Mélange of Milieu presents a one-of-a-kind collection of artists from all walks of life. This international set includes photographers, sculptors, and painters, each of whom uses their craft to present a distinctly unique commentary on the world in which we live. From the politically surreal to realistic representations, the works in this exhibition paint a comprehensive portrait of our day-to-day that beseech the viewer to reconsider their preconceptions about the world in which we live.
Trained as a figure skater, Canadian artist Edward Bahoric relies on muscle memory and choreographic skill to portray movement in a static form. Bahoric’s figures often intertwine, caught in the midst of a transition, sinuous and driven by purpose. It is not the individual, however, that Bahoric hopes to idealize, but the sense of movement itself. This artistic realization of kinetic energy is what Bahoric terms a “dynamic still image.” It is an athlete’s monument to skill and grace, cultivated through persistence and complete devotion.
Bahoric’s style is an amalgamation of expressionism and surrealism. It is figurative but alien, touching and bizarre. His subjects, contorted yet blissful, twisting and tumbling in a tribute to motion. It is no wonder, then, that Bahoric is driven to create, to push forward and innovate. Like a perpetual motion device, the artist must continue on, never slowing. Bahoric’s work is a celebration of movement. It is dynamism distilled, a frozen instant supplied by anonymous actors at the artist’s behest.
The New England coastline is the main inspiration for Lisa Froment’s paintings. “I am drawn to the coast where storms, the sun, and clouds await interpretation,” says the artist, who grew up near the beaches of Rhode Island. In her images those interpretations have a bold presence. She is sensitive to many textures — from clouds in a sunlit or stormy sky to the brightly painted hulls of boats. By applying her paints with both brushes and palette knives, she heightens the effect of those textures and gives each image’s surface a powerful energy.
Working in watercolor and oils, Froment experiments with color and light, creating patterns that both capture the physical aspects of each environment and transform that environment into a visual statement. She enjoys using non-traditional colors for water and sky in her images, seeing it as a way to “push the envelope of color.” But her experimentation is always at the service of presenting a world that the artist finds beautiful on its own. “Mother Nature inspires me,” she says, “because she has never painted a bad canvas.”
Froment was recently selected by a jury to show her work at the 41st Winter Juried Show in the Duxbury Art Complex Museum.
Martin Grace’s collection of digital photography resonates with the thrill of adventure. All of the elements are present throughout Grace’s work, displaying a marvellous asymmetry. When framing animals, Grace’s photography frees his subjects from mannequin-esque glamour. The high-resolution prints connect the unique animals' patterns, tracts of ice, and tree bark with an intuitive sense of texture and shape. Each photo has been expanded to a large scale, bringing the immediacy of Grace’s lens to the fore. The technical detail provided by his camera reinvigorates a human admiration for the intricacies of wildlife.
The images maintain natural clarity, yet evoke the flamboyant shades of Impressionism and the vertical depth of Japanese woodblock prints. Together, his works balance the adventure and fun of roaming in nature with an acute pursuit of meaning and exploration of existence removed from human civilization. Rooftops, telephone poles, and passing strangers are silhouetted with the ambient environment. Human life crops up with an immense subtlety, elegantly revealing the permanence of society’s tie to our greener peripheries.
Martin Grace was born in England and studied veterinary medicine at the Royal Veterinary College of London University. When not travelling the world in pursuit of his art, he spends his time in the English Lake District and the Highlands of Scotland.
The compelling and gripping work of Australian photographer Paul Juniper explores the relationship between context and perception: how our awareness and prejudices often bear little resemblance to reality. In his most recent photographs, Juniper explores the theme of loneliness in contemporary society, the juxtaposition of the disconnected individual against a backdrop of modern urbanscapes. Juniper’s photos reflect a masterful understanding of shadow and light, and the compositional elements contained within each piece unveil the pervasive tension between the human and material worlds that has come to define our modern life.
Living and working in Brooklyn, New York, Juniper draws much of his inspiration both from his local surroundings and extensive international travels. He seeks to use what he calls the photographer’s vision to demonstrate how all of us perceive and imagine the world in starkly different ways. As he explains, “Through timing, composition, perspective, and other techniques, it is possible to be either honest or deceitful in presenting a scene”: a theme that reflects human interactions at their most basic level.
At first glance, the paintings of Marcella Lassen may appear photorealistic. As one looks closer, however, Lassen's more unique style reveals itself in the way she collages people and objects together in one composition, without concern for scale or setting, giving each piece a sense of the surreal. Lassen utilizes this strategy in order to hold up a mirror to society and investigate cultural icons, from celebrities to everyday objects weighted with meaning. She never paints full-faced figures, instead preferring to portray people from the cheekbones down, in order to focus on the body language of each figure and what they might be expressing subconsciously.
Born in the United States, Lassen currently lives in St. Gallen, Switzerland. She says her exposure to the great art collections of Europe has greatly influenced her work. Although Lassen’s work is brightly contemporary, her technique is derived from the Old Masters of Western art. Working with oil paints, she painstakingly applies layer upon layer of glazes to blocked out base colors and mixes her own pigments. Color is exceedingly important to Lassen, and she believes it is part of her signature style.
Tom Notman's oil paintings are rich in naturalistic detail, yet subtly subversive. Notman depicts expressive figures and animals placed in evocative and telling settings. The results are gently immersive atmospheres with a unique energy and a clear story to tell. His scenes, recognizable as they are, occasionally dissolve into mysterious hazes of abstraction through a unique application of brushstroke and color. Notman finds his inspiration in travel, people, and his senses, moods, and ideas.
Most recently, Notman has painted "Event Horizon," a series inspired by his time spent living in Kuwait. The sights of desert life - men in robes, camels, the clouds of a dust storm - are shown with rich, dynamic fullness. The series showcases Notman's technical prowess, as he creates an unavoidable feeling of potential energy through glossy, opaque surfaces, obscured faces, and deep color blocks in great swaths.
Notman was born in Belfast and currently lives in Ireland, though his work in advertising frequently takes him on trips all across the globe.
“For me,” Lucy O’Donovan says, oil paint is “the most expressive medium,” and in her paintings, the oils allow her to make use of rich and vivid colors. Working mostly on canvas, she uses a subtle, yet varied color palette, punctuating a range of earthen and flesh tones with reds, blues, and flashes of light. The resulting compositions have a powerful sense of depth and movement, her subjects infused with a spontaneity that brings photography to mind. But O’Donovan notes that while she strives to depict the flesh, muscle and skin of those subjects in the “most realistic” manner, she lets “abstract expressive” elements into the mix, making pattern and texture equal partners with realism.
The artist is especially adept at capturing the textures of the body, from the perfectly realized skin tones to the expert rendering of veins, bones, and muscles in her subjects. Trained as a veterinarian, she has an innate sense of how the body works, and that knowledge gives each image a solid, grounded presence, making her experiments with color, technique and texture all the more compelling.
In 2008, O'Donovan suffered from a brain injury and had to take a break from her work. After a long period of rehabilitation, the artist was able to take up her brush again with more energy than ever.
The sculptures of Greek-American artist Loukas Tsevdos are intended to represent basic human meanings and values, conveyed through both symbolism and figurative form. Compositional elements support this symbolism and at times create it, juxtaposing harmony and tension to give new significance to otherwise familiar images and objects. Each sculptural work is meticulously rendered, with careful attention to detail and a simultaneous focus on overall expressionistic meaning. Within each form, whether human or object, there is a sense of strength, tenacity, harmony, peace, and wonder: all part of our everyday human experiences.
Working in bronze, Tsevdos seeks to find basic meaning within the figures and tableaus he depicts, providing a glimpse into the inherent symbology and expressionistic characteristics of the human experience. In addition, there is a strong sense of Greek culture and history in his art, as much of Tsevdos’s sculptural work has been inspired by such sculptors as Costas Valsamis, Nikos Ikaris, and Antoni Karahalios.
Loukas Tsevdos currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.