"My pick this month is Mikéla Henry-Lowe and her celebratory portraits of black women and men. Mikéla’s vibrant paintings are focused on highlighting the beauty, strength and multiplicity of black women and men she depicts, in response to continued negative stereotyping in the media. The process of painting and her fascination with colour, pattern and texture is also central to her work. Mikéla layers the paint in fragments of colour to build skin tone and form, and accentuates the portraits with colour blocking in the background to really make the works pop. I first discovered Mikela’s work when she graduated from Central Saint Martins (UAL) and she continues to go from strength to strength, always looking for new ways to develop her work. If you are looking for contemporary portraiture, it doesn’t come any better."
"Although Rebecca Coleman is equally adept as a wildlife artist, she first came to my attention for her depictions of the urban, subterranean world of the London Underground and it’s never-ending sprawl of tunnels and stations. Yet while this world might seem realistically recognisable Coleman’s use of oddly-angled perspectives (side, floor-to-ceiling, fish-eye mirrors), infinity-line horizons, eerily empty platforms and abstracted geometrical forms engenders a feeling of disquiet and other-worldliness.
These are clever, dizzying and acutely-observed works that make the familiar unfamiliar and give fresh perspective to the daily ‘wallpaper’ of London’s netherworld. This is due, in no small measure, to the media Coleman uses: the stark monochrome of printmaking (linocut, etching and engraving), and the colourful, almost Pop-Art vivacity of acrylic and oil paint. Coleman excels at bringing out the very different qualities inherent in either media, accepting their limitations and capturing the essence of her chosen subject-matter with beguiling skill and ravishing detail. These are works to enjoy again and again with as much to delight as to stall even the weariest and most jaded London commuter (though do look out for Rattus Norvegicus, as much of a constant in Coleman's prints as the scurrying mice in Terrence Cuneo's steam train paintings)! I can't recommend Coleman's work highly enough and at an affordable price these are works to revel in so do take a look."
"Jeff’s work caught my eye because of the detail, intricacy and colour he uses. The pieces have an ebb and flow about them amongst the geometric pattern, with movement and a lightness similar to a piece of fabric or water. I can imagine these would look stunning in a deep frame setting them into their surroundings. ."
"Alexander Moldavanov's paintings takes female portraiture and turns it on its head, as pigment abstracts the face in some instances, or all is left but for a single sultry eye in others. The language of femininity and the human form is emphasised to audacious effect as the beautiful, uncanny and unsettling come together to create visually interesting - and at time political - pieces."
"The first thing that drew me to the abstract paintings of Domenica Brockman was her joyful and vibrant use of colour. Through her use of mixed media she explores shape, volume and texture. Though living and working in the US, her experience of spending time as a child in Africa, informs her work and she’s hugely influenced by hand woven textiles and cloth weavings from the Congo and other areas in Africa. Embroidered tapestries inspire her as she explores the patterns made by the human hand with their irregularities and breaks. She fuses these traditional references with contemporary minimalist references, incorporating collage and a mix of textures on wood panels using encaustic paint (pigmented wax and resin). She breaks up the panels and reassembles them playing with composition which, though rigorously planned, have the appearance of coming together by chance. She combines grids, geometry and colour to great effect with original nods to geometric and minimalist art. These strong abstract works would enhance any white wall."
"Without further ado let me introduce you to Kazuhiro Higashi. And what a lovely find he is. Led by an insightful curiosity for experimentation Kazuhiro beautifully balances colour, form and texture to give birth to these beautiful little works. I have focused my choices on Kahuhiro’s most recent works as these seem to be less forced and more complete.
These later works certainly appear to be less disparate and perhaps more distilled. Perhaps Kahuhiro has become more aware of his intentions and in finding ways to resolve his dilemmas. The experimentation is still evident but is more focused/controlled and the works are becoming all the more clearer for it.
The works are easy on the eye. They are inviting. They are small and well rounded. They make you happy. They are intelligent and nuanced. They make me want to be them.
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Cover image via Domenica Brockman