Exploring the Unpredictably of the Human Body, Cristina Camacho Flays Symmetric Paintings

Featured image: Detail of “Cuerpo hambriento” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 66 x 52 inches Images © Cristina Camacho

Cristina Camacho likens canvas stretched across a skeletal frame to skin. Both a protectant and a site for expression, the flesh is one of many layers within the body that the artist peels back to reveal what lies beneath and within. “When I first started cutting the canvas, I was very interested in stopping seeing the canvas as the surface where the paint goes,” she tells Colossal.

In Carne, a series of symmetrical paintings sliced and sculpted into three-dimensional forms, Camacho expands on her earlier bodies of work that explore universal themes around female anatomy, shame, and healing. After being diagnosed with a rare disease and realizing her chances of becoming a mother were limited, though, she began to turn toward the personal, creating as part of reckoning with life-altering news. “My relationship with the work really changed because it became a tool for healing and for understanding how I was feeling both emotionally and physically with my symptoms and my fears,” she says. “The idea was to have a catharsis of my symptoms.”

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Glorious Explosions of Color Capture the Beautiful Symphony of Nature in Oil Paintings

In the late 19th century, Impressionism blossomed under the talents of Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste-Renoir. Since then, it has inspired many variations and successors, including the Open-Impressionist style. Led by artist Erin Hanson, this modern adaptation relies on impasto paint strokes without layering. She demonstrates the beauty of this style by rendering a variety of kaleidoscopic landscapes.

From lush wildflowers growing in front of a distant mountain to clouds swirling above the coast, these paintings are full of dynamism. Hanson gives every element a life of its own by applying bold swatches of color to the canvas. These brushstrokes appear to infuse each element with rhythm like they are moving before our eyes.

While Hanson’s art travels to a variety of distinct locals, her recognizable style and vibrant color palette unites each piece. Many of her compositions feature bunches of foliage swaying on the ground, while a patchy blue sky and fluffy clouds canopies them from above. These juxtapositions are enhanced by the rich textures imbued in the thick daubs of paint.

Featured image: work by Oregon-based artist Erin Hanson

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How a 17th-Century Book of Plants Changed Botanical Illustration Forever

Today, when we come across a beautiful garden or field of flowers, our first instinct is to take out our phone and take a picture. However, before cameras, recording plant life was a much more intensive process. Botanical art—the practice of depicting the form, color, and details of plant life—can be traced back to 70 CE. However, it was a book published in the early 17th century that forever changed this art form.

Johann Konrad von Gemmingen, Prince-Bishop of Eichstätt, famously had Germany’s first botanical garden with numerous species of plants from around the world. Apothecary and botanist Basilius Besler was one of the people in charge of the garden, and was commissioned by the Prince-Bishop to commemorate the flora in an illustrated book, which would later be titled Hortus Eystettensis.

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Marcela Cantuária’s Vibrant Homage to Climate Justice Activists

MIAMI — At first, the three large-scale oil paintings by Marcela Cantuária radiate that Instagram-ready energy common to so much contemporary art. Inside Pérez Art Museum Miami’s double-height gallery, the Brazilian artist’s first show in the United States, I heard a lot of wows from viewers attracted to her monumental, vibrant panels accompanied by paintings of butterflies and mythical Tarot creatures hovering across the gallery’s gray walls. But despite this exhibition’s magical bent, The South American Dream is also about struggles for social and environmental justice in a more down-to-earth world.

“No los dejemos dormir (Let’s Not Let Them Sleep)” (2023), a huge textile map of South America, hangs in a corner with the message in Spanish: “Si no nos dejan soñar, no los dejaremos dormir” (“If they don’t allow us to dream, we won’t let them sleep.”) Concealed beneath the painting’s chromatic surfaces is an homage to fighters, including those who died in Latin American countries in the second half of the 20th century fighting against ultra-right dictatorships backed by the United States, such as the Fulgencio Batista regime in Cuba and the military dictatorship in Brazil, and those who continue fighting for environmental and social causes today.

Featured image: Installation view of The South American Dream, featuring works by Marcela Cantuária (photograph by Oriol Tarridas, courtesy Pérez Art Museum Miami)

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Minoru Nomata’s Floating Fortress Paintings Evoke Retro-Futuristic Memories At White Cube


Born in Tokyo in 1955, Minoru Nomata (find more here) has spent the last four decades crafting a vocabulary of imaginative architectural and topographical forms, giving rise to paintings that transcend the constraints of time and place. The first part of the exhibition’s title, ‘映遠,’ meaning ‘reflecting distance’ in Japanese, encapsulates the artist’s vision of landscapes where towering architectural structures stand in tranquil grandeur. These structures emerge from low horizon lines, blurring the boundaries between Earth and the cosmos.

Raised in an industrialized neighborhood in central Tokyo, Nomata’s artistic journey reflects a narrative of urban landscape painting. His influences range from the 20th-century ‘precisionist’ painter Charles Sheeler and Bauhaus luminary Lyonel Feininger to the visual dynamics of Op Art and the fluid aesthetics of Symbolism and Art Deco. Inspired by the atmosphere of generative electronic music and the landscapes found in retro-futuristic science fiction in literature and films, Nomata’s monumental structures give the impression of floating or ascending from flat, desolate terrains. They are bathed in a dramatic, directional light, creating a captivating visual experience.

Featured image: Minoru Nomata, Eastbound-3, 1999, acrylic on canvas, 72.9 x 116.8 cm | 28 11/16 x 46 in. © the artist. courtesy White Cube

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Reflecting Time Passing, Chris Oh Reinterprets Works of the Northern Renaissance on Ephemeral Substrates

Shortly after the Renaissance swept through Italy in the 14th century, the Northern Renaissance began to take hold north of the Alps. In countries like Germany, France, Poland, and England, artists turned their attention toward humanism like their counterparts in Rome and Florence, although piety and the everyday trials of poor people dominated the north, while the wealthy and ruling classes featured more prominently in Italy.

In a new body of work on view at Capsule Shanghai, artist Chris Oh draws on this tradition through a series of paintings that consider how stories, knowledge, and information are shared through generations. Titled Passage, the exhibition features a range of found-object sculptures and wall-based works appropriated from primarily Northern Renaissance-era artists like Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Hieronymus Bosch, and Jan van Eyck, to name a few.

Oh often paints the likeness of the paintings from the period on natural substrates like gnarled slices of burl wood and pearlescent oyster shells, nesting the familiar scenes and portraits within organic surfaces. “I want to use materials that grew over time,” he says.

Featured image: “Burl” (2021), acrylic on antique wooden burl slab, 53.34 x 76.2 x 5.08 centimeters

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Witness the Power of Nicole Eisenman’s Observational Eye

Nicole Eisenman’s first major retrospective in the U.K., at London’s Whitechapel Gallery, contains over 100 works spanning some 30 years, although its impressive scope feels even wider, stretching across the history of art. Take a painting like Coping (2008), which is filled with individual vignettes in a manner reminiscent of Breughel, or Fishing (2000), where the symmetrical composition and arrangement of figures calls to mind a High Renaissance altarpiece. Elsewhere, Sloppy Bar Room Kiss (2011) has the same painterly, expressionistic approach to everyday modern life that was popularized by artists of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Brooklyn-based French-American painter and sculptor is adverse to giving interviews or offering any kind of oversimplifying explanations for these scenes, which can often be monumental in size and littered with references. What comes through clearly enough in the work, however, is her boldly biting yet always humorous critiques of contemporary socio-political issues including identity, war, economic downturn, and technology.

Featured image: Nicole Eisenman, Econ Prof (2019). Photo courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

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Artist Shares Secrets of How To Draw Incredibly Realistic Portraits [Interview]

Brazilian artist Matheus Macedo is known for his incredibly realistic portraits. Using pencils and charcoal, he’s able to infuse his drawing with an uncanny sense of realism. Macedo often focuses on famous faces, and he has a knack for incorporating rich detail in their facial features without losing the vitality that makes their personalities leap from the page.

Luckily, Macedo is just as passionate about sharing his knowledge as he is about focusing on his own art. In his online course, Realistic Portrait Drawing Made Easy, Macedo takes students through his entire creative process, step by step. This means that he not only breaks down the tools necessary to create these portraits, but he also shares tips on how to select the proper photograph for inspiration and how to transfer that image to the page.

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How David Hockney’s Early Experiments Shaped His Iconic Style

While David Hockney is best known for his saturated California poolsides, admirers may be less acquainted with the earlier inspirations that were crucial to the artist’s practice. Starting this Tuesday, December 6, Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, will showcase 16 rarely seen works completed at the beginning of Hockney’s career, when he dabbled in different styles, media, and subject matter as he formalized his signature Pop practice. From pressed paper pulp works to lithograph prints, Hockney/Origins channels us through the various influences and techniques, both lifelong and short-lived, the artist zeroed in on between ages 24 and 43.

On loan from a private collection, the works in Hockney/Origins span across observational landscapes and portraiture, modern architecture, and literary references. One of the earliest pieces that anchors the show, “A Grand Procession of Dignitaries in the Semi-Egyptian Style” (1961), encapsulates Hockney’s experimental tendencies during his academic career at the Royal College of Art in London. Inspired by the translation of Greek poet Constantine P. Cafavy’s “Waiting for the Barbarians” (1898) and Pablo Picasso’s 1960 retrospective at the Tate, Hockney loosely rendered three human figures — a clergyman, a soldier, and an industrialist — with stiff, inflated silhouettes across a black stage that cuts across the scene.

Featured image: David Hockney, “Japanese House and Tree” (1978), acrylic on canvas, 72 x 72 inches

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In Rupy C. Tut’s Dreamlike Paintings, Figures Fold Into Landscapes in a Struggle to Belong

In a couple of Rupy C. Tut’s ethereal and symbolic scenes, a cloaked woman merges with a rocky outcrop above a stream, while another reclines above a vast mountain range, holding a single feather. Comprising her solo exhibition Out of Place at Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco, the Oakland-based artist’s paintings feature figures who coalesce with their surroundings and the passing of time.

Tut draws on her Punjab heritage and family history to compose dreamlike scenes in which ancestral figures struggle with taking up space, searching for a sense of belonging and home. The daughter of refugees and a first-generation immigrant, she counts her family’s history of movement, loss, and resilience as essential elements in her creative practice. Using handmade pigments on linen, the artist examines the desire to fit in and connect to one another.

Featured image: “All in a Day” (2023), handmade pigments on linen, 48 x 36 inches. Photos by Philip Maisel. All images © Rupy C. Tut, courtesy of the artist and Jessica Silverman, San Francisco

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