A Selection of Today’s Most Innovative Contemporary Artists
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Walead Beshty has long used photography as a
tool to explore the social and political conditions of our material culture. More recently, the material conditions of photography itself have spurred his continuing investigations of the gap between the physical world and the image world.
Matthew Brandt produces contextual works that employ a process-based approach, in which the output often includes physical elements of the subject itself. Re-framing traditional landscape photography of the American West, the artist concurrently recalls traits of early color film photography. Marco Breuer (b. Landshut 1966) is a German photographer known for his radical approach to the medium. Much of his work is undertaken without the aid of a camera, aperture, or film, being instead produced through a combination of photogrammic, abrasive, and incisive techniques. John Chiara photographs the landscape using long exposures that negate present activity, but at the same time record the photographic event. His practice is part photography, part event, and part sculpture – an undertaking in apparatus and patience. Christopher Colville, b. 1974, is a conceptual and experimental photographer. He uses many different techniques to obtain his photographic works. For his series Dark Emanations he placed dead squid in containers where they emit gaseous clouds of phosphorescent light as they decay.
Walead Beshty @ Wikipedia Marco Breuer @ Wikipedia
Susan Derges, (English, born 1955) is an internationally recognised photographer specialising in camera-less photographic processes. Her Under The Moon series involves working with photographs of the moon and combining these with water and branch patterns exposed to sound vibrations. For several years, Liz Deschenes has explored the technical apparatus of photography—its materials, equipment, and processes. Her resulting body of work is both critically self-reflexive and lushly beautiful, hovering between photographic images and three-dimensional art objects. Dr. Lakra is a tattoo artist living and working near Mexico City. His art involves embellishing found images and objects—for instance, dolls, old medical illustrations, and pictures in 1950s Mexican magazines—with macabre or tattoo-style designs. Marlene Dumas (born 1953), South African born artist and painter who lives and works in Amsterdam. Stressing both the physical reality of the human body and its psychological value, Dumas tends to paint her subjects at the extreme fringes of life’s cycle, from birth to death. Jordan Eagles is a New York based artist who uses blood as his primary medium to create works that evoke life, death, body, spirit, and the Universe.  The works become relics of that which was once living, embodying transformation, regeneration, and an allegory of death to life.  Dr. Lakra @ Wikipedia
Jessica Eaton (b. 1977) makes several exposures rendering up colours unconnected to any solid object. Her most-recognized series is “Cubes for Albers and LeWitt,” for which she utilizes multiple exposures of cubes to explore the layering and blending of primary colors. Ron Ehrlich’s paintings combine the very American dynamic of action painting with the Japanese aesthetic of wood-fired Bizen ceramics. His remarkable surfaces are made from recipes of oil, wax, lacquer, shellac, porcelain and marble dust, fused together sometimes with a blowtorch into a lustrous finish. Adam Fuss is best known for his contemporary photograms of moving light, live creatures, and organic things. His work is often about the discovery of the unseen, and universal, ephemeral themes like life and death.
Emmet Gowin has exhibited for four decades, focused often on his own wife Edith. Perhaps less widely known are his lush gold toned salt prints on handmade paper, which have continued to push new territory in his remarkable career. Bryan Graf (b. 1982) combines black and white film, ambient light and colour negatives for striking results with unusual hues. Reminiscent of light leaks and double exposures, Graf’s mesmerising  patterns of light take the landscape genre and combine it with process-driven manipulations. Adam Fuss @ Cheim & Read Emmet Gowin @ Wikipedia
Iva Gueorguieva’s complex abstract paintings are awash with color, movement and texture. Layering cut fabric, paper and paint on the surface of the canvas to create seemingly chaotic compositions, she notes that the action of creating is for her a way of thinking about space and time. Wade Guyton (b. 1972) is an American artist who makes paintings, even though they are often prints from an Epson printer. Guyton’s purposeful misuse of new technology results in beautiful accidents that relate to daily lives now punctuated by misprinted photos and blurred images on today’s computer screens. Drawing on diverse cultural sources including literature, history, art, music and religion, Idris Khan (b. 1978) has developed a unique narrative involving densely layered imagery that inhabits the space between abstraction and figuration. Bill Jensen has remained  constantly searching within his practice, forgoing the comfort of signature subjects to focus on the process of making a painting. His works point to a synthesis of experiment, emotion, and mood within a single picture. Barbara Kasten has been creating inventive and influential images for more than 40 years. Pushing the boundaries of the photographic, her painterly and sculptural studio based practice is known for its experimantation, inventiveness and theatricality.
Ameringer/McEnery/Yohe Wade_Guyton @ Wikipedia Idris Khan @ Wikipedia Jensen @ Cheim & Read
Kasten @ Artnet
Kim Keever’s photographs are created by meticulously constructing miniature topographies in a 200-gallon tank, which is then filled with water. These dioramas of fictitious environments are brought to life with colored lights and the dispersal of pigment. Rosy Keyser (b. 1974) explores abstract painting of all sizes, from the small to large. Her work mixes found collage materials with painterly techniques: raw, playful and physical. David Lloyd collages together images, as one would compose a letter. His paintings are weathered and stained in a cherished way, like postcards that have been forwarded through all the post offices of the world. The fascination behind Lloyd  Martin’s paintings lies in their balance between the constraints of a formal grid,  and their rhythmic movements within. Despite a strict adherence to a set of parameters, his works continue to push in new aesthetic directions. Ricardo Mazal’s work explores the process of visual perception as it takes form in consciousness. His paintings depict the passage of time, leaving their residue to dissipate in space like a still photograph of a speeding object blurred to abstraction. Keyser @ Artnet
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Carter Mull (b. 1977) creates pictures through a process of re-photographing and altering existing images.  His works intertwine multiple mediums to question our conceptions of the world. Kenyan-born Wangechi Mutu is an artist whose sculptures, works on paper, and installations explore gender, race, and sexual identity using collage and assemblage strategies that create provocative juxtapositions of the female body. James Nares’ paintings seek to capture the very moment of their own creation, frequently made in a single brush stroke, recording a gestural passage of time and motion. Jose Parla’s paintings incorporate calligraphy into pictures that resemble distressed city walls and graffiti. His is a stylistic blend of expressive painting and calligraphic abstraction that evokes musical and topographic overtones. Fascinated by museum collections of older paintings, Jorma Puranen focuses on to the paintings’ surface and light reflections, drawing our attention to the photographic process itself and the complexity of the gaze.
Carter Mull @ Wikipedia Wangechi Mutu @ Wikipedia  Puranen @ Artnet
Eileen Quinlan has become well known in recent years as one of a cohort of photographers who have been disassembling the layered apparatus of photography (light, subject, optics, chemistry, bytes, the material image) and finding new means of expression. Usually appropriated from mainstream cultural sources, Sara Greenberger Rafferty (b. 1978) re-photographs the results of allowing the inks of imagery to bleed. Her work is inspired by a myriad of sources including TV, performers and photographs. Michael Reafsnyder’s paintings burst with color and joyous, frenetic energy. Drizzled, smeared, scraped, scuffed and slippery swipes of wet, acrylic color engulf the canvases like nontoxic spills. Alison Rossiter elicits found and latent imagery (left by fingerprints, moisture, humidity, or accidental exposure) from expired photographic papers without the use of a camera. Thomas Ruff works in series, creating defined bodies of work whose subjects include empty domestic interiors, appropriated interplanetary images from NASA, abstractions of architecture, computer-generated Pop imagery, and obscured pornography. Thomas Ruff @ Wikipedia
Paul Ruiz is a painter living and working in Melbourne, Australia. His work is  informed by visual analysis, drawing and painting of the human figure. Jason Salavon is noted for his use of computer software of his own design to manipulate and reconfigure pre-existing media and data to create new visual works of art.
John Stezaker re-examines the various relationships to the photographic image. In his collages, Stezaker appropriates images found in books, magazines, and postcards and uses them as ‘readymades’. Wolfgang Tillmans (b. 1968),   a German photographer whose diverse body of work is distinguished by observation of his surroundings and an ongoing investigation of the photographic medium’s foundations. James Welling has been exploring the gap between photographic referent and image for nearly 40 years in his experiments with the continually evolving technologies and materials of the medium. John Stezaker @ Wikipedia