Painters Making A Splash With Their Unique Work

In an era where digital art and new media are gaining prominence, let’s take a look at some contemporary oil painters who are making a big splash with their artwork in oil painting circles. Who are some of the most prominent modern oil paint artists?

We will look at just a few artists here who really are making a splash as contemporary oil painters. There are many more and throughout the pages of All Art Craft and Design and we will always encourage you, if this is your field, to become one of these inspiring contemporary artists too!

1. Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, a British artist, is renowned for her large-scale oil paintings that focus on the human form. Her work is characterized by a raw, unfiltered portrayal of the body, often exploring themes of beauty, identity, and femininity. Saville’s bold brushwork and dramatic use of colour bring a visceral intensity to her paintings, making her one of the most impactful contemporary painters in this genre.

Check out Jenny’s pages above and let us know if you love her work as much as we do – certainly one of our favourite contemporary oil painters who are making a BIG slpash!

2. Gerhard Richter

German artist Gerhard Richter has been a dominant figure in the contemporary art scene for decades. Known for his diverse stylistic range, Richter’s oeuvre includes abstract as well as photorealistic paintings. His use of oil paint to blur and distort images brings a unique quality to his work, playing with the boundaries between photography and painting. While Gerhard doesn’t always use oil paints he certainly rates as a major contemporary artist making a splash!

3. Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley gained widespread recognition for his naturalistic paintings of African-American individuals in the style of Old Master paintings. Wiley’s work is known for its vibrant patterns and the way it challenges the norms of portraiture. His use of oil paint to depict contemporary subjects within traditional settings creates a compelling juxtaposition.

Kehinde is a great representative of our topic of contemporary oil painters making a splash with their artwork. He is on trend and on point!

4. Cecily Brown

Cecily Brown is a British painter whose work combines elements of abstraction and figuration. Her oil paintings are known for their sensual, energetic brushwork and rich textural quality. Brown’s work often explores themes of sexuality and the human body, pushing the boundaries of traditional figurative painting.

One of my favourites – go look at her work and let us know what you think below in the comments!

5. Elizabeth Peyton

American artist Elizabeth Peyton is celebrated for her intimate portraits, primarily painted in oil. Her subjects range from friends and family to celebrities and historical figures. Peyton’s style is characterized by fluid, expressive brushstrokes and a unique use of color, giving her portraits a dreamlike, ethereal quality.

6. Mark Bradford

While not a traditional oil painter, Mark Bradford’s mixed-media works have significantly impacted the contemporary art scene. His incorporation of elements from urban environments into his works, often resembling the textures and layers found in oil painting, has redefined the boundaries of the medium. Bradford’s work challenges the traditional perceptions of oil painting, blending it with street art and non-traditional materials.

7. Amy Sherald

Amy Sherald gained fame for her portrait of Michelle Obama. Her distinctive style involves using oil paint to create flat, yet highly detailed, images, predominantly featuring African American subjects. Sherald’s use of grayscale for skin tones, contrasted with vibrant colors, creates a striking aesthetic that has positioned her as a significant contemporary portrait artist.

8. Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu’s large-scale works, though often classified under abstract art, incorporate layers and textures that resonate with the depth and complexity found in oil paintings. Her dynamic compositions, which often include architectural elements, maps, and urban planning grids, bring a new perspective to the use of traditional mediums like oil paint.

These artists, with their diverse backgrounds and unique approaches to oil painting, demonstrate the medium’s enduring relevance in contemporary art. They challenge traditional boundaries, experiment with new techniques, and address a wide range of themes, from identity and culture to social commentary and abstract expressionism. Their work not only pays homage to the rich history of oil painting but also propels it into the future, ensuring its continued significance in the art world. Whether through the tactile intensity of Jenny Saville’s figures or the intricate layers of Julie Mehretu’s compositions, these artists continue to push the limits of oil paint, inspiring both artists and art lovers around the globe.

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Exploring these contemporary oil painters who are making a splash has encouraged me to pick up the paints – how about you!