- 28th of Mar. 2010 -
The first time I’ve been to the fairs was last year, when I was interning at the Dorfman Projects gallery in Chelsea, and Fred Dorfman, the owner, was kind enough to take me along to a fantastic talk with Chuck Close and later to the Volta and Scope fairs. The visuals were amazing, the people manning the booths were knowledgeable and the experience was one I swore never to miss again. Here is my absolute favorite from last year’s Volta:
Mike Bayne, Untitled (Nibourg), Oil on panel.
Bayne creates tiny, amazing oil paintings on wood. The sheer ability struck me and wouldn’t let go.
When the time came this year, I was ready for it. Twitter following several art blogs and the fair themselves, along with some galleries that make it their business to spread the word of art to the world, namely Jen Beckman’s 20x200 project; I was armed with a massive amount of information streaming to me live through my twitter account. Out of the 11 fairs that were spread around the city, I made it to five, an impressive number by all accounts. I think.
Making my way through Scope, The Armory and Volta on one day and the Independent and Pulse on the other, visuals were sometimes attacking the senses, sometimes soothing it. Good thing I had the 20x200 goody bag with its Visual Cleansing kit, because by the end of those days, I was in a massive visual overload. Maybe that’s why it has taken me so long to actually write about it.
There was a sense of delicate touch that could be found in each one of the fairs. A feeling that there was great effort, more than concept and style, that went into these works. A real ability was making it clear to the viewer - these artists are masters at what they do. My favorite fair was Pulse, where there was something truly fascinating and visually enticing happening around every corner. My least favorite was The Armory, were it felt like a competition of trendiness and who can get more celebrities to come to their booth but there wasn’t really anything worth the hype.
Some of the works I liked best are already in the Visuallity section, where I store things that make me visually happy, but I wanted to show a few more here. So here they are:
Emil Lukas, Represented by Hosfalt Gallery in San Francisco, Pulse Art Fair, 2010.
Reminding me of craft classes somewhere in the distant past, but with a hand full of vibrant colors, mixing together to create a beautiful visual that stimulates both eye and thought.
Megan Greene, Represented by the Carrie Secrist Gallery in Chicago, Pulse Art Fair, 2010
Greene uses botanical and biological books to create elaborate images that span beyond the original, breaking into the flowers and birds, spilling the inner beauty out of the shell in an implosion of colors. The amazing detailed work pulls you in, forcing you to explore every last bit, afraid to miss out.
Jorge Mayet, represented by the Horrach Moya Gallery in Spain, Pulse Art Fair, 2010
Mayet creates these wonderful falling apart, almost exploding mini bonsai gardens. There is something so tranquil yet so disturbing about it, you almost feel like the ground beneath your feet is starting to fall apart as well.
Andy Denzler, At the Scope art Fair, 2010
It is clear that Denzler has a talent for the figurative work, yet he chooses to give his work a finishing touch of a smudge. This reveals the different layers of the work and gives it an out-of-focus effect that makes it hard to pass by without noticing it. To me, this work contains plenty of unsolved emotion and denial, wrapped up with beauty that has no parallel.
Claire Sherman, Represented by Kavi Gupta in Chicago, The Armory Show, 2010
Sherman builds her landscapes through clear, straight brush strokes. The abstraction of nature into simple lines is almost linear and the use of color gives it all a glossy feel. Though this is something I wouldn’t normally find myself attracted to (it is a little safe, after all), there is something very soothing about it, and I do find myself staring at it.
In the end, I feel that the fairs are extremely relevant in today’s art market, giving a chance for galleries and projects, big and small, to find new clients and make new business. That is also its problem. It sometimes (mostly at the Armory) felt more like a trade fair, the only thing missing were some models trotting around wearing matching outfits to promote something. I liked it best at Volta and Pulse, where there was a feeling of something more artistic than commercial, where there was a connecting line that perhaps was not made out of the famous and controversial, but of what I mentioned before: artistry, mastership, talent.
Oh and here is the best thing that came out of it all is my Live With Art tote bag!
So what do you think? The world wants to know!