Alex Venezia is an artist whose portraits radiate both love and longing, in quiet scenes that find an exquisite balance between serene stillness and rousing emotion. Inspired from an early age by the work of Caravaggio and a poster he saw of John W. Waterhouse’s Lady of Shalott, 1888, Venezia’s own poetic compositions are an unmistakable nod to such historical figures, as well as other masters of intimate scenes, like the Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi, whose subdued, haunting interiors reflect similar emotions of longing and loneliness. Yet, Venezia’s portraits are distinctly modern, both imaginative and full of emotional storytelling, and often inspired by the love and affection shared with his family and friends.
As a rising star in the world of representational art, last year proved to be a very busy year for the artist, starting in January with the unveiling of two new works at the LA Art Show for Arcadia Contemporary, a gallery with whom Venezia has developed a close working relationship. Then in April, he won the 1st Place Painting and the People’s Choice Award at the Portrait Society’s annual conference for another of his works titled Haunting. To cap off an exciting year, Venezia celebrated the debut of his solo show Sentimental Works at Arcadia Contemporary in September. The nearly sold-out show, comprised a series of new paintings, including Sisters, Braids, Sketching, Returning Home, and At Rest.
The painting Sisters is a perfect example of Venezia’s superb talent for capturing such tender family moments. The work depicts two sisters, both dressed in graceful white gowns, standing close together with the younger sister resting her head softly on her elder sibling’s shoulder. Both women seem lost in their own thoughts, seemingly in two different mental worlds, yet, they are so physically close that their long, brown locks are twisted together at the center of the canvas, nearly indiscernible from one another. With this intimate pose, Venezia evokes feelings of comfort and support, as well as sadness and grief, and that all too familiar desire for a shoulder to lean on.
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