Casey Weldon crafts surreal, sometimes absurd paintings that play with the everyday and the otherworldly alike. … “Weldon gambols with the manipulation of scale and contrast to create otherworldly scenes, as though pulled from the cavities of the unconscious and its latent thread-like associations,” the gallery says. “The works alternate between moments of intense darkness and incandescent light, figuratively and literally. Saturated with lush color and detail, they are stylized by idiosyncratic palette choices that capture a range of brightness and atmosphere, from the intensity of neon to the lambent of dusk and the recesses of twilight obscurity.”
Contemporary Surrealistic Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface (support base). The medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush, but other implements, such as knives, sponges, and airbrushes, can be used. Painting is a mode of creative expression, and the forms are numerous.
Painting is one of the most versatile mediums in visual art. It is also a highly personal medium. Painting styles are as varied and idiosyncratic as the artists themselves.
And so it is with surrealistic painting.
Contemporary surrealistic painting ranges from the nearly photographic dreamscapes of Jacek Yerka and Mark Ryden, to the abstract surrealism of Mohammad Zaza, from scribbles on linen to highly detailed horror artists like HR Giger and Zdzisław Beksiński, to visionary artists like Alex Grey and Rudolf Hausner attempting to visualize the spiritual world or religious experience.
George Tooker was an American figurative painter. His works are associated with Magic realism, Social realism, Photorealism and Surrealism. His subjects are depicted naturally but the images use flat tones, an ambiguous perspective, and alarming juxtapositions to suggest an imagined or dreamed reality. He did not agree with the association of his work with Magic realism or Surrealism, as he said, “I am after painting reality impressed on the mind so hard that it returns as a dream, but I am not after painting dreams as such, or fantasy.”
The images… are really about the architecture in the paintings; they seem so massive and strong and permanent but nothing is permanent. The image in the front is very fragile, but it conveys the loaded meaning of everything that is contained in the painting.
The Surrealism of Witness
Reviewing Donald Sultan: The Disaster Paintings exhibit
How to process the persistent horror that earth is being consumed by an unstoppable, self-inflicted inferno? Coping mechanisms… irreverence, nihilism, denial? If none of these sit right with you—if you prefer to fill your lungs with smoke and rot, squint through pollution and shadow, and submit to tragedy rubbernecking—we have good news! New York based artist Donald Sultan spent the better part of the 1980s creating his 59-work series The Disaster Paintings, twelve of which are currently on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC. Though The Disaster Paintings are most known for depicting bleak, industrial, post-war America, the exhibition takes viewers on a comprehensive tour of apocalyptic atmospheres, all of them man-made, and most fiery: environmental, urban, humanitarian, historical, at home, and abroad.
About Donald Sultan
Donald Sultan’s large-scale still life paintings are filled with rich iconography—provocative objects, like bulbous fruits, set against a tar-black background. Although primarily classified as a still lifes, Sultan maintains that his works (despite their representational objects—flowers, lemons, eggs, buttons) are first and foremost abstract. Born in Asheville, North Carolina, Sultan moved to New York City in 1975 upon completion of his advanced studies. He is recognized as a painter, printmaker, and sculptor, and best known for his large compositions made following a unique technique: in place of canvas, Sultan covers masonite with 12-inch vinyl floor tiles, from which he cuts geometric and organic forms. Sultan fills the negative spaces with tar or plaster, followed by a layer of paint; his resulting images are distinctively textured and equally balance the contrast of positive and negative space.
I’ve been creating art most of my life. I started painting seriously about ten years ago, showing my pieces at various local shows in the Allston, MA, area where I was living at the time. Six years ago, I made the decision to get serious and go back to school, graduating in 2015 from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
I’m interested in decay, distressed or worn and used objects, dark humor, emotions, and the underlying stories often overlooked. I love Surrealism, Pop Surrealism, Fantasy and Lowbrow, but don’t strictly define my work in any of those genres because often I stray outside of them.
My preferred mediums are oil and occasionally acrylic. I use traditional methods such as the Flemish seven layer method to build dense, rich backgrounds, and these days often mix accidental/abstract components with realism to create my fantasy landscapes and scenes.
Many of my images and ideas come from my dreams and early fantasies. As a child, I had a very active imagination and I’m still working with some of my thoughts and stories from my past. I’m influenced by fantasy, horror, science fiction, my life experiences and what I see around me in the world today. Some of my themes are completely imaginative and brightly whimsical, others more political and intensely disturbing. To all of this I sometimes add a lowbrow twist, often with dark humor.
My work has for many years been inspired by Carl Jung and exploring my subconscious. I work through painting, assemblage, digital art, and installation, employing various strategies to access animus, the shadow, my elan vital. Through creative expression, I attempt to create the inner reality of my psyche. My work acts as a mirror where I try to see my soul – the inner workings of my mind. It transcends persona and barriers to connect with my true self where I hope to reconcile internal conflicts and heal myself. It would be impossible to communicate these aspects of my psyche verbally. The work is full of symbolism and archetypes which I believe are viewed in turn by the viewer in an unconscious manner. I hope that this will also be as therapeutic for the audience as it is for myself. I invite others to have a glimpse of a mind that is often troubled, anxious and depressed and to find empathy and understanding for people who are suffering from mental illness. I hope to touch the soul of anyone viewing my work. My work varies in style and is mostly influenced by the work of other artists, my mood, and environment. Recently Rauschenberg’s Combines have inspired me to create pieces that incorporate painting and assemblage, sometimes recycling art that I created some time in the past.
Larain Briggs studied Fine Art at Camberwell and education in Art at Goldsmiths in London, UK. Briggs studied for a BSc in Computer Aided Visualisation at the Anglia Polytechnic University and Art Therapy at the Institute for Art in Therapy and Education. Briggs now focuses on her multidisciplinary art practice full time.