CREDO Reference Database has encyclopedias and biographies that will give you basic information about people--when were they born, where are they from, where did they go to school, who did they study with, etc. You can think of CREDO as an academic alternative to Wikipedia.
You may be able to find books in the library about contemporary artists depending on how long they have been creating art and how famous they are. Types of books that you might find are biographies or exhibition publications. It is best to search for an artist's name in quotation marks, example: "Lucas Samaras"
Art journals may have articles about artists, their work, or gallery reviews. Look for interviews with artists or articles about them or their work. Many of our art journals are available full text online; some are available in print in the library.
Use the web to search for artists in museums, galleries, auction sites, or the artist's personal website. Below are some suggestions, but simply search for your artist and see what comes up!