In Evolving Abstraction, the audience is treated to a series of fascinating artworks that combine a sensitivity to the small details that make up our world with an awareness of the wide-reaching, dramatic elements that also play a role in defining our lives. The result is a carefully controlled explosion of energy, interest and expression.
The appealing subtlety and sincerity of Murielle Argoud’s paintings is found in an expressive abstraction of secrets and metamorphosis, distilling a visual poetry from pigments and sand. At the heart of Argoud’s art is a sense of transformation and an appreciation for the natural world, as enigmatic suggestions of landscapes seem to linger beneath the surface, waiting but never fully unveiled from within her delicate and turbulent brushstrokes. Argoud builds her works in layers of oil and acrylic paints, enriched with mixed media elements, lava, sand, gold leaf, and prints, as her surfaces move fluidly between a rough and choppy texture and an atmospheric softness.
A poet and painter from a very early age, Argoud studied with several distinguished artists and attended art schools in Lyon, Nuremberg, and Tuscany before setting out on her own as a professional artist and teacher. Born in Lyon, France to a family of French and Andalusian descent, Argoud now lives and works on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
Yuka Chokai’s ink and marker abstracts defy belief with their incredible precision and detail. Chokai’s work is a revolutionary mix of the old and the new. Her brightly colored, flat shapes and clean lines come from Modernism, but her intricate compositions, full of minutiae, evoke the technical sophistication of European Old Masters. The work is graphic but not minimalist; involved but not stodgy. Chokai depicts broad vistas populated by cartoon-like figures and enough recognizable markers to give the viewer an idea of the space. She builds these scenes out of miniscule, vibrant shapes in cheery hues – dots, dashes, squares that become literal building blocks on the canvas. These little bits of light come together to heighten and celebrate the subject matter – a method Chokai calls a way to “convey the message as to how precious life truly is.” Stuffed with visual twists and turns, the work is undeniably full of life.
Yuka Chokai was born in Osaka, where she learned to work with beads, embroidery, collage, and oil paint. She currently lives in Tottori, Japan.
Inspired by childhood visits to NY museums and by the impressionist works of Monet, AnnaMaria Critelli’s oils, acrylics and mixed media challenge viewers to look beyond reality. Through mystical displays of dimension and texture, each canvas comes alive in an array of dreamy colors. Her works, interpretive and fluid, capture nature in its full physicality — whether in tumult or pleasant reverie. In depicting her subjects, as varied as the cosmos, the artist is driven by a passion to portray beauty through muted shades and shapes verging on the amorphous.
She entreats viewers to share her imaginative flights, each incisive and revelatory in showcasing the ever-changing face of the universe around us. Through an emphasis on contrast, proportion and pattern, Critelli’s emotions and scenic moods are brought forth on canvas. She embellishes each work with specific raw materials to create movement, rhythm, and a three-dimensional effect. “My Work reflects a connection between the unity, harmony and balance of the universe,” explains Critelli. She defines her mission as an artist to “change the focus of conventional views of the world.”
David DuTremble says that his paintings are “the closest thing to a visual representation of sound that I have been able to replicate,” and the sense of movement and counterpoint in his images brings that kinship with music into the foreground. His compositions have a strong dynamic flow and rhythm, as well as a three-dimensional feeling of space that lets them come alive. Their drips and swirls of paint can form the outlines of what seems to be a human face, or they can take off in a burst of pure movement, but in either case one always feels the strong presence of the artist’s hand.
Using acrylics, house paint and paint markers, the artist employs a varied palette, letting the contrasts between bright and muted shades accentuate the underlying rhythms of each painting. Embarking on what he calls “an attempt to force perspective with no reference points to create mood and depth through the use of carefully constructed layers,” DuTremble creates a world that is totally coherent, yet surprises the viewer at every step.
Drawing on the quiet power and majesty of the natural world, Samantha Emery’s paintings are open and direct, inviting viewers into a surrealistic world of whimsy and color as she builds an emotional dialog into the complexity and wonders of life and light. Throughout Emery’s crisply detailed portraits and playfully fanciful journeys into her imagination, there is an enduring aesthetic of beauty and joy, skillfully illuminated with an organic realism. Each work is a story, an intangible experience and action made visible through the simple intricacy of Emery’s naturalistic painting. The artist creates her works in oil or acrylic paints on canvas, occasionally adding touches of crayon, but more often immersing herself in the smooth perfection of her detailed brushstrokes.
Born in London and of British and Canadian descent, Emery has travelled extensively throughout Canada, the United Kingdom and South America and is now living in Bodrum, Turkey. She earned a degree in Ceramics and Design from Central St Martins College of Art and Design and studied at a tutorial college in Oxford and Amersham College, Buckinghamshire.
The ethereal work of Hannah Greenberg portrays a universe that is at once airy and grounded. Hannah’s art is centered in the imagery of the natural world: leaves on trees, the velvety feathers of birds, the unadorned human face and figure. These simple subjects are lovingly rendered, and then animated by the forces of nature made visible. The artist depicts sweeping wind, warming rays of sun, and wild waters with lines that surround and elevate her figures. Organic patterns emerge, weaving the scene into a surreal tapestry. The other great player in the work is color, which knows no bounds in the landscape of Hannah’s art. The hues range from earthy to the gleaming pinks and oranges only found in the extremes of nature. Every object contains every color, and each tiny nuance of light is captured. Using color pencil and oil pastel, Hannah finds the delicacy that exists in every surface.
Hannah Greenberg began life on a kibbutz in Israel before emigrating to the United States. In addition to creating fine art, she is an accomplished jewelry designer.
As Canadian artist Lynn Izzard paints, impressions of the natural world appear from within a rippling tapestry of color and marks. Within Izzard’s bold and thickly scraped pigments, branches and linear forms of trees are cast in a brilliant light, and crested waves emerge against an expansive horizon of sea and sky. These expressive abstractions become reflections of the landscape, inspired by the structures and motions found in nature. The artist creates her works in acrylic paints on canvas, occasionally incorporating sand or oil paints to play with the tactile expression of her art. There is a powerful immediacy to Izzard’s technique, as she applies her mediums in roughly broken, long strokes of paint pulled across the surface. As a result, the paintings develop an emotional physicality, wrought in the freshness of their spontaneity and the richness of their tone and texture.
Now living in Burlington, Ontario, Lynn Izzard found herself inspired from an early age by the fierce majesty of the Canadian wilderness. A passionate and purpose-driven artist, her works are now exhibited in collections worldwide.
While he was first inspired as a child to paint as he watched his father, as an adult Chris Langley is inspired to create by the interest and enthusiasm of his collectors. Langley pushes the limits of art-making from conceptually formalist concerns to seemingly effortless abstraction. By heightening the senses through high contrast acidic colors and mottled textures, Langley’s mixed media paintings stand out as original handmade artworks that have an inexplicable connection to the universal human experience.
Langley melds the digital and analogue. Photographic techniques, lens flares and compositional tools play a powerful role in the works which nonetheless reference art historical traditions in painting, specifically Cubism. Langley creates works that vibrate with a modern and sometimes even futuristic look with an enhanced sheen infused with painterly strokes and forms. Intermixing these elements allows the viewer to take in the image as though it were a mirage that could appear or disappear at any moment. Christopher Langley has only been professionally pursuing a career as an artist since 2012, yet he has truly found a voice of his own.
Self-taught UK artist Neil Masterman first started painting professionally in the 1990s and has gone from strength to strength. He experienced a particular thrill on seeing one of his paintings selected for the poster advertising the 2008 New York exhibition in which he participated. Masterman paints in an astonishing variety of styles and subjects, from post-impressionism and cubism to the abstract. Masterman also paints in a variety of mediums, from acrylic to oils and watercolors to Chinese pen, although acrylic is currently his preferred medium. His extensive portfolio of work rarely repeats itself, yet is always recognizable as distinctive to the artist. His influences are various, but his first inspiration was Vincent van Gogh, the impact of which can still be seen in some of his work.
Masterman’s diverse pieces are united by the bold, bright colors of his palette. He uses color intentionally, to capture the viewer’s attention and convey emotion, texture and movement. When he begins a piece, he knows what he’s going to do and what he wants to say. With a mastery of color and design, Masterman jolts the viewer out of complacency and encourages them to take a closer look.
B. A. Mintz
The captivating acrylic paintings of B. A. Mintz bring a dark, mysterious sensibility to the traditional liberty of Impressionism. Mintz paints many subjects – figures, landscapes, action scenes, and wide-lens images incorporating all three. Her brush captures movement in every work. Her people are portrayed in the middle of a gesture. Her views of nature depict land and sky relating to one another in volatile, interdependent ways. Clouds swirl around treetops, and the flat ground bleeds into the horizon line until there is no distinction between foreground and background. Mintz’s unique dynamism is born of the way she invents shapes and mixes colors. Her palette is based in earthy blues and greens, but always springs a pop of violent yellow or orange where it creates the most emotional drama in the composition. Her shapes individually are not found in nature, yet combined they become an unmistakable portrayal of real life.
Mintz was born in the Bronx, raised in Southern California, and today splits her time between Florida and New York City. She has studied painting in France and the United States.
Eponine Saint Hillier
Eponine Saint Hillier is a relentlessly innovative artist whose work stretches the boundaries of painting. Saint Hillier depicts the traditional human body, but with a clash of painting practices – splashes appear over carefully-wrought surfaces, with realistic forms sharing the same space as abstract – or with atypical media. Even her technically straightforward oil paintings are arresting for their subjects’ direct gaze and surreal, beautiful use of color. Saint Hillier’s latest series is a combination of old and new techniques she calls “living painting.” She applies paint directly to a model’s body in swirling, charged colors that heighten and embroider the planes of the human shape. Then those models are photographed against a painted background to create a trompe-l’oeil effect that plays with depth, form, and above all, reality. The images combine the artifice of aggressive, visible brushstrokes with photographic concreteness – a true mix of media.
Eponine Saint Hillier was born in France, where she lives today. She has also lived in Polynesia and exhibits her work extensively in France, Belgium, Portugal and the United States.
For Pakistani-American artist Fahim Somani, “art is a way to express one’s feelings and emotions.” Indeed, Somani’s work is highly expressionistic, with each color, line, and form replete with meaning and emotional depth. There is a great deal of balance and harmony that defines each composition, adding a whole other layer of significance to the tableau. Working in a variety of mediums, Somani blends elements of the East and West, both traditional and contemporary. In fact, many of these pieces are inspired by and reflect geometrical patterns traditionally found in Islamic art. In addition, the traditional art of calligraphic forms such as Kufic and Naksh is woven throughout the works, highlighted both for its intrinsic beauty and also as a way for Somani to keep his native culture alive both within himself and his art. In this way, his art becomes a symbol of Islamic culture and a way for his viewers to connect with and experience some of the beauty and wonder that it represents.
Fahim Somani currently lives in Houston, Texas. In addition to his work on canvas, he is accomplished in other artistic media including sculpture.
Dmitry Sostakovich’s brilliant oil on canvas works explore the artist’s inner worlds and the spiritual realm of objects, landscape and people. Pregnant with swirling, meandering lines, and swirls and slashes of vibrant pigment, the work soars on its own accord into visual harmony and balance. Intimate and deep, chaotic and pure, each painting conjures up the subtle essence of our humanity and the primal longings of the soul by which we thrive cross-culturally. Interested in the topics of space and time, Sostakovich’s frenetic compositions probe the psycho-physiological territories of emotionality, impression, reflection and contemplation with a deep, expressive force which characterizes what the artist terms “Analytical Linear Expressionism.” Inspired by his own early appreciation for crystals and nature, Sostakovich also cites the extended period in which he lived independently in Italy as having had a profound and definitive influence on his current work and creative life view.
Dmitry Sostakovich was born in the USSR, now Russia, to a Russian-Jewish family. The artist currently lives and works in Israel.
Inspired by the techno-numeric ambiance of a world growing increasingly dependent on the internet and social media, Belgium painter Antoinette Tontcheva notes that “'my abstract conceptual works conjugate my “géométrie émotionelle” or formula, the aspect of a philosopher in a techno world.”' Her approach is unique and personal as she imbues her works with theoretical references, projecting her feelings logically and optically onto the canvas. Tontcheva's mathematical decisions transcend culture and country as she adroitly explores spatially resolved shapes. She speaks through the artistry of the abstract, arranging forms in color, size and position to communicate her reflections, ideas and conceptions. Each work thereby succeeds in engaging and enlightening the viewer with its very special organization of space, repetition of leitmotifs and associative reference. Tontcheva says that “a work is successful when the organization is somehow spatially resolved and creates the impression of extended space – it looks bigger!”
Through abstract imagery and a balanced color palette, Antoinette Tontcheva connects the mathematical with the emotional, reality with super-reality. In each work one can see her visionary interpretation of a world that has become techno-centric, a world begging for human connection.
Through the use of digital photography, Australian-born Peter Watson captures and distorts beams of city light, which blur into brightly colored woven abstraction. With years of experience working with color theory in photo labs, Watson keenly delivers a pure optical vision, exploring each color’s vibration as it harmonizes within the composition. Watson thinks of light as a material. To him, it is a substance like paint to be moved around, manipulated, and stretched. Because of this, his work transcends the boundaries of photography, culminating into an emotively charged world of electronic utterances.
Through travel, Watson seeks just the right circumstances to frame and transmute into a unique photographic phenomenon. During his travels, the details within urban spaces speak most poignantly to him. A beam of neon dances off the side of a building, an orange-tinted windowpane emits an intriguing haze - these moments hang over him curiously, waiting to be transformed through his lens. Once translated, they result in an image that is both abstract and recognizable, while also poetic and purely sensational.