Ah, the Art Fair: subject of intense scrutiny, disdain and even obsession in recent memory, art fairs have reached Olympian status as the enduring sign of success for participating galleries and art advisors. Exhibitors at the top fairs proudly display this status, shelling out thousands upon thousands to do so. Saatchi Art‘s The Other Art Fair(TOAF), however, is in a league all its own. A deftly curated selection of artists whose works are on view for collectors to savor, collect and gain insights (from the artists themselves!), The Other Art Fair marches to the beat of its own drummer. The fair is currently on at four different international locations: London, New York, Sydney and – most recently – Los Angeles (Barker Hangar – 3021 Airport Avenue – Santa Monica, CA 90405; hours Sat/Sun; Sat 11 am-8 pm and Sun from 11 am-6 pm).
That’s right – Los Angeles. Where better to savor genuine, talented and diverse selections of emerging art than in LA itself? A city that has truly embodied the buzz of ‘contemporary art’, LA has hit the scene and Saatchi Art is in on the secret – The Other Art FairLA is currently on, with artworks on view through Sunday, October 28th. We took to the scene, and selected the five artists worth watching as rising stars that this current iteration of TOAF + an extra viewing experience, read all the way through to get to the fun bonus!
Erin Ko’s work reflects a masterful blend of emerging technologies and a talented traditional arts practice. Lying at the nexxus between memory and possibility, Ko creates magical, often immersive, experiences for fans of her work. Whether incorporating Oculus Rift into her practice or allowing viewers to experience Augmented Reality layers that supplement her dexterous paintings and mixed media collage, Ko never disappoints admirers of her work both old and new. Working across technology, urban art, mixed media and more, Ko’s artistic practice reflects something for everyone. Her work also incorporates strong impressions of feminism and inclusivity: often depicting strong women or growing girls reaching for their goals, Ko’s inspiring work reminds us that everything is possible if we dream.
Evincing a particularly keen eye for detail and balanced compositions that span from figuration to abstraction, Ko’s works have been exhibited both internationally in China, Europe and domestically in the United States. Ko will be part of the Akumal Arts Festival, taking place in early November in Akumal, Mexico, and she is part of the prestigious Milan-based artist group Krema Kolletiva.
Based in Silver Lake, artist Sammy Kimura creates evocative artworks rooted in the human experience. Her impressionist glances of moments spanning her subjects’ lives results in vivid and otherworldly portraits. Allowing painterly gestures to delineate the space, Kimura’s soft-focus glow and warm tones invite the viewer to empathize with her subjects, encouraging the imagination and stimulating the senses.
Vibrant photocollages reveal a world of dreams in works by Fei Alexeli. Immediately Pop yet avoiding kitsch stereotyper, Alexeli’s fantastical compositions invite viewers along on a magical ride. Both visceral yet elusive, Alexeli’s expansive vistas enmesh viewers in enigmatic journeys worthy of Ford Prefect and Guardians of the Galaxy – with a decidedly Venice Beach twist!
Fun Pop stylings and vivid colors permeate the works of Sanghee Ahn. Departing from the world of everyday objects into bubble-gum pink fantasies tripping down the gradient fantastic, Ahn’s works are simple, straightforward – and bright. Evoking landscapes yet focusing on Dada-esque journeys through everyday life, Ahn envelopes her objects in bursts of colorful abstraction.
Thoroughly contemporary, Voinea’s work seemingly leaps off the page. Abstract, bright and pulsing with rhythm, Voinea’s works make a bright yet harmonious contribution to any collection! With international credentials spanning from exhibits in Spain, Italy, the US and beyond, Voinea’s vibrant works are making a splash, with both critical acclaim and popular opinion!
BONUS:The Other Art Fair LA, “31 Women” curated by Kate Bryan.
31 Women, a micro-exhibit at The Other Art Fair LA, celebrates the 75th anniversary of The Exhibition by 31 Women, an iconic exhibition that took place at Peggy Guggenheim’s “The Art of This Century” gallery. Curated by Kate Bryan, Head of Collections for Soho House and Co, 31 Women is a mini salon-style show featuring 31 artists on view at the fair working across mixed media. Notes Ryan Stanier, founder of The Other Art Fair, “Women artists have been underrepresented in the art world for decades, so we are excited to be able to highlight a selection of talented, emerging women artists in this exhibition curated by Kate Bryan.” A bright, exuberant collection of some of the most compelling artists on view at the fair, 31 Women is a remarkable, one-of-a-kind experience awaiting viewers at TOAF LA.
A woman’s side profile emerges before a hazy, urbane background. A striking, svelte figure against a faded, neutral-toned backdrop, the eye follows the figure’s movement and questions ensue. Carly Silverman constructs mysterious narratives with cinematic glances toward her female figures. Silverman’s quixotic figures, shrouded in pastel tones, indicate how the artist reclaims the gaze and presents feminine beauty from a woman’s perspective.
We chatted with Silverman on the occasion of her exhibit, “Static Motion”, on view at Bee in the Lion in New York’s Flatiron district through December 14th, 2018. We were excited to learn more about how she approaches her practice, her nuanced color palette and the ethereal beauty that her paintings possess.
ANTE. Thanks for catching up with us, Carly! Excited to hear more about your practice. How did you start working with this subject matter?
Silverman. I began focusing on distorted self-portraits in undergraduate school, which eventually led to painting multiple figures in graduate school. I designed and arranged my friends as models in interior environments, depicting in ordinary moments such as one looking at her cell phone or another fixing her hair. I also paid attention to their clothing, often choosing decorative, colorful vintage dresses. When I moved to NYC in 2011 after graduate school, my focus on multiple figures in interior environments shifted to painting female figures I saw on the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan. A woman dashing off in heels with a patterned skirt or checking her cell phone in a colorful shirt became new moments I wanted to paint.
My techniques in painting also evolved with this imagery to convey a fast pace movement of time and a hazy, dreamlike environment that my figures move through. Through building up my surfaces in multiple thin layers and wiping the paint away as much as I put it down, the painting becomes constructed of abstract shapes within a representational image.
ANTE. How do fashion and figure interrelate in your work? Is one more important than the other?
Silverman. Fashion and the figure have an equal role for me in each painting I make. They work together and play off of each other. Fashion affects the way the body is seen and the body affects the way fashion is seen. I don’t see them as separate components when I am working on a painting. A gesture of a figure influences how the clothing sits on her. The clothing a figure is wearing works to tell the figure’s story.
ANTE. Tell us more about your background in painting and your practice has evolved.
Silverman. I attended an arts magnet high school, Carver Center for Arts and Technology, where I started painting. Oil painting captured my attention more than any other medium, particularly painting live models. After high school I attended The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). I was working on distorted self-portraits in interior environments and was interested in light, patterns, perspective, and narrative. I applied my paint with a palette knife. My colors were more somber compared to the vividness of my colors today.
After MICA I took some time off before graduate school to live in NYC and experience living life as an artist for a few years. I then went to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) for my MFA. I continued to paint distorted self-portraits in interiors with a palette knife, which led to painting multiple figures in interiors. Through these works, I combined imagery from multiple pictures into one painting. My use of a palette knife changed to brushes, and these figures were instead placed outside in landscapes and cityscapes. My paint application has become softer, and although my focus on the figure has remained constant, my techniques used have changed the overall feeling and mood of the work.
ANTE. Your work has a classic appeal/timeless, not rooted in contemporary trends. What attracts you to figurative, representational painting?
Silverman. What attracts me to figurative, representational painting is the ability to take a seemingly ordinary moment of a woman on the street onto the canvas and create a whole new world for them and the viewer. Through my use of abstraction within representation, I am able to capture subjects during this fleeting moment in time. I am able to add painterly strokes, and remove them to create a hazy dreamlike environment for my figures. These figures then have a moment of self-awareness in an environment that threatens to devour them.
ANTE. How did you arrive at your current color palette?
Silverman. My color pallet has evolved through the changes of my imagery from figures in interior environments to exterior landscapes. Through my changes of subject matter, colors have become more vivid and brighter to represent a more lighthearted subject matter.
For 14 years, odd happenings have stretched out across the 14th street corridor in Manhattan, NY. Artists, designers, dancers, performers and creators have created ephemeral experiences to engage passersby for Art in Odd Placessince 2005, when Founder/Artist Ed Woodham envisioned the festival as a means to reclaim public space by the same creative set continually forced out of New York City apartments by rising rents and luxury condos. The festival continues with its 14th iteration, BODY, from October 11-14 on 14th Street (Ave C to Hudson River) and – for the first year ever – in a gallery, at Westbeth gallery space Oct 4-27.
This year’s festival curator, Katya Grokhovsky, proudly emphasizes this additional space as necessary to give increased exposure for this year’s participating artists: artists who, for the first time in AiOP’s history, solely encompass feminist collectives, fem-identifying and non-binary artists with the theme, BODY. “AiOP BODY centers around the agency, autonomy and visibility of the female – identified and non-binary body in the public space and the urban environment,” notes Grokhovsky. “Both the exhibition and the festival include works which utilize humor, absurdity, gesture, actions, performance and various media and materials to explore the notion of the body as a site, as a particular battleground, especially poignant in our political climate.”
Participating artists in this year’s festival include Jessica Elaine Blinkhorn, LuLu LoLo, Elaine Angelopoulos, Deborah Castillo, Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, Esther Neff, Amy Finkbeiner and Christen Clifford of No Wave Performance Task Force, Nicole Goodwin, Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow, Dakota Gearheart, and many, many more. Projects range from Jody Oberfelder’s poignant Madame Ovary, which incorporates a safe space for discussing the body as site for agency, intuition, and birth; Yali Romagoza‘s Meditating my way out of Capitalism and Communism. 12410 days of Isolation, investigating traumas, displacement and the immigrant experience.
In a time when average rents for an apartment along the Art in Odd Places festival route costs upwards of $4k/month, according to RentCafe’, the need for visible and creative public art is more dire than ever. Particularly important in a social climate denigrating and ignoring women’s voices, such as our current moment in the wake of governmental actions such as the Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation, AiOP 2018: BODY is here to remind us that women’s voices – and agency – always matter.
Art in Odd Places 2018: BODY public street festival takes place Oct 11-14, 2018 along 14th street from the Hudson River east to Ave C.
Art in Odd Places 2018: BODY exhibition,Unseen/Reclaimed, takes place at Westbeth Gallery from Oct 4-27, 2018. Public programs forthcoming, including a panel on the body & public art takes place on Oct 18th, 6-8 pm with closing festivities on Oct 27th. Gallery hours are from 12 pm – 6 pm, Tues-Sat.
Globetrotting, international philatropist, collector and artist Òmó Oba (HRH) Adetomiwa A. Gbadebo has demonstrated through his dedicated, multi-faceted career that he is one innovative artist. Unafraid to experiment with colors, textures and mediums while firmly rooted in a devoted spiritual core, Òmó Oba (HRH) Adetomiwa A. Gbadebo considers his artistic practice as a part of his wider mission to elevate African artists on the world stage. Òmó Oba (HRH) Adetomiwa A. Gbadebo frequently produces art exhibits and advocates for contemporary African artists in addition to his practice as an artist. Featured in solo and group exhibitions from Minnesota to Montenegro, New York City to Florence, Òmó Oba (HRH) Adetomiwa A. Gbadebo’s fearless approach to experimentation in his creative process is rooted in seeking harmony and balance and bringing the world to his culture on his own terms. We caught up with Òmó Oba (HRH) Adetomiwa A. Gbadebo in the days leading to his upcoming exhibit with Retro Africa at London’s 1:54 Art Fair, at London’s Somerset House from Oct 4-7, 2018.
ANTE.Thanks for taking time to meet with us! So far your work has been exhibited both in the US and abroad, in Italy, Nigeria, Montenegro, and soon at 1.54 in London. Can you explain how you hope different audiences perceive your work? Are there common threads across cultures that you hope your work speaks to? Is there a common universal language to your work?
OOAG.I actually don’t care about how they (others) perceive it (my work). It is none of my business how they see it, but the one thing is that they should not make up labels for it if they do not understand. They should accept their level of misunderstanding, or seek out knowledge from the artist directly, or seek out knowledge through the journey with the work or the culture from which the work stems from.
Meaning the culture of the artist, and his or her origin.
Quite honestly I don’t think I owe any other culture in the Western World any explanation of identity, or similarities.
I’m from a different realm, completely different civilization, the only thing I have in common with those outside my culture, “ Western Cultures,” is that I am a human being. Therefore it is my duty as living history of my culture and ancient history of my culture to teach others about my culture.
Accepting this difference means that one can come to a possible similarity culturally , which could help alleviate the ignorance of trying to force the notion of similarities in order to satisfy selfish desires. But if others choose to be ignorant about it (other cultures), they will fail their own cultures.
In conclusion this question does not justify my culture being significant. Therefore I say no to colonial mindsets and western perceptions of African people and its main indigenous cultures, I say no to neo-liberalism, neo-conservatism, and even socialism as a gateway to teaching my culture to those different from me. Frankly I think those concepts are poisonous to the creative world, while they also diminish the emphasis of the human being, or person.
There is no common universal language to my work. No to a common language, because my language is distinctive to my culture, and in fact an apex language that gave birth to others in terms of enriching the art and social practices of my people. There is a common sense to my work, which is the notion that what I create breeds life and sustains the spiritual creation of life. Which opens up the gateway for people to have permission to question their
previously acquired intellect.
ANTE.Your work across painting, sculpture and mixed media embraces both figurative and abstracted elements. Can you speak about your process and how these elements fit together? Do you incorporate the figurative and abstract to evoke different meaning, or are they integrally connected to communicate an overall message?
OOAG. My work is neither figurative nor abstract. It is an embodiment of spiritual knowledge and my purpose in this world. It does not succumb to categorization as figurative and abstract nor will I fit it into that institutional logic, in fact those things are limiting the honesty of the work.
These works, across all media, are a vessel: a catalyst for viewers to question everything around them, their ideologies, their manmade comfortability, and their logic around their preconceived notions. It is a very intellectual process and a very deep spiritual process, and it comes from within.
ANTE. In your practice, you incorporate Yorùbá imagery within larger, complex compositions. Can you elaborate on the relationship of these individual objects and expressions to each work as a whole? Can you explain some of the specific symbolism used throughout your work?
OOAG. In the case of my creations, not all my creations, sculptures, drawings, or paintings have Yorùbá imagery. It would be very cliche and stereotypical to assume that all my works have Yorùbá imagery simply because I am from the Yorùbá kingdom. Although I am from this ethnic group, the essence of being Yorùbá is the ability to articulate ones ideas and thoughts in multiple honed ways, to better support a diverse narrative that goes within the culture,
Hence, my art reflects diverse narratives within my life, which incorporates, timeline (simply a diary of my life;
situations of my life) my culture, Yorùbá spiritual concept, and the way humanity treats itself in the positive and the negative. My work is a gateway for individuals and collectives to question their previously and recently acquired intellect. And also a testament in holding accountable the Western lens of false narrative surrounding African cultures globally. Which pushes for the relevance to the social importance and economic significance of African culture and art.
There is specific symbolism I can explain. The dots you see in my work, relate to my love of astrology and mythology and even a love for archeology since I was young. In time as I grew and was more self aware I realized that using the dots, even creating in a none present way, was a calling back to my origins, which would be Yorùbá culture with an emphasis on its spirituality and its spiritual concept, Ifá. It was a calling to focus on balance and how to be a better human in a world created by a nonhuman entity. I also often use cowry shells, which is a representation of Yorùbá spirituality and also a form of currency, and was something that was worn by the Yorùbá elites. This symbol itself represents one of the strengths of my culture.
If my works don’t have Yorùbá symbols, it does not mean that it’s not work coming from Yorùbá culture. My very being creating the work is the symbol of the Yorùbá people, with an emphasis on its contribution to collective human existence throughout time.
ANTE. Can you explain your journey into art-making as a career? Did you begin with painting then move to sculpture, or have you always worked in an interdisciplinary style? How has your practice evolved over time?
OOAG. Yes, I can. I don’t see art-making as a career. For me, it is destiny to create art to reach a higher calling. A higher calling that is predestined for me. I don’t even call myself an artist. It’s a boxed-up, contrived notion. What I am simply doing is adding to human history with positivity. But, if you would like to know, I, without any one person’s advice decided to use my art to make money. I always choose who I work with, not the other way around. I understood business and saw how business and art come together, and so, in that way it is a career, but it is not the primary concept I live my life by. I’ve been making art since I was a child, it’s a part of who I am. I didn’t really begin anywhere, I just have made what my soul tells me to, and the only place I began was my mother’s womb with the blessing of Olodumare.
ANTE. Which artists or artistic styles have impacted your work? Are there any artists whose work you admire who are working today, or artists from the past whose work you draw inspiration from?
OOAG. Number 1, I dislike Picasso. I do not have a specific style that has influenced me nor do I adhere myself to any movement. I feel that they alter the truism and purity of one’s work, and output in various social contexts. Although one could be influenced by many things and many cultures directly and indirectly, it is important to realize that we can still choose and invite those things to influence us or not. Choice allows one to be a purist in one’s craft. As an artist, and creator of art, it is disheartening, that as a African man in a global setting, that a past context is
often placed upon my present content. For example, the notion that by being African, you are influenced by Basquiat. Without anyone asking you otherwise, people assume this influence and time is spent dispelling it and breaking down the historical timeline of contemporary art that didn’t even originate with Europeans.
I don’t draw inspiration from any particular artist but definitely from the culture of my people and human existence; the turmoil, the discord, the peace, the love within humanity. I will say this, I am not influenced by, but I respect individuals like Julian Schnabel, his stance on artistic autonomy I respect. Also Fela Anikulapo Kuti, his creation and output to reach out and commonize the situation of people globally to be made aware to progress. And, also my family, the strength of my family, the strength of my grandmother, I draw part of my inspiration from them. As well as the strength of black people everywhere. Most of all my inspiration comes from Olodumare.
ANTE. What themes and concepts are central to your practice, particularly in regard to your
OOAG. My work has no category, whether painting, installation, or drawings. To clarify: I don’t categorize my
work. It is merely a sole embodiment of my being. My history, my journeys and my origin. In terms of concepts; I ask for man to question everything, to selflessly try to produce solutions to sustain betterment other than for himself or herself. I have a conceptually strong focus on spirituality and how it’s significant for the development of our planet. And not spiritually in the Western fetishized sense where it’s more so about self indulgence and narcissism instead of selflessness and the reverence to its origins.I also the focus on the concept of iṣẹ, meaning work in Yorùbá language. iṣẹ (work) is very important to the Yorùbá people. The concept of work that is beyond the concept of work , if you get my point. Work is beyond it’s definition in Yorùbá language- its expansive to philosophy, the way you live your life. It’s expansive to how you sacrifice for your family, how you lead your people as a royal. It’s expansive to create a circle of balance.
ANTE. Supporting cultural, artistic and human rights are also important endeavors for you.
Can you share some of the initiatives, both in your home base of Minneapolis and
elsewhere, that you support that are important for you personally?
OOAG. Minneapolis is not my home base. Nigeria is my home base. My country is my home base. The United States is part of my journey in my life.
I would tell you about my endeavors for the future and now. My endeavor for the present is to create paths for artistic philanthropy and build cultural bridges between the United States and Africa alongside the global art world and build infrastructure in my country (Nigeria) for people in need of infrastructural presence. For example, affordable homes for people in my country who are in need of homes or have been displaced and the push for cultural re-education to understand what it means to be African for the purpose of self-sustainability.
Part of what my philanthropy focuses on is African art, with special attention to traditional and contemporary Nigerian Art. I advocate for the preservation of African culture, specifically that of Nigerian cultures, even more specifically Yoruba culture. I support African artists economically and in a way that they are seen and respected as much as their Western counterparts. Not to say we need to prove ourselves, it’s more about educating the West to how we are relevant due to our own cultural experiences and adaptations. I collaborate with other like-minded peers who want to see the sustainable growth of Africa. This is necessary in keeping with the integrity of my vision and principles for how African art and culture is valued not only in the art world but beyond, and how it can teach and influence others beyond its cultural boundaries.
I am interested in expanding touristic outreach in the arts and cultural sectors by building a museum and galleries in my country. Focusing my energy throughout the educational, cultural, and economic sectors, all of this will be done within my philanthropic practice in collaboration with other African philanthropists and visionaries.
In terms of human rights, I advocate for cultural rights, specifically those of indigenous cultures to practice their cultures freely without Western intervention.