South African artist Ryan Hewett creates wonderfully eerie portrait paintings. His subjects, while being deformed and abstracted with his brushstrokes, feel unsettlingly and effectively alive.
Throughout Hewett's body of work there is a sense of push and pull in the materiality of paint, as he alternates between abundantly layering muddy colours and thinly applying flat fields of colour. The contrast between the clean, crisp lines against the blended and blurred facial features is extremely satisfying. Hewett's use of colour and effective manipulation of negative space is brilliant. In several works a background colour effortlessly transitions into an article of clothing and works as both simultaneously. The subjects of his portraits read as manipulated mannequins and unsightly headshots and gaze uncomfortably at their viewers with unseeing eyes. Hewett dabs paint onto their skin like wounds, yet still effectively suggests strong facial features within his brushstrokes.
Ryan Hewett's series of work acts as a collection of anonymous portraits, his subjects are unnamed and unidentifiable. We love how their mystery is captivating, and they keep us guessing the identity of each painted figure!