Three (Kinda) Painters Doing Very Cool Things

We're using the term "painter" loosely here--it's easy to imagine that each of these artists spent a considerable portion of their careers slapping paint onto canvases. But one of them traded the brush for a mouse pad and digital file, another for pen and paper, and lastly, there's an artist whose studio still smells like linseed oil, although his paintings take sculptural forms and exist in three dimensions…

In the work of 32-year-old Chiho Aoshima, gruesome violence, female sexuality, and fairy-tale landscapes coexist in an ultra-slick, computer-generated world of gradated colors and seamless transitions. Aoshima's universe is gruesome, filled with risen spirits, snakes who digest women whole, and girls whose intestines and livers float in the air around them. Devoid of the human hand while mashing up Japanese anime and Ukiyo-e styles, Aoshima's paintings are so entirely seductive that their violent and nightmarish metaphors creep in through a back portal of the viewer's brain and begin their germination while you're still marveling at the tones of purple in her underwater sea, where a grey-haired girl in a flowery red kimono is about to land on its hard, wet bottom.

Young-ish Swede artist Oskar Korsar began as a graffiti artist, then trained as a graphic designer before he began work on his James Ensor-influenced drawings. Told in tentative, sketchy hatch marks, Korsar's highly narrative works depict eerie, anorexic, elfin women at an abandoned campsite in the woods, skeletons dining alone in domestic settings, and radar-eared boys in wheelchairs who pause knowingly in front of the family piano.

Brooklyn artist Taylor McKimens is the loosest of the three, painting on bas-relief sculptures made of plywood, cardboard, and paper cut-outs. His R. Crumb and Peter Saul-influenced illustrative style is heavily informed by Mad Magazine, but McKimens uses comic grotesqueness to explore failure, dejection, consumption, and apathy. McKimens creates diorama-like installations made of painted cut-outs: sprinklers drizzling cartoony droplets, men in their underwear eating hamburgers, and looping extension cords standing on their own. By using drawing and painting to create an immersive environment, viewers experience his abject cartoon space and the "real" gallery space simultaneously.