Johan Barrios (Colombia/Texas) is interested in the intersection of time and place using the human form as a marker, engaging a tension between the body as subject and the body as an object. Barrios takes up the phenomenon of suspended time with a warmth that references antique tintype photographs. Further pushing visual boundaries, Barrios will often obscure the face by adding graphic elements to his meticulously rendered figures, resulting in a dark and fearless whimsy. These choices force the viewer to engage, crossing the canvas, again and again, to take in every detail.
Shayne Murphy (Texas) envelops his figures in crisp, kimono-like folds that give the works the formality of ritual. It is in fact ritual that lies at the heart of Murphy’s compositions. As a trained graphic designer, the process of creating balance within his work is a careful dance of additions and subtractions. How Murphy uses the negative space becomes just as important as the primary subject matter. Shape becomes a living, breathing entity in these works. A finely rendered portrait of a black bag floating in space will give the hint of a human presence and with it an implied darkness that is never fully explained. It is this mystery that also lends itself to the feeling that the viewer is witnessing a moment of magic.
The paintings of Alexis Zambrano (Mexico/Brooklyn) read like a cabinet of curiosities of his perspectives and passions. Growing up in Monterrey, Mexico in an avid art-collecting family, he developed an early appreciation for art, apprenticing with well-known artists Aldo Chaparro, Juan Torres and Ximena Subercasauz, already by the age of 12. Zambrano went on to earn a BFA in Architectural Design from Parsons the New School for Design and made New York City his home in 2008. Since then Zambrano has been incorporating elements of his life and loves in a slowly developing visual diary through paintings that bring together highly aesthetic points of history with architecture & high-design.
Catherine Kaleel (Los Angeles) paints with nostalgia, a potent medium that tugs at the heart and makes the viewer yearn for the kind of simple joy that her subject matter inspires. By focusing purely on object she implies activity and longing. The hyper-realism in which she paints is broken in areas of pure gesture as if she is purposefully reminding the viewer that these tokens of childlike wonder must stay in the past, recalled only in memory and on canvas. Kaleel is a recent student at the Laguna College of Art and Design and currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
Cisco Merel (Panama) is a relative veteran of whimsy. Combining the compositional awareness of a classical painter and the graphic qualities of a street artist, Cisco builds a post-modern Utopia, creating moments of beauty and color infused into a world of chaos and concrete. His large-scale murals appear all over the world and his paintings express a sense of every place. Merel earned his BFA at the University of Art in Ganexa, Panama in 2004 and has recently gone on to receive scholarships to artist residencies in Leipzig and Paris. He has been exhibited throughout Central and South America and most recently in Belgium and Germany.
1010 (Hamburg) is known for his perception-bending illusionary murals and work of fine art that combine spray paint with intricately cut metal to form VOIDS that seem to sink back into space but are in actuality, perfectly 2D. 1010 works on walls and exhibits in galleries all over the world. His paintings range from gigantic murals, spanning the length of freeway overpasses and along the sides of 30 story buildings to small intricate paper and metal cutouts. His work for galleries loses none of that grandness. His voids speak of the infinity of space and his linear pieces tend to go on and on in the mind. He goes by the name 1010 (ten ten) as an illusion to one’s and zero’s (binary code), a name that was given to him as an early street artist using the tag 1010 by an arts writer who became highly interested in his work.
Helene Delmaire (France) works from her studio in Lille, a city in Northern France on the border with Belgium. Her dark, moody canvases focus on an arresting combination of traditional techniques, gained from her studies at the prestigious Angel Academy of Art in Florence, and boundary pushing content, composition and color. Delmaire will often use the brush as a weapon as well as a tool, pushing layers of paint aside in one bold stroke across a meticulously rendered face. Her apparent desire to obscure her work as the painter by undoing that which she works so diligently to create is also a philosophy that runs through many of her paintings. The idea that a single moment in time is as precious and fleeting as all life itself. The flowers in her paintings holding just as much presence on the canvas as the people.
Andriy Halashyn (Costa Rica) has wit and wisdom both in biting tales of fashion and war, a juxtaposition created to reveal the truths of contemporary society and to poke fun at our apparent priorities as a society. Taken directly from high-fashion advertising campaigns and purposefully placed against backgrounds of suburban/urban dystopia, Halashyn’s models are blissfully unaware of what ravages around them. His rendering skills are so elevated that he can make a painting appear as if it were a collage, creating a surreal chaos that lends perfectly to the intended humor in which his tableaus are created. Halashyn was born in the Ukraine, first visiting Costa Rica with his father, a notable stained-glass artist. Once there, the young artist fell in love and never looked back, making the country his home for the past 20 years.
Luis Cornejo’s ability to masterfully combine acrylic and oil to fuse hyperrealism with a highly stylized, “super flat” style is highly utilized in his playfully forward use of high profile pop iconography. The artist’s keen sense of humor takes aim at celebrity and video gaming culture presenting questions with wit instead of direct criticism.
Living and working in El Salvador, Cornejo has exhibited individually and collectively in Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Mexico, Canada, and Germany. Cornejo’s career has skyrocketed in recent years, with a scholarship to Berlin (2009-10), top awards from the Salvadorian Museum of Art (MARTE) in 2008, as well as the National Art Awards in 2003 and 2001 (El Salvador).