True to its name, the exhibition Pulse of Abstraction oscillates between high- and low-energy works of extraordinary vibrance. From busy crowded canvases of patterns and entropy to surreal and calming scenes of unique atmospheres, the works featured truly represent the beating heart that is contemporary abstract art. These works leave their valuable impressions with the audience through their impeccable use of color, form, and composition.
Bright, confrontational, and enigmatic, the acrylic paintings of Japanese artist Yozo Abe are unmatched in verve. His painting style is chameleonic, with a style that varies with sophistication to match his message and subject matter. Yozo Abe plays with line, texture, and light in turn. However, certain graphic elements remain constant across his body of work. Colors are always vivid; space is flattened; figures are representational, but exaggerated and sharpened; and the compositions are constructed so as to throw the viewer off balance. For every piece of information that is revealed about a scene, another is withheld. Energy jolts across the canvas, figures dance – much is apparently happening, but the viewer does not know why. Yozo Abe’s world is enjoyably opaque. He describes his process as “painting in abandon,” and invites viewers to come up with their own interpretations.
Yozo Abe was born in Aichi, Japan and has exhibited in his home country as well as Spain and the United States. He is a self-taught artist.
The vibrant abstract paintings of Jake Beauchamp are inspired by a sporadic range of human emotions: “I just feel it,” he says. Beauchamp transmits his feelings to canvas through a painting method he calls “fluid acrylics.” He mixes paint with water, paint thinner, or mineral spirits to produce a thin, flowing consistency. He then applies the paint to his canvas using palette knives or his hands and fingers. Beauchamp’s technique imbues each painting with immediate texture, where explosive swaths of paint are juxtaposed with gestural lines or delicate forms. This process generates a sense of movement that mirrors the fluidity of human emotions.
The artist selects the colors for each painting based on his present emotional state, and every inch of the canvas becomes charged with immediacy. Drawing on the traditions of Abstract Expressionism, Beauchamp’s paintings convey his inner impulses, but his paintings are also open to viewers’ visual interpretations. “If I can get a viewer to feel an emotional attachment to my art, then I have succeeded,” he says.
Born in Atlantic, Iowa, the artist now resides in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
The vibrant abstract expressionist paintings of Venezuelan-American artist Valentina Bilbao are inspired as much by music as they are by the deep wellspring of human emotion. Within each painting, color becomes the central element through which Bilbao is able to express and expand upon her feelings, enabling her to bring those emotions from the abstract to the real world. Her use of a spatula imbues a great deal of texture into the paint while fostering a sense of movement that is reflective of the inherent fluidity of the emotive realm.
Bilbao explains the musical inspiration for her work in simple but moving terms: “Music becomes my air, it is my driving force… I can feel the music inside me, my heart dances with each beat, the vibrations of each instrument dance in my soul, transforming each note into my painting... My work is a union of painting and music together into a harmonious symphony that makes my soul smile.” Above all, Bilbao seeks to create paintings that transmit powerful positive emotions, thereby transforming the world into a better place.
Gordon Davidson of Gordon Davidson Modern Art (GDMA) specializes in large-scale, abstract paintings that run the gamut from bright and energizing to subtle and deeply meditative. Davidson says his goal is to create engaging images that enrich the human condition, and celebrate the new visions often opened up via science and technology. Constantly experimenting with new techniques, materials, and pigments, Davidson often draws inspiration from the environment around him. In particular, it's the color, light, and designs found in Morocco that have influenced his latest series of works. Painted largely on aluminum, these pieces reflect the light as it changes over the course of the day, and occasionally glow as if lit from within.
A native of the Scottish Highlands, Davidson currently divides his time between Edinburgh and Marrakech, where he’s working to create a “cultural bridge” between young people in the UK and Morocco, using art as the link between the two countries. Davidson hopes his work can make people think, even a little, about the key issues and challenges that they face.
Originally a painter of still lifes and landscapes, Marlene Fisher has recently dared a move into the world of surrealism, inspired by her global travels. Her artwork and inspiration are constantly evolving, and Fisher credits this present iteration of her career to Salvador Dalí, a personal favorite, whose influence is immediately recognizable in her work. Her images are equally evocative of Magritte, whose blue skies and floating orbs are often mirrored in Fisher’s paintings.
A native New Yorker, Marlene Fisher is deeply interested in portraying the trains, bridges, and tunnels of the city. These paintings are geometric in nature, and evoke the work of Kandinsky and Mondrian while maintaining an individual style anchored to the place she calls home. Fisher is keen to explore the intricacies of the city, bringing color and life to everyday experiences. Through her skill and artistic vision, Fisher is able to elevate the ordinary into “something abstract and multidimensional.” Her work is a tribute to the city she loves, and to the infrastructure that sustains it.
The lively, cheerful paintings of Norwegian artist Vibeke Lillefjære are known for their unique color combinations, uninhibited brushstrokes and ability to convey new experiences to the viewer. A self-taught artist, Lillefjære considers art to be a positive force in her life, so it makes sense that her paintings are consistently expressive of optimistic energy and have the ability to touch people and inspire them. The spontaneous brushstrokes, bold pigments and magical color combinations of these works would brighten any space or mood.
Lillefjære's painting process is very private and personal — she calls her paintings reflections of her soul, and works only in isolation. According to the artist, this helps preserve her style of individual expression, and certainly the results demonstrate her characteristic and appealing style. Using acrylic pigments and linen or cotton canvases, she paints with a sense of freedom and impulsiveness, producing contemporary art that contains an unusual sensitivity and a sense of the audacious. Instead of looking to other artists for inspiration, Lillefjære’s ingenuity stems only from her own creative process.
Emma Lindström’s compositions in acrylic paint and marker feature an intangible cosmos and intricate geometric patterns. Her imagery is somehow familiar and new; abstract, billowing clouds and fluid paint diffuse seamlessly through each canvas into shining forms and rings of carefully rendered designs. Lindström’s airy paintings flow with clear blues, pinks, and whites, every color adding an effervescent quality. Each canvas pulses with the ubiquitous light and hope that Lindström hopes to explore through this use of value and the introduction of both reflective materials and constellations of pattern. Concentric circles filled with pastel hues and metallic pigments burst and flare over the canvases. Evocative geometric patterns and aqueous forms contrast to create compelling, almost mystic, scenes. Subtle texture builds on the veins of gold or deep blue flowing through some pieces, while pinpricks of white shine like stars in other images.
Born in Gothenburg, Sweden, Lindström works from Stockholm. She strives in her work to convey positivity and tranquility, with the central goal of eliciting an emotional reaction from the viewer.
Lise Lykke’s paintings had their beginnings in her studies in astrology. Told by an astrology teacher to follow her creativity, Lykke let her imagination take her on a journey that mixes bold colors and a variety of textures with a strong eye for movement and composition. That combination gives her works an engaging energy as well as a peaceful ambiance, creating visual rhythms that are both precisely arranged and tantalizingly open-ended. “Every time I start up,” she says, “I am curious to see what will emerge.”
Working in acrylics, Lykke has many techniques at her disposal, including the unique method of roughly distributing colors on the painting’s surface and placing a sheet of cellophane over them to roll the materials out “like pizza dough.” She employs those techniques in works that range from whimsically realistic images of trees and birds to kaleidoscopic abstract patterns. But in all of them a positive energy shines through. The artist says that the goal of her work is to make people happy, and her paintings embody that sense of happiness.
The spiritual paintings of Massimo Nalin are populated with surreal landscapes and angelic creatures that he describes as "powerful, with the lightness of a feather." Nalin uses his work to express his inner emotions through harmonized, glowing colors. He says his paintings are a mirror into his innermost soul, a way to come to terms with his deepest feelings and find healing through art. Every piece is approached in a meditative way, with Nalin clearing his mind and letting his "painting hand" take over, transforming a plain white canvas into a powerful, expressive spiritual world.
Nalin is a native of South Tyrol and Italy, and worked as a welder and stucco plasterer before following his passion for painting. Despite the very personal nature of his work, there is something universal in it, being influenced by social, cultural, political, or religious views. Nalin says he wants his paintings to dissolve the boundaries that separate human beings from one another, creating a bridge into his viewers' hearts and touching all five of their senses.
Harald Puetz’s original oil paintings demand close inspection. Each work transports the viewer toward a meditation on artificial light, and his polyphony of colors ensures that each point on the canvas depicts a unique shade. Such a fine approach to oil painting allows the viewer’s eyes to wander over the canvas and be seduced by the range of hues. Puetz composes fluid color gradients along the height of the canvas, revealing his concern for the delicate nature of light. Puetz disarms strict color definitions and reminds the viewer that colors are fundamentally light frequencies. His variety of tones glow on the canvas like vivid projections of light through a prism.
The depth in Puetz’s paintings suggests a horizon, yet the artist's delicate shading unites any forms of land or sea with the celestial, resulting in a weightless perspective. Puetz’s compositions evoke a view from the window of a plane, flying over clouds. The serene layers of paint linger across the canvas, resembling the majestic texture of contrails.
“My paintings are always telling stories about me and my family,” says artist Tim Tyler. Pieces of his life, from his career as a performer to his interest in nature, are recast as symbols in his acrylic paintings on canvas. Red curtains echo the world of the theater, while the people, leaves, and animals suggest the importance of the world surrounding us. The human figure is central to Tyler’s works. With their large features and bright red mouths, his subjects anchor each painting, even when they appear unanchored themselves: “We humans float around the world like fish,” the artist says, explaining both the sense of suspended animation seen in his images and the fish seen darting between the figures in many of his works.
The glue that holds the mood of Tyler’s paintings together is his precise sense of line and composition and ability to use color to give an image depth and dimension. The almost photorealist quality of each element in his images makes their dreamlike setting all the more distinctive, giving them a sense of the surreal that is unique and compelling.
Maciej Zukowski refers to his paintings as “spiritual realism.” By combining the external world with an exploration of his inner life, he creates unique pieces that seem to extend beyond the limits of the physical world. His paintings are reminiscent of Abstract Expressionism in Zukowski's seemingly-spontaneous and expressive brush strokes, and in the way that he combines figures with more abstract elements. A constant innovator, Zukowski is always experimenting with technique. His favorite medium at the moment is oil on canvas or wood, but he also enjoys working with collage, aluminium pins, copper, and paper fragments. This variety allows Zukowski the freedom and flexibility to explore his favorite themes, namely concepts associated with the creation, destruction, and reconstruction of identity. He describes his personality as “neurotic,” and admits his work often reflects that.
A Polish native, Zukowski is deeply influenced by the art and culture of Spain, where he lived for a year. He would like his work to bring calmness, harmony, a certain mental equilibrium, and a temporal fulfillment to both his viewers and himself.