Create an Easy Feature Wall With Dramatic Artwork

Ideas abound for feature walls, from tiles or textures to wallpaper and wood. Another great idea to consider is art.  No matter if it’s an expensive painting or simply a piece that you love, it can make the room special. An artwork is a great way to draw attention to a space whether it is the centerpiece of a accent wall or the sole decorative element on the wall. Homedit has visited some great art shows over the past few months and has put together a selection of some remarkable works that are great examples of art for a feature wall.

A bold and colorful piece of art is a real attention-grabber. This bold piece from Puerto Rican-born Angel Otero is large and engaging. Otero uses a technique in his cool paintings whereby he uses “oil skins” in his works. This involves directly applying thick sheets of paint, or thick sheets that have already dried, in his abstract works, that are very textured.

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This is Otero’s “Shipwrecked,” which he created in 2016.
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Here’s a closer look at part of the detail in Otero’s piece.

A little less colorful but equally dramatic is Lee Kun Yong’s piece from his major series called The Method of Drawing. Lee, who lives and works in Kunsan, Korea, is known for his studies of art in relation to the body and space. In this work, Lee artist stands at the canvas and paints on it by moving his arms up and down or to the left and right, creating a shape around the body

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Lee’s works are displayed in museums across Korea and galleries around the world.

Sculptural abstract art is another feature wall option. Colorful and very dimensional, Brian Belott’s puff wall relief is modern and unconventional. Belott is an artist, performer and found art maker based in Brooklyn New York.

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Rounded forms, paint, paper and found bits comprise this work called Puuuuuuuffs.

More theatrical is this piece from Jonas Burgert, a German painter who paints huge canvases with apocryphal settings that reference Freud as well as Renaissance and Flemish painters, comics and science fiction.  The intriguing composition attracts attention and is suitable as a focal point on a feature wall.

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Anfras, oil on canvas, was created in 2017.

Digital art is a fantastic option for a feature wall, particularly for those who love technology. The Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery showed this work at the 2017 Armory Show in New York. It is called Split Swell, created by Yorgo Alexopoulos. The video work by the new media artist focuses on creating digital images that immerse the viewer in a particular experience.

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Multiple screens placed in side by side present the image as one, often including evocative music.

In eras gone by, portraiture was often used to create a feature wall in private spaces as well as areas for entertaining. While painted family portraits have fallen out of favor, an artful modern portrait can serve as a provocative feature wall element. American artist Ed Paschke is influenced by Andy Warhol’s photo portraits. He created used an opaque projector to meld items from TV, magazines and newspapers into compositions such as this one. In fact, Paschke was among the first to use this technique.

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Paschke was known as “Mr. Chicago.”

Bold geometric pieces project an electric tension in this work by Philadelphia artist Isaac Tin Wei Lin. His creations are said to play at the junction “where where representation and buzzing abstraction meet.” Painted and drawn by hand, the geometric designs are meant to evoke written language. The piece is called “Open Light.”

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Isaac Tin Wei Lin is represented by the Fleisher/Ollman Gallery.

Lebanese-born artist Nabil Nahas has developed a body of work that combines, color, texture and dimension into compelling pieces that are inspired by the patterns in nature and traditional Islamic art. Melded with abstract painting techniques, the artworks feature forms like seashells that Nahas casts individually in acrylic paint and then mounts to the canvas. The resulting organic, texturally undulating piece is nothing but sheer color drama.  Perfect for a feature wall.

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Nahas’ works are featured in museums across the globe.
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The painstaking casting and coloring work is evident.

A vivid geometrical mash-up of elements come together in this enthralling feature wall piece by poet and librarian Ben Gocker. The multi-talented artist creates these mixed media pieces that center around text. By formal training, Gocker is a poet, having studied at the world-famous Iowa Writers Workshop, feeding ground for famous authors the likes of Kurt Vonnegut, Flannery O’Connor and John Irving. His collections include larger installations as well.

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This piece is titled “Fuzzy Future.”

Art doesn’t have to be colorful or modern to belong on a feature wall. A historical piece like this model tipi cover from the Donald Ellis Gallery is a perfect example of an important cultural item that is visually striking.  Known internationally for its expertise in antique North American Indian art, the gallery focuses on Northwest Coast, Eastern Woodlands and Eskimo cultures.

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This model tipi cover is Cheyenne ca. 1860 hide, and is made of sinew and paint.

Sculptural art is a more dimensional option that can add interest to a feature wall. The late Italian artist Fausto Melotti created these charming fish sculptures. He mostly worked in brass sculptures and small ceramics.

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A grouping of whimsical pieces makes for a dimensional feature wall.
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The coloring and details of Melotti’s ceramics are natural.

Works made with unusual materials are appealing, especially when they are large. Used on a feature wall, The Sigh, by Frances Goodman, takes center stage. The piece is part of her Sequin Paintings. Its sexual connotations focus on “woman as automaton” both as the subject of manipulation and the manipulator. A provocative piece, it would command the room both from the perspective of size as well as subject matter.

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Goodman is a South African artist, known for her sculptures using fake fingernails.
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A closer look at the sequins making up the “painting.”

Another example of a piece that is not necessarily what it seems at a distance, this work by Min Jung Kim looks like a drawing, perhaps with painted rounds or collage pieces. Yes, it’s mixed media on mulberry paper, but look closer and you’ll see that it is also layered to create the bursts of lines in each round, which are made by burning the edges of the paper.  Interestingly, Kim works on the floor, which is an Asian tradition.

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Kim’s work evolved over time to focus on the “expressive value of marks and maculas.”
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Here you can see the lightly burnt edges of the paper.

Large drawings work well for a feature wall. This diptych, presented by the Frederick Snitzer Gallery, is moving, with its exuberant lines and graphics done is a monochrome palette of beige and off-black. The aggressive lines of one panel contrast against the other, which has a style reminiscent of an architectural blueprint or tech design.

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A lack of color does not equal a lack of drama.

Mosaics have been popular for centuries as art and certainly as feature walls for castles, churches and private homes. Britannica notes that whte first mosaivs were made of pebbles and it was the Greek culture that refined this technique. Still today, mosaics can be a grand way to create a feature wall, and similarly, a striking mosaic art piece can achieve the same purpose. This wonderful work by Monir Farmanfarmaian, Iranian artist born in 1924, who is recognized “as one of the most innovative artists working in mosaics and geometric patterns,” writes the on-line forum Hyperallergic. Farmanfarmaian moved back to Tehran in 2004 after 24 years in exlie in the United States.

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“Gabbeh,” created in 2009, is comprised of mirror pieces, reverse-glass painting, and plaster on wood.

In a modern take on the mosaic, Doug and Mike Starn have created an engaging piece made from Inkjet prints on Zerkall paper glued to cut LP album covers, and then combined with acrylic paint and magnets. The two are twin brothers and collaborators who mix media and installation methods. They gained a good deal of notoriety when they installed their enormous “Big Bambu” series at the Venice Biennale after debuting it on the roof of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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The vintage mug shot adds retro flair to the work.

More three-dimensional is this piece from German artist Heinz Mack. Working across many media, Mack has always experimented with light and color in order to examine the possibilities of movement, reflection and structure. Works that play on light and reflection give special beauty to a feature wall by adding another visual dimension that can morph with the changing nature of a day’s light. This is Mack’s “

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The work was created using aluminum, glass, wood, and stainless steel.

Or, a piece created entirely from light can help create a feature wall and stimulate riveting discussions. Created by Chilean-born artist, architect and filmmaker Alfredo Jaar, the work is more than just art — it is a political statement. Jaar’s art centers on examining global power, injustice and exploitation, and has drawn a great deal of attention for his larger light installations in the US and across the globe. The intellectual themes behind his groundbreaking works have earned him prestigious awards, particularly the Guggenheim Fellowship as well as the MacArthur Fellowship.

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This neon work translates into “As far as I can see,”

A single pop of color in a room can instantly transform a plain wall into a feature wall, and there’s no better way to do this than with a showy piece that has a pop-art feel. Created by Mexico’s Jose Davila, the oversized, simple set of brushstrokes are a powerful piece that stokes the imagination and conveys movement.

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This piece was shown at the Armory Show 2017 by the Sean Kelly Gallery.

Brushstrokes were central to work by French-German artist Hans Hartung. The WWII veteran was motivated by freedom and spontaneity in his works, and tried to paint his abstract creations with a sense of freedom. This led him to use unconventional tools to apply paint to canvas, including tree branches, spray paints and rakes, which often yielded unusual and surprising results.

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The dark central form on the vivid canvas draws the eye to the work.

When it comes to art, moving beyond the square and rectangular for a feature wall can be very effective. These two round works are by Matteo Negri and are called the “Kamigami Sea Bubble” and the “Kamigami Sun Bubble,” both created in 2017 from mixed plastic media. The novel framing, round shape and bright colors immediate render them a focal point. Negri, from Italy, focuses on round sculptures and studies “the visual seduction of form, through manipulation of matter,” he writes in his statement. These two pieces, as well as his other cultures, are colorful, lighthearted and thought-provoking.

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The shine and color qualities of the pieces are very interesting to examine at close range.
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An ombre quality adds interest to the color in this work.
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A clear coating adds to the shine. Looking at the piece, you’re immediately drawn in to contemplate the holes.

Black and white is always a fitting color combination, namely in this wonderful work by Eduardo Terrazas, that lives at the intersection of geometry and traditional handicraft.  This four-piece work is called 1.1.263, and comes from his series “Possibilities of a Structure”, under the subseries “Cosmos.” Many of his works are created like this one, from wool yarn on a board, covered with Campeche wax. Others focus on different materials, as he as been a prolific creator over the past five decades.

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A close-up of the work reveals the intricate yarn work.

What looks like ceramic is actually a different material in this work by Japanese avant-garde artist Yuko Nasaka. With the circle as her central theme, Nasaka creates her panels by coating wood in a layer of glue plaster and clay. Then she puts this on a turntable and carves the surface with a palette knife the finished pieces are sprayed with automobile lacquer. Her work is heavily influenced the Japanese industrial revolution of the 1960’s and she was one of the Gutai Group, the first radical, post-war artistic group in Japan. This particular piece uses repetition of the basic shape to engage the viewer.

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The depth of color and its variation is attractive.

Repetition is also the main technique used here in Zhang Ding’s “Devouring Time.” The large feature wall piece is made from stainless steel cups,  spoons, and copper chopsticks, all plated in 24k gold. Zhang creates pieces that focus on ethnic tensions and marginal urban culture that are undertones in Chinese society. The up-and-coming artist also creates large installations and says he is influence by Federic Fellini, the iconic Italian film director.

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The depth of color and its variation is attractive.

Making art the focus of a feature wall is a fast way to change your space. If you live in an apartment, it’s also an easy way to decorate dramatically without investing in any major changes to the wall. More importantly using a piece of artwork to make a feature wall is a wonderful way to showcase a dramatic work that you love. Placing art it where it gets the most attention and makes the biggest impact is sure to generate more interest in the work and will likey be a conversation starter in your home.

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