Masters of paint: new contemporary painters

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Francesca DiMattio

New contemporary painters: Francesca diMattio
image © Francesca DiMattio (detail)


US: born 1981

DiMattio's highly detailed canvases merge architectonic structure and geometric swathes of colour with meticulously rendered figurative detail, an aesthetic reminiscent of postwar European modernism and 'Fifties design, which differed subtly from its American counterparts in that it was was less immediately influenced by Abstract Expressionism.

The explosion of form typical of her work is offset by intense structural restraint, itself often echoed in the presence of grid-like layers within the picture plane.

Re-working a neglected aesthetic into an exciting new idiom, DiMattio's painting is rich with period reference and sweeping visual verve.


Great American contemporary painters
image © Francesca DiMattio (detail)

Tala Madani

Top emerging contemporary painters: Tala Madani
image © Tala Madani


Iran: born 1981

Madani's intimate, energetically executed works are deceptively simple in appearance. Her brushstrokes are vigourous yet certain, while the two-dimensional, cartoonish characters that populate the artist's work are intrinsic to a biting irony.

Madani investigates gender and sexual identity through a specific focus on the Middle Eastern male, lampooning masculine ritual and machismo.

Although on one level she seems to approach this subject with a certain amused sympathy, on others she explicitly links male behaviour to agression and crisis.

Scenes of blood and gore are common as her protagonists mindlessly engage in gratuitous violence; social gatherings turn into absurd, messy romps, and an over-abundance of testosterone necessitates mutual hair plucking, shaving and preening.

Madani's men are depicted as hirsute, overgrown babies - children at play, but nonetheless capable of dangerous games.


Best contemporary painters: Tala Madani
image © Tala Madani (detail)

Nina Chanel Abney

Emerging contemporary painters: Nina Chanel Abney
image © Nina Chanel Abney (detail)


US: born 1982

Abney's vivid, upbeat paintings portray a colourful world in every sense. Her beautifully drawn characters reverberate with personality and life, playing out roles that are far more mysterious than her paintings' everyday settings might indicate. "I have a definite story in my head" says Abney, "but I like to leave it to the viewer to figure it out".

Common themes, however, include politics, race and the public's fascination with celebrities. A recurring motif of yellow rubber gloves deftly symbolises misdemeanour or crime: a character wearing them (and many do) is guilty, according to Abney, of some kind of "dirty work".


New contemporary painters: Nina Chanel Abney
image © Nina Chanel Abney (detail)


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