ARTisSpectrum Vol.30, November 2013 - page 98-99

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ARTisSpectrum | Volume 30 | artisspectrum.com
ARTisSpectrum | Volume 30 | artisspectrum.com
99
T
he paintings of
Kenji Inoue
combine elements of animé with
surrealism and the sensibility of traditional Japanese landscape
painting. Some of Inoue’s paintings are almost cubist in their angularity
and abstraction, while others have the rough feel of a sketch, and still
others have the smooth, bright coloring of American cartoons. His work
is a study in contrasts and all the more interesting for it.
Within the fantastical landscapes of Inoue’s work is the push-pull of hard
and soft, recognizable and unfamiliar, comforting and jarring. Whether
his paintings contrast a seemingly benign landscape with an incongruous
cartoon figure, or depict a cluster of surreal objects that seem to be
floating in space, Inoue captures the viewer’s attention with a sense of the
unexpected. He also works with a wide variety of mediums like acrylic and
oil, and in a variety of techniques from soft, impressionistic brush strokes
to bold lines and colors. Perhaps it is because of this constant crossing of
artistic genres and styles that Inoue’s paintings seem to occupy moments
of metamorphosis, as if his work is in a constant process of alchemical
change.
Mozubotch Oil on Canvas 36” x 23.5”
Kenji Inoue
B
ritish artist
Biddy Hodgkinson
explores the profound relationship between humans and the natural world in her abstract
expressionist mixed media on canvas paintings. Central here is a focus on the cycles of death and the great beauty that can
be found within this often negated process that’s so intrinsic to nature. In her artistic process, Hodgkinson uses harmful agents
such as acids to deliberately eat away swaths of color on the canvas, effectively showcasing them in the context of their own
negation. As Hodgkinson explains, “In my painting, inspiration comes from close observations of life cycles, with particular
focus on plants and molds. My fascination is the endless metamorphic process, where often the beauty and luminosity exist in
the decay, not just the ripeness of youth. Whilst colors can be vivid, they are offset against their own inevitable deterioration,
disappearance, and loss.”
In combining both industrial materials and natural ones to create
her canvases, Hodgkinson achieves an accurate reflection of the
intersections between human and nature that exist in this world.
Compositions are edgy yet fluid, filled with an unnamable tension
yet at the same time soothing to behold. If one looks close enough,
one can see how the stirrings of decay give way to a breathtaking
beauty just waiting to be discovered.
Hodgkinson hopes that through her art, viewers can be re-
introduced to the culture of death and see all the beauty that
lies within. In this way, her hope is that eventually humans will be
able to develop a culture of understanding living and dying as
synonymous. Above all, Hodgkinson wishes for her paintings to
“encourage people to look beneath the surface—to help people
surrender and to perhaps find something they didn’t see.”
Biddy Hodgkinson
Iced Pink Mixed Media on Canvas 59” x 47”
Dear II Mixed Media on Canvas 35.5” x 31.5”
Biddy Hodgkinson
J
uan G. Restrepo
’s intricate acrylic paintings update traditional
mysticism and artistic techniques by using a wholly current
aesthetic. The artist’s recent works fall into two categories: his personal
interpretations of the mandala, the ancient symbol for the universe
found in Hindu and Buddhist art, and a series of spare yet powerful
abstracts. In both genres, Restrepo keeps the fundamentals while
updating the energy to something pulsing and raucous.
Restrepo employs vivid colors – some almost bordering on neon –
in counterintuitive, exciting combinations. His brushwork echoes the
emotional force of the Abstract Expressionists, and his unnatural,
compelling palette is reminiscent of the confrontational works of the
Neo-Dadaists. But Restrepo is unique in his spontaneity, his immediacy,
and his emphasis on the line even in compositions that seem to contain
no planes, only clouds of color. His compositions rely on the collision of
hues with significant force and a constant sense of surprise. Restrepo
has said one of his goals is to create “positive energy” from his works,
turning his art historical references into a visual symbol for an entirely
new audience.
Restrepo was born in Colombia. In addition to painting, he is an
accomplished sculptor.
Heart Break Acrylic on Canvas 69.5” x 61”
Juan G. Restrepo
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