Only the best at the Art Fairs: Pool, Verge, Fountain and ScopeMarch 11, 2010
Let’s admit the dark, dirty secret: art fairs make your feet hurt. So as the day goes by, the dealers working the booths get crankier and less interested and fairgoers are increasingly cantankerous. Why do we do it? In hopes of discovering a talent we didn’t know. Fortunately for my aching feet (yes, it’s days later but my sprained toes are still sprained), there were galleries and artists that made it worthwhile, Here are the highlights:
Khaki Gallery – Based in Boston, Khaki Gallery presented works by two artists that were simply outstanding. Kudos to gallery owner Nahid Khaki for presenting a curated perspective which she entitled “Profiles”.
• I’m not someone who appreciates installation art; after all, I live in a one-bedroom apartment. But Simeen Ishaque-Farhat’s installation piece made me sit up and take notice. Her faceless, anonymous Moslem woman whose thoughts flew from her mouth and graced the air around her head was so evocative and moving that I can’t forget the piece. The Farsi calligraphy, layered letter upon letter and word upon word, brought home the reality of women’s plight in fundamentalist cultures everywhere.
• Wally Gilbert’s vanishing profiles are exciting integrations of repeating, receding lines and form. I particularly liked the sea shell formed from different views of the profile. His work is easy to respond to but draws you deeper into contemplation.
Wilde Gallery – based in Berlin, showed work by Evol which was unique. His works are painted on cardboard cut from used boxes. They are unusual and distinctive and I certainly want to see more of his work. Spray paint was never used with such delicacy. His combination of media and technique are unusual and intriguing.
Berlin Art Projects – yes, based in Berlin – focused much of its space on the work of Christian Awe and also sent him to man the booth.
• Having grown up in New York, I associate graffiti with social anarchy, crime, muggings, crumbling buildings and everything else that was New York City in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Christian Awe says that he was part of the graffiti movement in Germany. Perhaps he was a graffito, certainly he uses spray paint, but I cannot conceive of his being part of anything destructive. His work bounds with energy, his colors are powerful and his work is fabulous. Awe’s paintings are typically large, done on pvc sheets, and mounted on canvas. Glorious work.
Slate Gallery – from Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Nice to know we had excellent local representation featuring Dorothy Robinson’s work. Robinson is a spectacular artist whose work integrates landscape and abstraction. Only one painting was on display: it draws you, refusing to allow you to look away. It somewhat fantastical but not fantasy. The painting’s structure and color balance induces serenity while creating excitement, a wonderful quality. I’m a new fan.
Galerie Andreas Binder – based in Munich, showed work by multiple artists, including Matthias Meyer, the standout for me. Meyer has a excellent sense of color, using both tonality and contrast.
Madonna Phillips uses combinations of media to create her luminous works. The underlying media is paint on canvas but she then attaches thin strips of glass to her paintings. The resulting paintings glow and the glow changes as the light changes. Simply wonderful and infinitely intriguing. I love the fact that she refers to her work as painting with light.
Dale Threlkeld – thankfully , a New York City-based painter. Threlkeld pours, splashes and layers paint and, as he says, uses a bag of tricks to get the paint on and off the canvas. In his technique, removing it is as important as adding it. His work is sophisticated and complex, full of vitality and movement, with brilliant colors.
Anna Stein is a painter, sculptor and jeweler from Paris. Her paintings and sculptures share a sensibility. The paintings are two dimensional sculptures; the sculptures are three dimensional paintings. Stein’s paintings use color powerfully to convey her thoughts. Excellent work.
Eliza Stamps showed multidimensional line drawings which were architectural and modern, with clean lines and tons of movement. It will be interesting to see where she takes this.
Emily Bolevice’s photos were constrained by the space. She has an interesting eye. I particularly liked the photos of nature reclaiming its place, especially the ivy tendrils on the white wall.
That’s the quick review. Only the best.