When reading the tag next to an artwork at a gallery, the traditional mediums are typically listed: oils, watercolours, acrylic, pencil, and the catch all, “mixed media”. “Tape”, is not something you would expect to see. In Emanuel Pavao’s urban landscape art, tape is exactly what these realist artworks are composed of. Frustrated with traditional materials, Emanuel started to use this utilitarian household material, with its surprising array of colours and textures, to create realistic portrayals of the urban fabric.
The paintings of Eloy Morales- large-scale hyperrealistic portraits- are astounding feats of technical skill with an immediate and intense visual impact. While other artists working in hyperrealism may be content to have the technical skill be the overriding concern, these paintings hold the attention with a psychological weight imbued in the subject, often the artist’s own face.
Looking at the work of Jesús Perea, one might assume that the artist producing these limited edition prints would be of the ink-stained hand variety, creating textural, tonal prints in a traditional print making studio. These prints of Jesús, are in fact, wholly digital creations where the artists has mixed scans of different textures, papers, stains etc., and manipulated those elements into elegant abstract compositions before printing.
Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter- all tools of the “millennials”, the new generation of young people who have come of age with the power to broadcast their image around the globe with a click of button. Billions of photos recording the minutia and mundanity of their lives circulate on social media, revealing not just a modern youth culture, but a burgeoning aesthetic sense too- the selfies, and arms-length photos of consumption and consumerism, documented and shared.
There are some artists who create paintings that welcome your gaze and invite you to a leisurely moment of contemplation at your own pace. Pleasant, uplifting and decorative, the artist allows the viewer control of the situation. Not so with the work of Dino Valls. These paintings push back hard, and challenge you to meet the gaze of the exquisitely crafted figures of young girls and boys – eyes that dare you to not look away, to instead face the darkness, the disturbing, and the anxious.
Ismael Fuentes is a contemporary artist whose portraits and figurative paintings are a blending of traditional techniques and genre with a modern, ironic sensibility. His painterly approach to his work always reveals the hand of the artist, with visible layers of paint building his subjects; some areas acutely observed and focused, others areas mere suggestions of an object rendered with a confidant brushmark.
Elena Willis is a photographer whose large-scale works immerse the viewer in dream-like settings that feel pulled from our subconscious mind. She orchestrates actors, manufactures props, and engineers the landscape to create photographs free from photoshop or digital manipulation. The resulting photographs with their hits of high intensity colour draw the eye and encourage an interpretation of the mis en scene, but her open-ended narratives defy easy explanation.
Javier Arizabalo’s paintings are an incredible example of a refined technique and dedication to realism of a master painter. The oil on linen paintings have the look of photo realism as every wrinkle, pore and imperfection is captured by the artist-we are left with the impression that nothing has escaped his attention and even the smallest of details is worthy of notice.
Anthony Mastromatteo is an artist whose oil on linen on board paintings show a deft technical mastery that could easily seduce one into a purely superficial enjoyment of his paintings. And how enjoyable it is, to witness an artist working in a trompe l’oeil style, rendering with finesse the torn-out comic book pages with all their age and patina, seemingly attached to the canvas itself with masking tape, also a precisely painted element.
Eric Cator is an illustrator and artist whose personal and professional work spans a variety of mediums and styles. Whether he’s creating linocuts, acrylic on wood paintings, or digital art for commercial projects, his unique style and sense of humour always comes through.