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Art of it All
By Claire Schatz and Lauren Sitton | Photo: Courtesy of Lewinale Havette | July 23, 2018
There’s no easier way to incorporate a bold hue into your space than with art. Here are seven to consider.
Whitney Wood Bailey
A graduate from SCAD, Whitney Wood Bailey uses inventive geometric shapes and explosions of color in her efforts to explore the effects of metaphysical nature in her artwork. With distinguished stints in New York City, as well as internationally in Paris, Shanghai and Hong Kong, Bailey’s artwork demands a second look. The Georgia native’s technique at its foundation is a balance of organic and controlled painting, a nod to the compromising forces of impulse and logic. The linear hatch marks consistent within almost all of Bailey’s pieces are not only telling of her touch, but provide a structure to the fluidity of colors and continue her conversation of human intellect and nature.
Flawlessly marrying vibrant colors, Franco-Liberian fine artist Lewinale Havette defines color as “the absence of monotony.” Havette’s work explores topics ranging from the union of cultures to the theory of the Eve gene. Through the use of self-portraits and sometimes intimate pieces, Lewinale’s work stems from her interest in multiculturalism and cross-cultural relationships. In her piece “Kente Clothe” from the Immortals series, Lewinale uses the sacred Kente clothe, which was often worn by royalty and people of means and importance in West African culture. She explains, “Placing the clothe on the female body pays homage to the woman as the originator of humanity, a common theme in my work.”
Fine lines, contrasting colors and the perception of movement are captured in Khalilah Birdsong’s colorful abstract paintings. As a visual artist, Birdsong bases her studio in the lively and luscious foliage of Maui, Hawaii. The artist uses polychromatic themes to serve as a base for her work before she layers different tints to create artfully uneven saturations filled with textures that allude to corrosion. Birdsong’s work is a combination of exact physicality and balance, which she attributes to her own personal form. Her work parallels celebrated artists like Alfred Leslie, Joan Mitchell, Jean-Paul Riopelle and late abstract artist Gerhard Richter. The artist’s representations are found all over the world in private and corporate collections, with a number of commissioned works as well—not to mention former President Barack Obama owns some of her pieces in his own private collection, which is being evaluated for his presidential library.
With a focus on the interconnectedness of all living things, Alexi Torres brilliantly crafts pieces that are creatively complex and propose a dialogue for viewers of a deeper beauty found beneath a subject. Torres’ memorable weaving elements and texture are a product of his remarkable multilayer technique. Known for his portraits and inclusion of familiar icons, the Cuban painter thoughtfully includes colors to emphasize aspects and accentuate his meaning. “It is so powerful that one block of color can become the artwork itself,” Torres says. In his piece “Duomo di Milano,” Torres further explores the connection between men and nature as the faded orange of a sunset glows behind the complicated architecture of the Duomo.
Handprinting every color and line, Julie Torres assures that the delicate care desired in artwork is found in her collection. The Florida-raised artist—whose printmaking and painting studio is now based in Atlanta—views color as “a pure language of expression.” Each of her pieces follows a color scheme that best supports the theme of the work. As an alumna of the University of Florida, where she received her Juris Doctor, Torres also incorporates her legal background into her current artwork. Her piece “United” highlights the Nineteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and pays homage to some of the women who led the suffrage movement.
A proud stage four oral cancer survivor, Wyanne Thompson expresses her determination to live boldly through her joyful acrylic pieces. After her diagnosis, she says, “colors were much more saturated. … The pools of pigmented color reminded me of the vibrancy of the world.” What began as painting small watercolors while healing evolved into lively, large-scale abstracts. Thompson’s “Tokyo Is Not That Far” shows off her fearless use of textures and unique color combinations, not shying away from the contrast created by using both playful hues and darker tones. Though the cancer took Thompson’s ability to speak, her artwork, she says, has become her new voice.