Instagram can sometimes be a completely depressing cesspool of garbage and an unnecessary distraction that takes up far too much of ones time. However, there are those rare occasions that you will find a page that is a true gem: something that is actually artistically inspiring. In these instances, Instagram can basically become an exhibit of an artist’s best work. My new favorite artist that I discovered on Instagram is Chloe Wise.
Wise is a Canadian sculptor, painter, collage artist, and digital artist. No matter what medium she is working in, I find her work to be visually interesting. They make you want to reach out and touch the piece. She is well known for her hyper realistic sculptures of food, but my first exposure to Wise’s work was to her portraits. As someone who does a lot of portraiture myself, I was really interested in how unique and comical they are. Most of her portraits are large full body paintings of women holding some kind of food; furthermore, the food always has a meaning behind it, whether it be a woman cradling a carton of almond milk as a way to satirize societies obsession with healthy eating, or a woman holding an abundance of fresh and exotic fruit as a way to examine class. She uses these mundane and recognizable items to ultimately tackle important themes.
Something that I feel adds a comedic element to her paintings is how classically and beautifully they are crafted. Her use of food really brings to mind the works of still life artists like Caravaggio, specifically in the way that the food looks extremely fresh and desirable to the viewer. The style in which she paints her women is very classic as well: them in stylistic poses and looking directly at the viewer. While a classic portraiture of women (mostly painted by men) would have a female subject staring at a male viewer to intrigue them, Wise has a much different idea about this subject. “I present each woman as powerful and aware of her own power, and I intend to subvert the male gaze by satirizing it,” she stated in a Vouge Paris interview when questioned what she wants to get across to her viewers through the depiction of women. This combination of old style with random modern fashion, food, and objects, as well as the meaning behind the work is something that completely tickles me every time I view her art.
Look, I know Instagram is a place where you can zone out and entertain your eyes for a bit, but maybe next time you log on, spend a few less seconds stalking your crush or looking at some chicks selfies, and try to find a stimulating artist that you truly enjoy. Fill up your feed with things that inspire you and make you want to create. Trust me, its much healthier and far more refreshing than seeing Kim K’s new pink hair.