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November 2013

Christian Rex van Minnen

Christian Rex van MinnenIf Holbein was painting today and was influenced by Salvador Dali, his work might resemble that of  Christian Rex van Minnen. Born in Providence, Rhode Island and now living in Brooklyn, Christian takes the traditional notions of oil painting and twists them into bizarre and grotesque portraits and still lifes. Both compelling and repelling, his work is at once classical and lowbrow contemporary.

van Minnen easily replicates the style of an old Renaissance master, but he distorts and twists the subjects of his paintings, turning them into mangled, infected, catroon-ish beings. He also combines portraiture with still life painting with disturbing results – fruits growing out of a man’s face or a fish tied to a person’s head. And for good measure he even throws in some completely contemporary objects like tattoos or a chair with the phrase “Kill ‘Em All” carved into the back of it.

You can see more of Christian’s work on his website.

Ewelina Koszykowska

We Are Lost_eweJames Buxton writes "Ewelina Koszykowska’s work is nothing short of mesmerizing. She peels away layers of consciousness, imbuing her paintings with an ethereal quality that transports viewers into a spirit world populated by human forms of ghostly delicacy. It is rare to find paintings so rich in detail, yet so minimal in subject matter. The hauntingly beautiful nudes in her paintings linger long in the memory. Below, the New York City–based artist explains, in her own words, the inspirations and experiences which have steered her creative path." 

Ewelina Koszykowska explains her process - The first painting I ever did was a rendition, The Virgin Mary with Babe in the Manger. I won a watch for it in kindergarten. I knew then it was time to become an artist. Initially, I painted images which were heavily fantastical and which explored my childhood. As the work progressed, the intention of chronicling this spiritual life became evident. I also became intrigued with Eastern philosophies. Now with greater refinement, I have returned to where I started: realism and the veil.

For me there is no separation between the spirit and the state of being. The veil is either a mystery or a nonmystery. Through painting nudes under the veil, I wish to bridge the gap between the material and nonmaterial. Many of my paintings include a linear element. The linear element is about connection, paths, planes, borders, boundaries, dualities and direction. Layers are pivotal in my approach to painting veils, which is exactly what they represent to me—layers of the human conscious. As for the evolution into future exhibitions, I’m mostly curious about negative-space at this time. You can follow me on www.ewelinak.com, where I have my blog and other links


Natalia Margulis

Natalia margulis home1a_After MonetOne does not need to work strictly in paint and stone to be considered a fine artist. Once a craft, embroidery is every bit a high art as any other material. And so it is with artist Natalia Margulis whose work patterns painters like Monet. Her intricate carefully rendered worksare sensuous to the eye and tactile to the touch.

National and International exhibited fiber artist Natalia Margulis was born in Russia and graduated from Saint Petersburg University. Since 1993 she worked in U.S.A. as full time artist. Participating in the most prestigious art and craft shows, she has gained recognition and won numerous top awards in contests. Her works were published in the books and magazines, and she taught embroidery classes.

"Inspired by nature's sublime beauty, I use a needle as a versatile instrument to recreate our natural environment as an embroidered textile. With my stitchery I investigate and express the endless transformation of nature through the seasons from new life to decay. The fluid and supple qualities of fiber allow me to reconstruct the natural forms and textures which fascinate me.  Each piece is influenced by my desire to share and bring more meaning and joy into our lives.  I am especially interested in creating the illusions of movement, delicacy, light and shadow.

Embroidered pictures, by means of their softness and vulnerability, awaken a deep sense of belonging to the organic world: through visual perception we experience physical tactility.  The fragility of fiber is used to indicate the fragility of the world and reflects my passionate desire to help save and protect it.  Trying to expand the possibilities to express myself, I include all kinds of hand and machine stitches and often some elements of other fiber techniques such as dyeing, fusing, gilding, beading, heat distressing and embossing. These are my tools to achieve my art."

Stephanie Hirsch

Stephanie HirschThrough her use of beads, sequins and embroidery, Stephanie Hirsch's canvases are literally 'illuminated' with phrases of enlightenment and hope. Continuing her personal investigations into individual development through text, Hirsch ups the ante by removing the "easy access" of familiar graphic elements inspired by iconic punk-rock album covers and adding a recognizable figurative element. The use of the figurative element humanizes her compositions and is based upon self-portraits driven by her fascination on the whole social media "selfie" craze.  Wanting to delve deeper into how "selfies" create an image of how we want to be portrayed in the world rather than who we actually are, she shot her "selfies" while saying and feeling the emotional content in the compositions.  Hirsch states, "I was also inspired by Cindy Sherman's work titled 'Aging Socialite.' Sherman perfectly executed the daunting look in the eyes that spoke of insecurity and fear of a life no longer lived.  My fear of just existing while living promoted my 'selfie' study as well.  I am also profoundly influenced by Barbara Kruger whose text based work questions autonomy and desire, which I yearn and struggle for within myself."


The journey of how Hirsch struggles with her external and internal self creates a unique entry point for the artwork.  The viewer can identify and reflect upon their own personal experiences by simply reading the words and connecting with the visage.  This simple, yet profound shift creates the intimate and introspective underpinning to the work allowing the viewer to oscillate between the beauty of the materials and the message implied. Using insights like "I'd Rather Die on My Feet than Live on My Knees," "I Was Not Built to Break," "We All Find Our Way," and "It's Never Too Late," Hirsch weaves a story of overcoming one's personal adversity and building an inner spirituality that hopefully filters out into the world.


Stephanie Hirsch has shown in exhibitions in New York, the Hamptons, Miami and San Francisco. She was a featured artist in Miami Design District's Art Walk (2012) and showcased in the Mercedes Benz VIP lounge at Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week (2012).  Hirsch was among 30 artists commissioned to create a unique commemorative crown for display in Harrods (London) in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee (2012). Hirsch is the founder of Inca resort wear and author of "Mother Nurture," published by William Morrow (2008).  She lives and works in New York City.