Five Figurative Artists

text and photos courtesy of Reyes Contemporary Gallery

Featuring Artworks by Jeff Bertoncino, Philip C. Curtis,

Daniel Funkhouser, Beverly McIver and John Millei

Since the beginning of painting, the figure has been used as a subject matter to explore the art of painting in the expression of the personal narrative.  Whether the artist has used their likeness in their work or whether the artist has rendered a human body to express the story in the painting, it is an extremely personal and deliberate act of outward appearance and visual vulnerability.

These five artists are brought together to juxtapose the different artistic sensibilities and techniques that render the human body.

Jeff Bertoncino

#405 by Jeff Bertoncino
The mixed media oil paintings of Bertoncino are richly layered and nuanced figurative works that go beyond mere representation and the expressive qualities of the body and flesh to address deeper visual and philosophical issues that transcend time and place.  Bertoncino’s figures are not gender specific or individualized, yet in recent years, the female form is used for expressing the iconic status of women he holds great in his heart.

Philip C. Curtis

Afternoon Performance by Philip C. Curtis
Curtis (1907-2000) was an American painter who is best remembered for his surrealist-inspired style scenes often featuring figures in Victorian dress. He was called a “Magical Realist,” and “Magritte of the Old West“. Many of Curtis’s paintings resemble designs for a stage setting and many represent people on stage. The message, repeated in other ways in many of his works, is that human beings are ephemeral performers, inhabiting a world that is indifferent to, or simply unconscious of, one another. Curtis’s works are in the collections of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institute, the Phillips Collection, Washington D.C., Phoenix Art Museum and Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa.

Daniel Funkhouser

My Child Was An Honors Student by Daniel Funkhouser
By interweaving traditional techniques with experiments with digital technology, these self-portraits delight in the gray areas of contemporary identity and its fluid defiance of definition. Playful yet severe, autobiographical yet universal, these works diversely cross representations and expectations of personal history.  By combining novel fabrication techniques, commercial and industrial materials, synthetic toy-like media and classical art-viewing contexts, he hopes to create surprising experiences full of childlike wonder.

Beverly McIver

Still Here by Beverly McIver
McIver is a powerful force in contemporary American art. She applies an impasto of primary oil colors onto canvas to vividly express the emotions of her portrait subjects. Often it is the face of a family member, friend or herself that McIver paints to explore the human psyche and struggle. Her work has been reviewed by the New York Times, and in 2011, Art in America magazine recognized her as one of the “Top Ten in Painting.”  McIver is the 2017-18 winner of the Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. She has been the recipient of many awards, including the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation, Artist of the Year- Scottsdale Cultural Council, Louis C. Tiffany Award, Creative Capital Grant, Guggenheim Fellowship, Radcliffe Fellow, Research and Creative Activity Award, ASU.

John Millei

Portrait 2015 by John Millei
Millei’s work can be best described as Abstract and Expressionistic; employing mainly secondary and tertiary colors in gestural strokes of thick paint. Alternating between organic and geometric shapes and designs, Millei’s work leaves the observer with a mixture of feelings, rather than perceivable images. His trademark of pairing painting with prose adds an extra element to observing his work.  It’s about Millei’s strategic investigation of contemporary figure painting, portraiture and the abstraction and figuration. It’s inevitably to consider notions of structure, painterly hand, the historical continuum, looking at the paintings, and the allure of unrelenting confidence in formal skill that Millei houses.

GO FIGURE:  Five  Figurative Artists 

Through April 28

The Gallery at Mountain Shadows i

Curated by Reyes Contemporary Art, LLC.