it is that we can all certainly relate to her emotional pain and the need to express it on canvas.

Be sure to check out the official Frida Kahlo website.  A beautifully designed site full of interesting information about the artist.

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