Janna Watson Amongst Top 10 Contemporary Artists in 2021

Contemporary art evolved from Modernism, which was an art movement during the late 19th to early 20th century. Disrupting the traditional modes of art it included the use of different media. Our present day art subverts formal structures and creates totally enriched and subjective perspectives about existence while using media that simultaneously subverts the traditional paint to canvas modes. We take a look below at some contemporary artists leading the art paveway right now creating new meanings with new media.   

1. Andy Dixon

Born in Vancouver, Canada, Andy Dixon uses acrylic and oil pastels on large canvases. Dixon explores the value art brings to the upper-class way of life; he creates scenes of indoor living environments decorated with arty objects. Other work produced by Dixon include scenes from traditional Western art, portraying his characters with a frivolity only commonplace in the contemporary, but nonetheless hinting at deeper social constructs.   

2. Camille Walala

An eye-catching trait of French artist Camille Walala (Vic-Dupont) is her fearless use of colors and geometric shapes on large scales. After studying textiles, Walala moved towards street art, and here her prowess as an artist stares you in the face, literally and figuratively. She creates 3D installations and murals in the urban environment already provided. A notable work is her 'Dream Come True Building' (2015) in Shoreditch.     

3. Heather Day

Based in California, Heather Day, creates abstract compositions on large-scale canvases, murals, and drawings. She uses colour in fluid motions that compose and inform her paintings, additionally, she juxtaposes softer pools of colors in a seemingly wild manner with the starkness, and somewhat deliberate application, of multi-colored 'rays' of lines. Day's inspiration comes from sensory experiences (smells and tastes) and how these would convert to textures and colors.   

4. Janna Watson

Janna Watson is a Canadian abstract painter, currently living and working in Toronto. Her compositions become compositions of paint and color, with the sole intention that the colors become the main character of the show. Watson creates 'moments' of explosive colors, often against neutral backgrounds, that move in and out of reality, a constant escape and return. Additionally, Watson creates her own rugs and textiles, sold through Studio Watson; her rugs are woven with the painterly essence from her abstract paintings. 

5. Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu is an American abstract painter, originally from Ethiopia. Using different media like paint, ink, and pencil drawings she creates large-scale multi-dimensional compositions; from afar it appears as an abstract architectural landscape on a city plan and close-up it becomes an abstract sweep of lines and colors. Mehretu mixes her educational background in design with inspiration from art movements like Futurism and Abstract Expressionism. 

6. Katherine Bernhardt

Katherine Bernhardt is an American artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Her style ranges between Abstract and Expressionist. She is well-known for her series of 'Pattern Paintings', which bring together ordinary objects like coke and hot dogs with pop-cultural images like Pink Panther and E.T. - all in solid monochrome colors with thick outlines appearing rushed in application. Other influences that inform Bernhardt's large-scaled paintings come from Dutch wax printing and the patterns on African textiles. 

7. Leah Guadagnoli

Leah Guadagnoli is an American artist based in Brooklyn, New York and Hudson Valley. She uses paint, sculpture, architecture, and graphic design, as well as the influence of design elements from the 1980/90 eras. She structures her pieces in such a way that it appears geometrically aligned yet fluid and almost amoeba-like in its curves. With soothing pastel colors, almost sweet to the eye, and the 3D tactility of her textures, viewers are almost invited to want to touch it as if picking a slice of cake.   

8. Leelee Kimmel (Sobieski)

Leelee Kimmel is an American abstract artist and former actress. Her modalities include painting, sculpture, and Virtual Reality.  She works on large scales often leaving the background white or black with various bright and colorful elements populating the scene.

9. Osamu Kobayashi

Osamu Kobayashi is a Columbian born artist and works from Brooklyn, New York. His abstract compositions go in a different direction, specifically circular, than the busier abstracts we see around. He depicts numerous simple geometric shapes dispersed in a sea of only a few colors, themselves verging on neon yellows to duller tones like pinks and greys.

10. Thrush Holmes

Thrush Holmes is an abstract painter who lives and works in Toronto, Canada. He creates works that go beyond the boundaries of what anyone considers art 'should' be. He superimposes the bold and bright starkness of neon lights and spray paint over traditional imagery like a pot of flowers. He creates his tradition-meets-punk compositions on large scales (20-ft), not only allowing the viewer to feel everything, but to see up close and personal the bold use of mixed media.

Conclusion

While there are certainly more abstract artists paving their way in the contemporary art world, the above artists are prime examples of how contemporary art evolves as the artist evolves and vice versa. It is testament to the fluidity of contemporary art, specifically abstract art and the utilization of many media to express the depths of life. 

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