My difficulty starting to look at different artists was I was not clear what “contemporary” really means.
Anthony Green’s work is described as polygonal forms and over the years these have become more and more complex. Some of them remind me of the phase of Hockney’s work where he was taking series of digital prints (Polaroid ) when laid together formed an overall image with juxtaposing – lines not matching.
There is a sense of stretching the space with both these kinds of work. Also changing the alignment of the planes so that looking is a greater challenge and you tend to notice more because of it.
Most of Pearlstein’s paintings are considered from an overhead view and interestingly as above the whole figure is not always included. Again this means that you have to do more work in order to interpret what you are seeing.
I find them engaging and reminiscent of Jenny Saville’s work where she depicts the body in very stark and often unattractive ways.
She uses extreme angles looking from below the figure which emphasises the enormity of the flesh.
So I went back as far as Edward Hopper because he had such a distinct way of creating time and place in his paintings. They depict the lonely mostly individuals in urban and rural settings in the USA 30- 50s. The mood is often sombre and restrained, life, place etc hinted at often through windows. His most well known works are in oils although he painted beautiful watercolours. I also liked this drawing which reminded me of Vuillard – my favourite 19-20th century interiors painter.
This was labelled as Hitchens last painting. Although in oils his works whether interiors or landscapes always had a very spontaneous feel to them. He was working through to the 70s. His paintings tend to be bright, warm, homely and inclusive. Hitchens was able to render the simplest still life full of energy and colour.
Caufield most often worked on interiors using strong blocks of colours and also line. Some cite his work as photo realism. He was able to create very strong compositions often using very few tones or colours as is this painting above. Working from the 50s until his death in early 2000s he seemed to be the fashion and then beyond the fashionable sticking with his style throughout his long career.
In an interview Carole Rabe talked about her trying to depict presence in interiors without painting figures. I picked her because it was quite difficult to find a painter who currently paints in a “traditional” style but contemporary settings. I find her work very evocative of current comfortable middle-class American life. Light pouring through windows, it always seems to be summer.
I like the multi-dimensional aspect of this phase of Hockney’s work. This phase of work dates from his Californian life from the 80s. Again the light is relevant through the colours and sharp shadows. Also the indicate multi-level living with high ceilings and big windows. They are positive, upbeat and very indicative of the lifestyle of time and place.
Everything from modernism to pop-art is cited when discussing the work of Jonas Wood. Also working in the West Coast of America. They feel very contemporary and often include current architectural styles. His very precise blocks of colour and shape in some ways recall the work of Caufield . He is also painting his own environment.