Pushing Figurative Painting Forward
Three emerging artists reveal the human experience with style-reviving vitality

On January 5th, The Studio Door will open its latest exhibition continuing its annual focus on local emerging and professional artists.  This year, 3•UP will reveal the artistry of Margaret Chiaro, David Jester and Mikaela McLeish.  An artist reception is slated for Saturday, January 13 from 6 – 9 PM at The Studio Door located at 3750 30th Street in North Park.  The exhibits are open to the public for free during gallery hours and the artwork is for sale.

“In a culture where everyone has cell phones to document the human experience, I wondered how relevant is figurative painting in 2017?  Does figurative art function as a mirror or does it maintain a deeper significance as it has in the past?” said Patric Stillman, artist and director of The Studio Door.

The public is invited to make their own decisions as they explore three distinct body of works of participating artists:

Margaret Chiaro

Margaret uses figurative painting to invite the viewer to enter a magical world or moment.  She is known to spending up to 200 hours on a single painting, painting everything by hand and painting detail requiring a three-hair paintbrush.  Through this method, she obsessively renders her subjects, caught in moments when they are open and expressive.  “My goal is to best portray the subject’s individuality while engulfing the viewer nan emotional charged specific moment, “ Chiaro states.

Margaret Chiaro was born in York, Pennsylvania.  She attended the University of Arizona to graduate with a cum laude BFA and then went on to attain her MFA from the New York Academy of Art.  Currently living in Oceanside, Chiaro has exhibited nationally in a variety of galleries across the country in both solo and group exhibitions. http://www.margaretchiaro.com

David Jester

Jester hopes to start a conversation inspired by our life online – particularly gay men on dating apps. Using the metaphor pool of humanity, Jester confronts issues of body image and diversity through his paintings of naked men submerged underwater. “After seeing multiple profiles with the question, “are you clean?,” which is a veiled reference to asking someones HIV status, I began to creatively explore what is dirty and how does that relate to how we see each other.”

Born in Palm Springs and raised in San Diego, David Jester has a BFA Virginia Commonwealth University and MFA Rutger University.  His underwater series was launched recently with an exhibition at Hillcrest’s Brick Bar. http://www.davidmjester.com

Mikaela McLeish

Known for her ethereal large-scale oil paintings, McLeish explores the tension that lies between isolation and connection, individual and society, and reality and dream. “The narratives within my paintings are constructed from photo montages of personal found photography,” McLeish writes in her artist statement. “Through the act of erasure, distortion, reflection, and collage, I intensify the images.”

Born and raised in California, McLeish earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2014.  This past year, her exceptional work awarded her ArtWalk’s Business of Art Scholarship and Art San Diego’s Launchpad Artist. She has exhibited in solo and group shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The Diego Rivera Gallery, Cell Space Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, Thumbprint Gallery and La Bodega Gallery.  http://www.mikaelamcleish.com