Swedish artist Markus Åkesson enshrouds his subjects in elaborately patterned silks and satins, leaving only the impression of their faces, limbs, and torsos visible. An extension of his ongoing Now You See Me series, the artist’s latest paintings continue his exploration of repetition and the unsettling feelings evoked by being wrapped in fabric. By completely covering his models, they “became a secret. Instead, I started to tell a story within the pattern itself, like a sub-narrative in the painting,” he writes.
Åkesson’s pieces begin with designing the traditional, florid motifs that are printed onto the largely unshaped fabrics. The artist then envelops models in the textiles before posing the subjects for the discomfiting portraits. “I have always been interested in patterns, I am drawn to the repetition and the rhythm,” he tells Colossal. “I did a lot of paintings with people that were surrounded by patterns, different surfaces, and materials, almost drowning in them. Eventually, they became completely covered in fabrics.”
Åkesson’s work will be on view this fall at Da-End Gallery in Paris. Until then, follow his heavily patterned paintings on Instagram.
“At the heart of it all (2020), oil on canvas, 60 x 50 centimeters
“Now You See Me” (2019), oil on canvas, 180 x 140 centimeters
“Yellow Veil” (2019), oil on canvas
“Now you see me (Dysmorphia 10)” (2018), oil on canvas, 145 x 100 centimeters
“Now you see me (Blue and Gold Kimono)” (2019), oil on canvas, 180 x 140 centimeters
“In the quiet morning” (2020), oil on canvas, 145 x 100 centimeters
“Danse Macabre” (2020), oil on canvas, 145 x 100 centimeters