Welcome back to Volume III of the Criminally Underrated Contemporary Visual Artists series, where I talk about three of my favorite artists to show my support for their art and craft.
In today’s episode: Brandi Milne, Hélène Padoux and Saner Edgar.
Brandi Milne (American, 1976)
Describing herself as a “Wonder Maker,” American painter and writer Brandi Milne has an extremely recognizable style, characterized by vibrant colors and whimsical creatures. Her art is, in a nutshell, the visual equivalent of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.
Born and raised in the late 1970s and early 1980s surrounded by classical cartoons, toys, candles, Disneyland, and similar pop culture items, Brandi decided to bring her childhood world back to life as an adult.
Though falling under the category of “cute,” her paintings have some creepy elements to them that remind me of Tim Burton’s movies, especially Nightmare Before Christmas: skeletons, naked creatures, decapitated dolls, puppies with tiny teeth and black, empty eyes. It’s precisely this combination that makes Brandi’s art so fascinating and worthy of visibility.
Her upcoming solo exhibition will be hosted at Corey Helford Gallery from October 29th.
Hélène Padoux (French, 1993)
Whenever I think of French artist Hélène Padoux, I think of fruit. And rightly so, because most of her art precisely focuses on that: the humanization of fruit, especially cherries and pears.
One painting I find fascinating is “Hike and seek inside of my stomach,” which also bears an interesting title:
The painting consists of two conjoined cherries–though only one is humanized–resting in a mysterious environment that, if it wasn’t for the title, would be even more open to interpretations.
So now I wonder: are these cherries inside of the artist’s stomach, playing hide and seek? Maybe waiting to be digested? Or is this a reference to a possible pregnancy? The title is so playful that she might as well be referring to that.
Her last exhibition, “The next time I am dreaming, I will realize that I’m dreaming,” has just closed at no gallery.
Saner Edgar (Mexican, 1981)
Saner Edgar is a Mexican artist that pays tribute to her land’s traditions through her graffiti-inspired art.
Romantic at their core, her paintings are cartoonish, but in a Latino way: the masks worn by her characters recall Incan and Mayan folkloric traditions, as well as the colors and the actions these characters are performing.
Some notable symbols are skeletons and animals, references to el Día de los Muertos in Mexico, shown in the following works:
Two of her artworks I’m absolutely enchanted by are “Amor en la vida” and “Amor en la muerte:” the paintings–one representing life, the other representing death holding two heart-shaped objects–are mirroring each other, hinting that one wouldn’t be complete without the other, and this concept makes both of them special.
Cover image credits: “Fiend (the Ever Hunger, Wild Beast)” | Brandi Milne | Acrylic on panel | 33″ x 44″