Gina Higgins’ American Noir

Kiss Me Deadly G Higgins

“American Noir”, the ongoing series of stunning large format paintings by California artist Gina Higgins, is aptly named. That they’re noir is apparent. But the way they evoke a time, place and ‘feeling’ of a sensual and dark slice of America may be their real power and beauty.

Can you tell I’ve become hooked?

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Gina Higgins may have been born in New Orleans, but she grew up in Los Angeles off Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills. That Los Angeles-Hollywood vibe seems to permeate her work – from film culture to Sunset Boulevard to retro L.A. nightlife. Still a teenager, she took a break from her college education to study and draw abroad in France and Italy (basically like winning the lottery for an art student) then returned to complete her degree, graduating from the University of Southern California Roski School Of Fine Art.

Insomnia G Higgins

Early Higgins illustrations became sought after work for clients like Liz Claiborne, Etienne Aigner, MGM, CBS and others, and then in 2009 Higgins began her signature series of large format paintings (acrylics on canvas, if I’ve read the notes right on various sites) that became “American Noir’. Clearly a masterful figurative painter, Higgins doesn’t seem to be content with straightforward representational realism. Her figures and faces are personalized, stylized and manipulated with a skilled hand till they’re kind of one – almost organically – with her semi-surreal settings and backgrounds. I’ve never seen a Gina Higgins painting in the flesh, but something tells me it would make me want to cry.

See next post…

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More From Paul Roberts

the little sister

More from UK painter Paul Roberts. See the preceding post for more paintings and some remarks about the artist.

Shown above:

  • The Little Sister

Shown Below:

  • The Little Sister 2
  • The Passenger
  • The Red Suit
  • Home Again
  • 4:35
  • 5:35

the little sister 2 2008the passengerthe red suithome again4 colon 355 colon 35

Paul Roberts

fickle heart

Shown above is UK painter Paul Roberts’ Fickle Heart. Born to artist parents in 1948, Roberts grew up in Wales, studied art and started his fine arts career, then took a break from painting in the 1970’s while a member of the rock band Sniff ‘n The Tears.

From the mid-1970’s through the 1990’s or thereabouts, Roberts work was primarily figurative hyper-realism, often depicting quirky, provocative and often disturbing scenes, sometimes reminiscent of 1950’s/60’s crime films. Later work in the 90’s through 2000’s began to exhibit a more expressive brush, less reliance on photo-realistic representations, and sometimes puzzling subjects, though examples of work on the artist’s own website through 2008 show him returning to the realistic narrative approach.

the bodyguard

I’ve read comparisons to such diverse painters as American neo-expressionist Eric Fischl and Scottish artist Jack Vettriano, neither of which I’d agree with at all, considering any similarities coincidental and only a perfunctory reaction to contemporary urban/suburban settings on one hand (Fischl), and men who may be gangsters in white dress shirts paired with women in vintage lingerie and stockings on the other (Vettriano). But then, a one-time fine arts major is not an art scholar or critic, so what the hell do I know? If anything, those earlier Roberts paintings, which are the ones that often reappear on pop art, pinup and noir culture sites and blogs (like this one, I suppose) seem to glean their imagery from edgy fashion editorials like those shot by Helmut Newton, Ellen von Unwerth and others. But ultimately, who cares? They’re thought-provoking work, beautifully rendered, all of them.

Shown here are:

  • Fickle Heart (above)
  • The Bodyguard (above)

And below:

  • Bodyguard 2
  • Telephone
  • The Operator
  • Sleeping
  • Tied Up

bodyguard 2telephonethe operator 2sleepingtied up

More of Paul Roberts paintings follow in a subsequent post…

 

Mitchum By Sean Phillips

sean phillips robert mitchum

Noir icon Robert Mitchum, by UK artist Sean Phillips. From the Sean Phillips artist blog (theartofseasnphillips.blogspot.com) at Sean Phillips website: seanphillips.co.uk.

 

 

Chris Clor

chris clor

At first, she just looks like a private eye’s secretary, perched on the gumshoe’s desk. But is she? And there are so many details to take in and wonder about in this darkly moody Chris Clor image: That the shadowy visitor’s briefcase is handcuffed to his wrist. What’s with the religious statue on the file cabinet, and why is one file drawer left open? Hey, just choosing purple shoes to go with a green dress is a puzzler.

Gorgeous stuff.

Noir In Color

black velvet

Czech Republic photographer Simona Buchtova, AKA Simsalabima, demonstrating how noir in color may be more vibrant but no less dark or disturbing…or utterly gorgeous. And what color! Shown here are lush pieces of photo-art titled: “Black Velvet” above, and below” “Light My Fire II”, “Awaited”, “Lights of Bangkok” and “Lights Of Chinatown”.

light my fire 2awaitedlights of bangkoklights of chinatown

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