This is my latest painting which remains untitled. It runs along the same lines of my previous painting, but was initially thought out a little more than the last one.
I had set out to paint the figure in dark, natural flesh tones, but just as I was about to start applying the paint, the painting caught the eye of one of my studio mates. At that point the skin was just the colour of the underpainting, which is red. She loved how it resembled a two tone screen print or poster.. and that got me thinking. I started considering a red skin tone and how that could change the painting’s impact.
This painting draws influence from religious paintings. I love the power of religious iconography, and this painting uses the languages of Tibetian thangka paintings, and Christian icon paintings.
This painting is 36″ x 24,” and is oil and bronze leaf on wood panel.
Justin Mortimer’s paintings are wonderfully executed. He demonstrates a masterful use of paint, and negotiates an erie sense of spacial relations. Mortimer’s imagery is nothing less than unsettling, and the selection of works here are some of his safer, less horrific examples. Looking at his site I got a sinking feeling in my belly, without any interest to look away. Mortimer paints scenes of devastation, human fragility and desperation in what seems like a post apocalyptic world.
Looking at Mortimer’s work reminds me this obsession of looking at the horrific imagery of the recent tsunami in Japan as it plays over and over in the media; I find it heart wrenching and saddening, yet I don’t look away. My heart goes out to the Japanese.
So I ask myself, what can we take away from such realities and situations? I suggest we reach out and show our love one another a little bit more.
If you are willing to stomach it, check out more of Mortimer’s paintings on his site.
‘Other’ is a Canadian artist who’s work I’ve been admiring for years in the streets of Montreal. Other started out painting freight trains in the late 80s and is now doing street art and exhibitions around the world.
Other’s paintings are typically quite colourful mashups of patterns, line drawings and realistic renderings of men’s faces. I get the sense that his different approaches to painting within any one work reveal many worlds and cultures coming together and express the complexity that make up our world as a whole. The expressions on the faces of his figures are pensive and sombre or express sternness and anguish, which is quite the contrast to the brilliant colours and patterns. Much of Other’s work is done on found objects, often on wood panels.
Other will be exhibiting in Saskatoon in the show ‘By What Authority‘ on April 16th, along with Omen and other great street artists. Check out Other’s Flickr for endless amounts of old and new work. He is also repped by Montreal’s Yves Laroche Gallery.