In the art world, few mediums feel as visceral as a painting. There’s the relentless attention to detail from photorealist painters, the distressing representations of the psyche, and the utter ecstasy of works teeming with desire. Artists like Lizzy Lunday zero in on the artifice of obsession, while those like Sara Birns warp and remold the human face to play around with the meaning of recognition. A canvas is all that’s needed to center the viewer in the present moment, to blast through and touch the spirit, and along the way, reshape perspective. For the 2023 Art Issue, NYLON brings you the newest crop of talented and thrilling artists, those who are pushing the boundaries in the ever-evolving medium of painting — and they’re only getting started.
Lizzy Lunday, currently on view at Fredericks & Freiser, paints scenes of contemporary glamor with the logic of dreams. The Brooklyn-based artist makes large-scale, collage-like paintings of images culled from pop culture, particularly social media and the cult of reality TV. Borrowing from the genre of history painting — a style of painting coined in 17th-century France for grandiose works that captured major moments in war as well as the Bible — Lunday’s kaleidoscopic work doesn’t just satirize our exaltation of pop culture figures, but chops and skews them, creating new, mesmerizing caricatures that distort our perception of reality. “Clasped,” for example, recalls the memeable photo of Bella Hadid crying at Serena Williams’ final match, showing a Hadid-like figure with hands clasped in a prayer in a palette of coral, pinks, and oranges. The work ultimately exposes the artifice of obsession, all in broad strokes and delicious colors. — Sophia June, culture writer