Some artists create paintings that look like real life, while Daniel Bilmes creates paintings that look entirely like another medium. The Los Angeles-based artist weaves ethereal female figures into abstract environments by raking nearly dry paint. As a result, his subjects seem to float in a spellbinding dreamscape.
Bilmes’ next personal exhibition eternal return, features a mix of abstract portraits with natural motifs, as well as full-length figurative paintings. It unites the series through its distinct textural style and using a muted color palette of browns, creams, pinks, and occasionally blues. “I have always been interested in the process of constructing something – for example, getting lost in the way a figure, a hand or a fabric is woven together – the visual rhythm of textures fascinates me”, says Bilmes. My Modern Met. “I focus as much on how my paintings come to life as I do on the finished product.”
The series emphasizes the visual power of texture through the many “combed” lines through the paint. “I try to inject as much movement and energy into the beginning of each painting as possible,” he continues. “I start with the longest brush strokes and work my way down. I really like to move the paint around when it’s wet and then scrape it off as it dries. This meticulous process creates a “hand-drawn” appearance, as if they were made with pastel rather than oil paint. This technique also emphasizes the textures of skin, clothing and hair.
Most subjects emerge from their environment as if they were part of it. This slightly unfinished look gives the impression that a story is unfolding as the viewer gazes at the painting. Additionally, the connection between the figures and the small world they inhabit creates a palpable energy on the canvas. “I weave my characters into abstract environments where they are pushed and pulled by time and fate,” Bilmes explains. “A big part of the story is in the brushstrokes and the visual beats.”
eternal return will be exposed to Contemporary Arcadia in NYC from September 18 to October 3, 2021. You can also purchase prints through Bilmes’ Online Storeand stay up to date with his latest creations and shows by following the artist on instagram.