Artist Maria Penter’s Photo Realistic Figurative Paintings

marta penter realism paintings hero

Brazil born artist Maria Penter’s figurative paintings stand out not only because of her spare use of color but also for their negative space, cropping and realistic illustrative quality. The minute I came across her work, I was a fan.

Marta Penter Figurative Paintings

Today we are featuring several of Marta Penter’s figurative paintings from both her “Floating Time” and “Parallel Time” series.

018 exhibit Floating Time at the Caldwell Snyder gallery
Her 2018 exhibit Floating Time at the Caldwell Snyder gallery

Rendered in the realism style, the subjects of her Floating Time paintings, in most instances, are by themselves, in repose, suspended in a moment of tranquility at the beach or poolside.

Floating Time

Marta Penter Figurative Paintings guy sitting on pink beach chair
Guy sitting on pink, 2020, Oil on paper, 130 x 250cm

Her large size oil paintings comprise a palette of greys punctuated by a single color. She depicts people, young and good-looking, as they are reading, sleeping, floating or sunning at the beach or poolside (as the faint image of tiles under some of the subjects suggest).

Marta Penter Figurative Paintings
Forgotten, 2018, oil on canvas
Slowly Pink, 2019, Oil on paper maria penter
Slowly Pink, 2019, Oil on paper

The scenes are distinct because of what’s not there as much as what is. Uniquely cropped figures, rendered in neutrals while a single object is infused with one bright color, are surrounded by white space.

woman in inner tube on the beach
Homens Imprudentemente Poéticos, 2018, oil on paper
painting of girl on blue raft Marta Penter Figurative Paintings
Serenity Blue, 2019, oil on paper
paintings of people at the beach
Summer Pink, 2018, oil on paper
contemporary oil paintings
Blue Beach Queue, 2020, oil on linen
marta penter figurative paintings
At top: Green-Apple Float, 2018, Oil on canvas, 158 x 158 cm

Parallel Time

The pieces shown below are part of the artist’s “Parallel Time” exhibition for Caldwell Snyder’s Gallery last April. Much like the paintings we showed you from her other series, these are photo-realistic oil paintings on paper and linen. However in all of these the subject is facing the viewer head on, engaging them in their narrative.

painting of girl on beac h chair
Girl sitting on yellow, oil on paper, 2021

Of the works, Marta says “I like the look of the girl, waiting; I like the lines, the diagonals. Chairs and suitcases are present in my paintings for a long time. The chair represents the ego, what keeps us grounded, and the suitcase represents the unconscious, our memories.”

Girl on a pink beach chair, 2021, oil on linen
Girl on a pink beach chair, 2021, oil on linen, 47 x 79in / 120 x 200cm
Parallel Time Marta Penter
Girl on a blue beach chair, 2021, Oil on linen, 47 x 79in / 120 x 200 cm
marta penter paintings
Girl on a Pink Beach Chair II, 2022, Oil on Canvas, 47 x 79 inches

There is a look of “waiting”.
There is in this scene an oddness, something that escapes reality and possibility. What makes a girl in a suit sit in a beach chair with her feet resting on her suitcase?
Time, here, gains a new rhythm, a new speed, the scene appears to unfold in slow motion… everything seems to be on hold. – Marta Penter

parallel time paintings by marta penter
Girl on a Pink Beach Chair III, 2022, Oil on Canvas, 47 x 47 inches

About the artist (from her site)
Marta Penter was born in Porto Alegre – RS in 1957. From an early age she was bonded to the art world having attended schools and centers for artistic development. Nowadays, she has dedicated herself to painting, in its majority oil on canvas. With a realistic approach, she explores themes related to the human behavior, being influenced by her experiences, thoughts, traveling, readings and courses, beyond having a degree in psychology.

Marta Penter at the reception for her opening of "Parallel Time" at Caldwell Snyder Gallery in Montecito, Photo: @caldwellsnydergallery
Marta Penter at the reception for her opening of “Parallel Time” at Caldwell Snyder Gallery in Montecito, Photo: @caldwellsnydergallery

Her paintings, usually large-sized, are characterized by a palette of grays with punctuated details of color. Marta owns a studio in Porto Alegre, having regular exhibitions in the United States (New York, San Francisco, Napa Valley and Montecito) since 2010. In 2015 and 2016 she took part in museum exhibitions in South Korea and in 2019 in Monaco. In Brazil she has works in the MACRS and in the MARGS museum collection’s.

Marta Penter

all images courtesy of the artist