Born in 1919 in Carinthia, Austria, Maria Lassnig was a contemporary painter who passed away at 94 in 2014 in the Austrian capital, Vienna. The foundation of her internationally established career is her impressive and extensive body of work, examining the body’s physical presence. Lassnig introduced the term Körpergefühl, or body awareness, to describe more precisely the phenomenon she was capturing with her works.
After encompassing academic training, and experimental phases of Surrealism, Automatism, Art Informel, and Post-Cubism, Lassnig developed an expressive and personal style in the 1960s in Paris and New York, respectively. She recorded physiological states, using the contrast of color with her characteristic greens, pinks, and blues, combined with her unparalleled expressive lines demarcating the body and its awareness.
Lassnig drew power from being a female artist in a dominant male art world. Doing so, it became her primary subject. Finally, in the 1980s, her career received international recognition, in Europe, as she had seemed to pioneer Neo-Expressionism and a newly reinvigorated interest in figurative painting. Very soon, it became most clear Maria Lassnig is one of the most important figures in contemporary painting. As a result, Lassnig has exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Albertina in Vienna, the National Gallery in Prague, the Kunstmuseum in Basel, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
For further reading on Maria Lassnig, we highly recommend the monograph Maria Lassnig: Ways of Being, published by Hirmer Publishers in 2019.
B. 1981, Silver Spring, Maryland. Lives and works in Los Angeles, California
Mockrin traces her unique figurative style back to her early teens. “I was obsessed with Bonnard at the time, and I painted my best friend over and over again in the bathroom—in the tub, washing her face, washing her hair,” she explains. “In high school, when my painting class took a field trip to do plein air landscape painting, I painted a picture of my legs instead. I feel like I have always been able to see the figure better than anything else and gravitated towards painting it.” Mockrin’s enticing paintings are marked by smooth planes of color and textures, from shiny fabrics to soft skin. “The themes I return to again and again in my painting are the truncation of the body, the slippery nature of gender categories, and the construction of space.” Her recent paintings strike a surreal balance between contemporary men’s fashion pictorials and 18th-century European painting (namely Fragonard); dreamy scenes are populated by dolled-up dandies and androgynous white arms and legs poking out from cascading gowns, couched in lush flora or fabrics. “For me, a successful painting is built around a figure, even if it’s just a small piece of a body,” she notes. “That piece is the charge, the element that holds the rest together.”
Nina Chanel AbneyB.
1982, Chicago, Illinois. Lives and works in New York, New York
At first glance, Abney’s graphic colorful style might recall modernist painter Stuart Davis, but her subject matter is distinctively contemporary. Abney’s narrative paintings and collages—filled with a pulsating mix of color, text, and figures—swiftly tackle topics related to race, gender, and politics. Dreams, personal experience, and conversations inspire her works; police brutality has figured prominently in recent paintings, leading many to associate the works with the Black Lives Matter movement. The artist has gained steady momentum ever since a fierce MFA thesis show at Parsons in 2007 that caught the attention of her gallery, Kravets Wehby, and the Rubell Collection, which led to her inclusion in the important traveling exhibition “30 Americans.” Her works were recently shown at the Whitney, and this can be seen as part of the artist-run super PAC “For Freedoms” at Jack Shainman and in Jeffrey Deitch and Joseph Sitt’s outdoor street art exhibition Coney Art Walls.
“With each painting, I tell a different story of my feelings, the people I meet, and the phrases I say. I take a portion of my life and soul and leave them on the canvas,” OLY admits in her interview.
Creative and visionary artists can easily recognize the combination of certain colors and original patterns made in the author’s technique.
OLY.B’s canvases decorate the homes and places of celebrities and influencers.
Her favorite material is acrylics.
Two of her more well-known and prominent paintings are named “Pervaded” and “Jenga”.
OLY. B is an innovative artist from Los Angeles. She combined several popular trends and created her unique style.
OLY. B paints with a closed plot but an open ending. The central image is a woman personifying unity. She is powerful, expressive, sensual, frank, and erotic. Wise as nature, naive as a child.
According to the author, all of her works are personal episodes, conveying not only a stunning picture but also the events she had experienced in her life.