1. Yi Chen (Born in Beijing, 1974, Works in NYC)
He creates hybrid portraits rooted in collage, that comment on a trend in Asia to have plastic surgery to make features look more Western. I just saw his last show in April at Honor Fraser Gallery in Los Angeles.
2. Jenny Saville (Born in Cambridge, 1970, Works in Sicily)
She depicts the realities of flesh - its corpulence, its vulnerability to scarring and bruising, its pigment changes, and she responds to these events in changes in styles. Her work is very visceral and prompts a reaction from the viewer even before you realize what you're looking at. I believe she shows at Gagosian.
3. Cecily Brown (Born in London, 1969, Works in NYC)
Sex is often the subject matter of the explosions of color and explosive gestures on Brown's canvases. The subject matter and painting styles are so fused that you see hints of figuration amidst the abstraction, but are constantly scanning the canvas for a narrative. Like Saville, she also shows at Gagosian (among other galleries.)
4. Barnaby Furnas (Born in Philadelphia, 1973, Works in NYC)
His paintings takes a human head, exploding in mid air, as its central theme, pointing out that history is an anthology of violence, and humans cannot get enough of it. Each work is made of home made paint (powdered pigment mixed with urethane). He shows at Marianne Boesky Gallery in NYC.
5. Wangechi Mutu (Born in Nairobi, 1972, Works in NYC)
Mutu's paintings are often a single, strong but elegant figure composed as the center of the work. Each woman (as they are often women) is made up of idealized body parts cut out of fashion magazines, creating questions regarding our outdated Western ideology of beauty. The last show I saw of hers was at Susanne Vielmette in Culver City.
6. Chis Ofili (Born in Manchester, 1968, Works in London)
Ofili is one of my favorite artists that came out of the YBA's. His controversial works combine porn, biblical stories, Pan-Africanism, Hip Hop music, Greek and Egyptian mythology to tell his story about working through identity, true love, and paradise. With titles like Afro Love and The Holy Virgin Mary, a depiction (portrait) of the Virgin Mary was at issue in a lawsuit between the mayor of NYC and Mayor Guliani and the Brooklyn Museum of Art when it was exhibited there in 1999 as a part of the "Sensation" exhibition. He shows at Victoria Miro in London and David Zwirner in NYC.
7. Luc Tuymans (Born in Mortsel, Beligum, 1958, Works in Antwerp)
Tuymans completes every painting in a day, using found imagery from magazines, newspapers and TV. He strips each image of color and meaning. Consequently his figures often hover between realism and abstraction, such as with Gilles de Binche, the face no longer visible, the body only intimated. You can be seduced by the eashy brushstrokes and muted colors, but in fact the subject is the key. The work is based on Belgian carnival, where figures pelt the crows with oranges in a disturbing exaggeration of national pride.