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Art

Pink Peonies Burst with Life in Hyperrealistic Oil Paintings by Maria Marta Morelli

March 13, 2022

Anna Marks

A photograph of Maria Marta Morelli's hyperrealistic oil paintings of peonies and roses

All images © MariaMarta Morelli, shared with permission

In Maria Marta Morelli’s luxurious oil paintings, delicate peonies almost bloom through the canvas. The works represent the Buenos Aires-based artist’s fascination with the cycle of time and how flowers convey youth but also the “unbearable finitude of life,” she tells Colossal. “With their incredible beauty and freshness, although transitory, they fill us with hope and convince us that life is worth living.”

Morelli works as if using a macro lens, and sunlight, in particular, informs her practice. For each piece, she studies its effect on the fresh flower’s textures and colors throughout the day—“Sometimes objects are only an excuse to paint the light,” she says—and photographs the lively blooms, giving her a record to work off of as they wilt.

Often taking a month or two to finish a single work, the artist’s process is puzzle-like. She first examines the blend of pigments and saturation in small, abstract pieces and then places the information back together through painstaking layering and precise brushstrokes. It’s the paint’s second or third application in which she sees her botanics “come to life,” she explains. “I don’t work with more than three or four layers because I believe the painting must keep some freshness too, like the flowers I’m painting. That’s why I try to apply the right color and value I see on the model from the very start.”

Having started painting as a child, Morelli says that formative experience taught her to think about art as its own language. “Images can say much more than words, and even faster, we know that already, and through a painting, you can show many feelings in a single message,” she explains.

Morelli will exhibit her works at Art Revolution Taipei in May 2022, and you can follow her practice on Instagram. (via My Modern Met)

 

A photograph of Maria Marta Morelli's hyperrealistic oil paintings of peonies and roses

A photograph of Maria Marta Morelli's hyperrealistic oil paintings of peonies and roses

A photograph of Maria Marta Morelli's hyperrealistic oil paintings of peonies and roses

A photograph of Maria Marta Morelli's hyperrealistic oil paintings of peonies and roses

 

 



Art

Black Ink and Watercolor Bleed into Hazy Creatures in Endre Penovác's Paintings

March 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Endre Penovác

Serbian artist Endre Penovác (previously) wrangles the bleeds of black ink and watercolor in his shadowy renderings of domestic and wild animals. Sometimes delineating a talon or ear with thin markings, Penovác primarily allows the medium to run across the paper, transforming a housecat or chicken into a dreamy, phantom-like character. Many of the works frame the central animal with negative space and utilize the soft, hazy edges to evoke fur and feathers. Originals and prints of his paintings are available from Saatchi Art, and head to Instagram to explore an extensive archive of his ghostly creatures.

 

 

 



Art

Rich Linework in Black Ink Composes Meditative Mounds and Ridges in Lee Hyun-Joung's Paintings

March 4, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Chemin,” 150 x 90 x 4 centimeters. All images courtesy of Galerie Sept, shared with permission

Artist Lee Hyun-Joung likens her meditative renderings to pathways that prompt the eye to travel along each line. Working with Korean ink and traditional pigments on handmade Hanji paper, Lee’s practice is as contemplative as the resulting pieces, which portray heaving mounds and supple ridges reminiscent of mountains and other land formations. “My universe is poetic,” she tells Colossal, “like an inner journey. I invite you to take a walk, to follow me in these aerial views. They were born from the breath of my Korean childhood, from my eternal taste for painting, my search for life.”

Composed with black and shades of green or blue, the abstracted works are rhythmic and methodical and evoke the texture of thread stitched in precise rows. A central ripple stretching from one end of the paper to the other bisects many of the pieces, with the sinuous markings connecting the two parts. “Each line can be seen as a day, or an instant we have already lived through or that we are still living in,” says a statement from Galerie Sept, which represents the artist.

Lee’s experience studying fine arts at Sejong University and her formal training in goldsmithing continue to influence her practice, she says, and the artist often splits her time between Seoul and Paris, although she’s been living primarily in the French capital in recent years. Her paintings will be on view at Galerie Sept’s new space in Knokke, Belgium, as part of a group show opening on April 30. (via artnet)

 

“Contemplation Bleu,” 100 x 120 x 3.5 centimeters

“Contemplation Gris,” 100 x 130 x 4 centimeters

“Chemin Vert,” 130 x 82 x 3.55 centimeters

“Chemin Gris,” 100 x 140 x 3.5 centimeters

Left: “Chemin Bleu,” 150 x 50 x 3.5 centimeters. Right: “Chemin Bleu,” 150 x 50 x 3.55 centimeters

“Mémoire du Vent,” 148 x 90 x 3.55 centimeters

 

 



Art History

Rich with Imaginative Detail, Maria Prymachenko's Colorful Folk Art Speaks to Life in Ukraine

March 3, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Our Army, Our Protectors” (1978), gouache on paper, 61 x 86 centimeters

Maria Prymachenko (1908–1997) was a self-taught folk artist known for her renderings of life in the Ukrainian countryside. Her gouache and watercolor works are vibrant and imaginative, depicting symmetrical red poppies tucked in a small vase or fantastical bull-like animals sprouting two-headed snakes. Expressive and consistently advocating for peace, Prymachenko’s paintings are widely known throughout Ukraine and internationally: she received a gold medal at the Paris World Fair in 1937, when Pablo Picasso is said to have dubbed her “an artistic miracle.”

Earlier this week, Russian attacks northwest of Kyiv destroyed the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum, where about 25 of her works were housed. According to the Ukrainian Institute, though, local residents were able to retrieve the pieces from the burning museum before they were lost entirely. The aggression subsequently prompted calls for Russia to be removed from UNESCO, which declared 2009 the year of Prymachenko.

Explore more of the renowned artist’s works and history on WikiArt.

 

“May That Nuclear War Be Cursed!” (1978), gouache on paper, 61.5 x 86.3 centimeters

“A Dove Has Spread Her Wings and Asks for Peace” (1982), gouache and fluorescent paint on paper, 61.2 x 85.7 centimeters

“Ukrainian Bull, Three Years Old, Went Walking Through the Woods and Garners Strength” (1983), gouache on paper, 61.3 x 85.5 centimeters

“Red Poppies” (1982), gouache and paper, 85.7 x 61.4 centimeters

“Ivan Gave the Landlord a Ride in his Gig and Fell Inside” (1983), gouache on paper, 61.5 x 86.3 centimeters

“A Coward Went A-Hunting” (1983), gouache and paper, 61.2 x 85.7 centimeters

 

 



Art

Vibrant Curved Lines Flow Through Foster Sakyiamah's Dynamic Paintings

February 23, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Red Easter Sunday” (2022), 150 x 200 centimeters. All images courtesy of Noldor

A single color grounds the intricate, swirling paintings that compose Foster Sakyiamah’s body of work. Relying on reds, blues, and yellows, the Ghanaian artist renders dancers in choreographed synchronicity and demure women wearing thin lace gloves and wide-brimmed hats. Dressed in clothing that blends into the backdrop, the figures emerge through fields of pulsing, curled lines, which add texture and energy to the dynamic pieces.

Sakyiamah is currently a Noldor artist-in-residence, an Accra-based program designed to support emerging African artists that’s now in its second year. The residency is also an integral part of the newly founded Institute Museum of Ghana, which opens to the public next month. If you’re in Rome, you can see Sakyiamah’s paintings through March 3 at Andrea Festa. Otherwise, take a peek into his process on Instagram. (via Kottke)

 

“Synchronized Blue Motion” (2021), 200 x 200 centimeters

Right: “Abena Green Street” (2022), 80 x 95 centimeters

“Red Dressing Room” (2022), 216 x 216 centimeters

“Synchronized Sun Dance” (2021), 200 x 300 centimeters

“Bloom Sun Dance” (2021), 200 x 300 centimeters

“Elizabeth’s Yellow Sunday” (2022)

 

 



Art

Red Eyes Are Bold Counterparts to Subjects in Shades of Gray in Annan Affotey's Portraits

February 17, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Annan Affotey, shared with permission

In his sensitive, introspective portraits, Ghanaian artist Annan Affotey (previously) sharpens the contrast between soul and appearance. His works are large in scale and rich with texture, and he often sets figures against solid, monochromatic backdrops with visible brushstrokes. Similar to artist Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, Affotey renders his subjects’ skin in shades of gray and dresses them in vibrant garments and patterned accessories. The distinctions in color and fabric coincide with the figures’ facial expressions and gestures, all of which the artist uses as a prompt. He says:

The first assumptions made about people are based on sight. So things like skin colour, clothing, accessories, background, setting, and pose dictate emotion. There’s no guarantee those things match the character underneath. We’re often identified by what we’re compared to (or against). My work is a social commentary on this, asking the viewer to take a second look at what they read from my portraits and why.

Using a mix of acrylic and charcoal, Affotey also continues his signature red eyes, which reference his experience of being questioned about his lifestyle when he moved to the U.S. Now more bold, the recurring feature ranges from subtle halos around pupils to bright washes of pigment that spread across the sclera.

Some of Affotey’s figurative pieces are on view at both Arushi Gallery in Los Angeles and PM/AM in London through mid-March, and you can find more on Instagram. He also has two residencies slated in 2022, which will culminate in exhibitions in Saint Paul de Vence, France, opening on May 1 and another in mid-October in London.