Showcasing alongside Asia Now, from the 21-24th October is the next edition of the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC). First appearing in 1974, over the years this prestigious event has made its home all over Paris. With the original Salon taking place in the old Bastille station, the event moved to the Grand Palais before being installed for several years in the luminous Porte de Versailles exhibition space. This year, FIAC can be found once again at The Grand Palais, bringing together over 200 exhibitors, including many of the most influential and innovative contemporary artists and designers from around the world.
To celebrate these modern masters, and to highlight our new Invest In, Acclaimed and Bestseller artist badges, SINGULART’s latest auction, Painting Now: Celebrating FIAC Art Week, will exclusively feature our top-performing and globally recognized contemporary artists.
To let you get to know our carefully selected artists and their paintings a little better, we’ve taken a deep-dive into the works of Casey McKee, Anne Brenner, and Dourone. Learn about their techniques, discover their messages, and get inspired!
Casey McKee’s strength as a contemporary artist arises from his unique perspective and spicy wit. Intrigued by hybridity, not only does he overlay photography with oil painting, but in each of his artworks one element spars with the next. In this painting, McKee’s alludes to the historic tradition of Western Portraiture. With his subject’s head adorned with an ornate headdress, her positioning in a classic three-quarter profile, and her title and austere gaze, The Marchioness’s Knappa perfectly reflects McKee’s interest in portrait painting of the nobility during the 16th-18th centuries.
And yet, whilst channeling the solemnity of this genre, at the same time, McKee strikes a ridiculous note in his artwork. The woman in the painting, in reality, is not a Marchioness, but a friend of the artist’s, photographed 6 years ago while the two were living in Shanghai. Furthermore, her Knappa is no prized headdress, but is the name of the Ikea lamp that sits atop her head. This contradiction between the seriousness of the portrait and the fact that it is a cheap Ikea lamp on her head, not an expensive coronet creates a pleasing tension, as McKee pokes fun at the 0.1%, who feel that they are entitled to own vast quantities of the planet’s wealth and resources.
The painting is in fact full of these pleasing juxtapositions. The foregrounded portrait, which retains the original photograph’s detailing, is balanced by the subtly added landscape and hazy backdrop. Likewise, the black and white color-palette reserved for the portrait strikingly differs from the ethereal rainbow mist surrounding the figure. With these clever contrast, McKee enhances his philosophical critique of the dichotomy of wealth distribution, all whilst perfectly demonstrating his ‘one part flippant, one part earnest, two parts satire’ style.
Central to Anne Brenner’s painting Le Chien Bleu is the concept of dynamism. As the artist herself describes, in this rendition of a Dalmatian, ‘the dog’s eye looks at the viewer and this axis allows me to visually recreate the whole animal.’ More than just central to her imagination of this piece, the eye is also the central focal point in this painting’s otherwise chaotic yet joyful whirl of motion and color.
Brenner’s technique of layering photographs atop each other as part of her artistic process, adds to the painting’s ability to capture a moment in mid-motion. The influence of photography can clearly be seen in the dog’s dark blue shadow, which overlaps the animal’s half transparent body, giving the impression of a long-exposure shot. Furthermore, with half of the dog’s face painted white, the other blue, one eye black, the other orange, Brenner’s paining teeters on the edge of turning into a negative image, which alongside her used of highly saturated and opposing colors, creates an energetic atmosphere through contrast.
With her wide source of inspiration, from contemporary art, to poetry, to the Quattrocento style from 15th century Italy, Le Chien Bleu also reflects Brenner’s characteristic confluence of several artistic movements. Its loose brushstrokes and playful attitude towards light, reflected in the dark blue shadow of the dog are highly Impressionistic. The broad and decided swathes of color doubly evoke Expressionism and pre-Renaissance colored panels, and the bright, contrasting orange, pink and blue hues are reminiscent of Pop Art.
Another contemporary artist who draws inspiration from technology is Dourone. By fragmenting images, this emerging Spanish artist creates a new interpretation of figurative artwork, full of his signature bright color palettes and geometric abstractions. Although painted with a brush on cotton canvas, using acrylic and spray paint, the influence of videography is palpable in CASSANDRE 00: 00’02.
The painting, one of the first artworks created for Dourone’s FRAGMENTED RECORD project, shows the model, Cassandre, simultaneously in 2 different seconds, along with representational objects from her life. To capture and conjoin these different moments in time, Dourone starts by filming and photographing his subject. From the resulting footage, he chooses two images which he then works on digitally, cutting and creating glitches in his composition. Once happy, the digital creation is hand painted onto the canvas, where a high level of attention is given to the quantity of tones and colors presents.
With the artist’s interest in multiple perspectives and the painting’s pixilation, CASSANDRE 00: 00’02 invokes the cubist portraits of artists such as Picasso and Klee. The primary lilac and yellow tones in the painting create a wistful, sentimental tone, and with the color of her hair repeating in the bouquet of the flowers, her face appears as yet another upturned flower. Situated in the Dourone’s larger SPACE TIME collection, it is easy to see how this painting takes on series’ central aim: to stress the speed at which our lives pass before our eyes.