Circle Logos > High Art: The Transformation of Gwen AP
Space Citrus w/ a Side of Berry
One of the seminal works by artist Gwen A.P, Space Citrus w/ a Side of Berry is what first attracted many keen eyes to this budding artist. Her artistic style has developed since this painting, but without losing the originality that caught my eye in the first place. In recent years she has live painted multiple times with the Disco Biscuits, and her artwork was featured on the album cover of Conspirator’s Live from the Georgia Theatre.
Many of Gwen’s recent works have a transformative aspect to them. Bursting with color and movement, they are indicative of an artist finding her voice on the canvas. It is clear that notoriety and confidence have emboldened her style and engendered her willingness to bring the emotional undertones that were always present– albeit more subtly– to the forefront of her artistic narratives. Now we see strikingly emotive faces, movement, and color that are clearly expressive of an overall theme that permeates each work. To use a music metaphor, Gwen has stopped jamming; she’s now getting into the verses. From what we can tell, she is a gifted lyricist.
The female figures now prominently featured in many of her works are the antithesis of post-feminist artistic expression and possess a psychedelic character all her own. While many of the works are close-ups of the female figure, focusing on the emotive qualities of facial and body language, none of her work has lost its original appeal.
Not all of her recent works include a female figure. Lotus Thoughts is a prime example of Gwen’s ability to bring a calming serenity and full feeling to an empty space. The canvas is traversed by a floral arrangement, cut off in unexpected places by geometric, horizontal brushwork that smears and stretches the finely rendered details over what would otherwise be empty space. Gwen’s ability to fill the void between hard lines and blotted outlines is a skill she is developing aptly. The gradient of colors gives the almost square painting a horizontal orientation that draws the eye from side to side seamlessly.
The painting below, titled Ling Ling, is a beautiful portrayal of an orangutan and a butterfly and a pleasant reminder of Gwen’s range. Though best known for her prowess in new age expressionist-psychedelica, she is equally if not more skilled at portraying the correct anatomical structures of the animal kingdom in the fashion of the old masters.
Gwen’s live paintings have garnered her much notoriety over the past year, and for good reason. Her paintings inspired by live music display Gwen’s adept ability to capture the mood that the music creates. Her flowing contrasts between light and dark encircle the mandala-like orbs that have become a trademark of her live pieces. The raw dripping effect (created by letting paint drip and then turning the canvas so that the drips seem to defy gravity) contrasts with the smooth flowing brushwork of the cloud, and floral patterns divide the space between the gradated color fields. Moving from muteness to an explosion of color, it is easy to see that sound was the inspiration for this work.
Gwen has not left her roots behind with the adoption of a new style and phase in her artwork. Always, she harkens back to what she describes as the inspiration for much of her early and present work: the Biscuits. This painting, completed as a commemorative piece for Camp Bisco XI, combines the fun and light-heartedness of a caricature with the unrelenting geometric abstractions that pervade large portions of her body of work.