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Strictly speaking, the term “contemporary art” refers to art made and produced by artists living today. Today’s artists work in and respond to a global environment that is culturally diverse, technologically advancing, and multifaceted. Working in a wide range of mediums, contemporary artists often reflect and comment on modern-day society.

Contemporary art is, in most cases, defined as art that has been and continues to be created during our lifetime and contemporary art is at its best when it challenges the viewer to think in unexpected ways. Challenging artwork brings a new way of looking at an issue or idea.

Here at Hale Mercantile Co., we love exploring new ideas and forms and having an open mind goes a long way towards understanding, and even appreciating, the art of our own era. In this month’s Instagram ♥♥♥, we are sharing with you a few of our favorites contemporary artists who inspire us.

@juz_kitson is Australian Artist working in Jingdezhen China. Kitson is best known for her hauntingly beautiful installations which simultaneously traverse the exquisite and the grotesque, and Kitson has definitely carved a name herself as one of the country’s finest contemporary ceramicists and sculptors. Kitson uses the grace and elegance of fine porcelain to depict grotesque and abject subjects. She explores the brutality of nature, decay and intestinal and sexual parts of bodies.

@luke_sciberras was born in 1975 in Sydney, and graduated in 1997 from the Australia National Art School with a bachelor in Fine Art (Painting). Luke is widely considered Australia’s top landscape artist. He has had close to thirty solo exhibitions in Australia since 1999, and is held in numerous private, public and corporate collections worldwide. Luke is represented by Tim Olsen Gallery in Sydney and he currently lives and works in Hill End, NSW Australia.

@rhyslee_ is an Australian visual artist who lives in Aireys Inlet, Victoria. Coming from a background of street art, Rhys works in a range of media centering on painting with acrylics and oils. Lee’s works are rich in line and gesture, often vibrant in colour with dark undertones. His portraits depict mystical figures and otherworldly atmospheres through painterly washes and subliminal shadows. Lee’s practice predominantly revolves around painting but at times extends from the canvas, lending itself to large-scale murals, installation and sculpture.

Young Aboriginal painter Vincent Namatjira has made seven works depicting the seven prime ministers who have held office during his lifetime, including Malcolm Turnbull, John Howard and Julia Gillard. Namatjira’s work has gained significant recognition in Australia and abroad and his imagery calls on Australia’s colonial history, with recurring references to Captain Cook and the Queen. His observational works also chart his personal history and pay tribute to his great grandfather, Albert Namatjira, a renowned watercolourist well known for his iconic images of Central Australia. Vincent now lives in a Pitanjarra community in South Australia, surrounded by other his family and other artists. You can follow his work on Instagram by searching #vincentnamatjira.

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