LA ART FAIR WEEK

FEBRUARY 2022

Frieze Los Angeles returned once again after a two-year hiatus stronger than ever. The fair’s VIP opening boasted a crowded and buzzy mood. And with the exception of everyone wearing masks and a few vaccine protocols thrown in, it felt just like the social fair days of old. Increasing its gallery count to some 100 exhibitors, it was as busy as ever. Booths were jam-packed with fairgoers embracing and excitedly chatting, making it at times difficult to walk through the aisles for the first few hours.
Coinciding with Frieze every year, Felix has also become a not-to-miss event...the art fair that replaces booths with suites and poolside cabanas at the Roosevelt Hotel. Despite the laid-back atmosphere, the quality of work did not disappoint. 

Below is a selection of standout artworks that made a big impression.

MARIA BERRIO

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Created specially for the fair, these works mark the beginning of a larger series of paintings by on-the-rise artist María Berrío, who blends the history of the 13th-century Children’s Crusade with the current mass migrations of peoples across the Mediterranean and the U.S. border. Each piece has a story that lends to the theme somehow. With all her work, Berrio blends fantasy and reality. Cavalry, featured here, depicts her son on a whimsical merry-go-round, a reference to the often long and tiresome journey children must take during migration. The carousel is the most poignant symbol to the absence of place, a machine that moves in circles with no real or familiar ground or destination.

Based in Brooklyn, María Berrío grew up in Colombia. Her work has been shown as part of significant exhibitions at The Bronx Museum of the Arts; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Nasher Museum of Art; Prospect.4 Triennial, New Orleans; and the Museo del Barrio, New York. The artist’s first survey show was on view at The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach from January until May 2021. Her work will feature in Women Painting Women, a thematic exhibition featuring 46 female artists who choose women as subject matter in their works, on view at The Modern, Fort Worth, May 15 – September 25 2022. Additionally, the artist’s work will be included in a major group exhibition opening in September at The DePaul Art Museum in Chicago.

Berrío’s work is in permanent collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University; Pérez Art Museum, Miami and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, among others.

 

LATIFA ECHAKHCH

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The sky, a recurring theme in Latifa Echakhch’s practice, is ever present in the series Sun Set Down. The series is influenced by the super-saturated aesthetics of technicolor film and the bright and brilliant color palette of mainstream landscape photography. A radiant sun set in a mountain landscape is captured in vivid hues, ranging from dark blue to red, orange and gold, while the lower part of the scene is dominated by the dark silhouette of the surrounding peaks. But only fragments of the painted image are intact, while large portions of the scene appear to be missing, scratched and abrased with vigorous gestures, unveiling a rough layer of concrete previously applied on the canvas. The process of deconstruction collides with the romantic subject matter, confounding the viewer’s gaze, one of the central motives of Echakhch’s narrative. Latifa's work stimulates a deep reflection on the human condition and its environment, instigating a dialogue about how the symbolism and elements from the past are necessary and important to us for understanding daily life in the contemporary world.

Latifa Echakhch will represent Switzerland in the upcoming 59th Venice Biennale, and her work has been exhibited internationally in several solo exhibitions at The Power Plant, Toronto; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Hammer Museum, LA; Kunsthalle Basel; Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; MACBA, Barcelona; Swiss Institute, New York; and Tate Modern, among many others.

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DENZIL FORRESTER

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Fill Them Spirit, featured here, is a typical example of Denzil Forrester’s practice, which derives its title from Bob Marley & The Wailers’ song ‘(I'm Gonna) Put It On’. The figures’ distinctive clothing and tall 'tam' hats reflect the dub and reggae scene that has inspired the British-Grenadian artist’s work for over four decades. Animated by vivid flashes of color, Forrester’s treatment of space accentuates the composition’s visual dynamism. Revealing his debt to early Cubism, the artist toys with perspective and depth and transforms the revelers into a cacophony of forms that mimic the pulsing rhythm of the music. 

Forrester's work began in the nightclubs of East London in the 1980s. The artist would take his sketchbook with him and draw in situ before developing the larger, painterly compositions in the studio the next day. Each sketch was dictated by the length of the song, roughly four minutes long, with the next beginning in sync with the changing soundtrack. Forrester transposes the freneticism of these drawings in his paintings by using gestural, angular brush strokes that emulate the dynamic atmosphere of the club.

While the artist is very well known in England, he is about to make a mark in the U.S. this year. He was selected to participate in the upcoming 58th edition of the Carnegie International, which will be on view in Pittsburgh from September 24, 2022, to April 2, 2023. Following is a solo show at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City and the ICA Miami in 2023.

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SAJ ISSA

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Saj Issa is a multidisciplinary artist from St. Louis, Missouri. She was denied of her Palestinian ancestral history and cultural existence. In response, she reinterprets domestic objects that reference her personal experiences to religion, politics, displacement, identity, and social issues.

Issa fabricates and re-purposes domestic objects to reveal an undercurrent of hostility and discomfort in the social, cultural, and political landscape. By altering ordinary objects to express and communicate the social and political issues that she has experienced, her work manifests in traditional craft mediums: clay, fibers, and embroidery. This allows the narrative to directly reference her culture in an attempt to bring awareness to viewers of their own similarities to the side they position themselves against.

Issa received her BFA with an emphasis in ceramics from Webster University in 2017. Issa participated in long-term residencies at Craft Alliance Center of Art+Design and Belger Crane Yard Studio. She is currently an MFA candidate at University of California Los Angeles.

Seen above is a work from her Convenience Store series, a mixed media work that includes acrylic, collage and ceramics.

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KYOKO IDETSU

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Kyoko Idetsu’s portraits are taken from ordinary scenes of everyday life involving her family, friends, and town. Her ability to capture highly personal moments with a journalistic quality gives her work a universality the viewer can relate to.


Idetsu was born in Tokyo, Japan and currently lives and works there. She has exhibited widely in Tokyo and has sold out her work here in the US. 

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MICHAEL WILLIAMS

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In his latest Puzzle Paintings, Michael Williams uses an analog system of processing his drawings to find a starting place for painting. Cutting into a representational drawing, he replaces amorphous sections with new forms and interventions that disrupt, complicate, and further resolve the original composition. This second drawing then becomes the source material for the painting, with the translation to pigment, medium, and canvas bringing about its own adjustments and distortions.

Here, for the first time, Williams has relied upon a single “first” representational drawing to make a group of paintings; while each painting is based on a unique “second” drawing, each of them is connected to a common source. Williams has also worked with a more-or-less consistent palette throughout the series. Grey, black, and flesh tones dominate, with notable exceptions that introduce a stark artificiality: chief among these is a piercing green that cuts through the comparatively natural scheme, supported in its boldness by oranges, pinks, and purples that help maintain an aura of crisp geometry.

His work is in the permanent collections of institutions including the Dallas Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Canada. Williams lives and works in Los Angeles.

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CHRIS BURDEN

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The presentation of Chris Burden’s Dreamer’s Folly (2010) was the first time that the large-format sculpture had been exhibited in the United States. The installation consists of three cast-iron gazebos that Burden conjoined to produce a fantastical structure. Painted white and accented with delicate lace that features a “tree of life” design, Dreamer’s Folly unites the traditions of interpreting and shaping nature in British decorative arts and landscape architecture. It is one of several sculptures that Burden titled with the word Folly, referring to the ornamental structures designed as focal points within gardens. The work explores the evocative power of its ornate forms, establishing an otherworldly space for reverie.

Dreamer’s Folly furthered a creative inquiry into the cultural meanings of the built environment that was critical to Burden’s artistic project. In its use of cast-iron elements to establish an immersive social space, the work is related to Urban Light, his permanent installation of 202 antique streetlights that is a landmark work in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In March, the book "Poetic Practical: The Unrealized Work of Chris Burden", will be published, which includes many of his unrealized projects, never-before-seen archival materials, and newly commissioned photography of Burden’s studio and property.

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PAULINE SHAW

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Pauline Shaw meditates on the relationships between body and spirit, cultural and ancestral history, and science and mysticism. The large-scale felted tapestries are made of wool, silk, and other fibers. The seemingly abstract imagery derives from the artist’s extensive research into memory and MRI scans, mapping personal memories as well as neural and bodily abnormalities and degeneration. The resulting collage serves as an attempt to capture something as intangible as a memory, simultaneously blending the fragility and fallibility of processes of recollection and perception. Exploring the erasure of traditions, mythologies, and memory Shaw has experienced as a first-generation Asian American woman, the installation communicates the rootlessness and cultural confusion of a diasporic or immigrant experience.

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ANNE IMHOF

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As a German artist celebrated both for her austerity and searing criticism of Western civilization, Anne Imhof unveiled a new large-scale oil painting that depicts rolling clouds in brilliant gold and shades of burnt orange and brown, a sight that resonates, intentionally or not, with a city that frequently endures its own smoky skies. 

In this piece, Imhof breaks from her more well-known monochromatic canvases to embrace an explosion of orange forms. The mushroom-like clouds in the image have no discernible source, much like the explosions that have appeared in Imhof’s works on paper. The triptych features a clash of translucent plumes, impressionistic background smoke, and active, photographic fire in the center, making for a texturally rich surface that belies the work’s two-dimensional nature. Self-consciously theatrical, the work exists as another of Imhof’s pointed commentaries on the environmental impact of commodity culture in post-capitalist western society.

Anne Imhof has emerged as one of the most acclaimed artists of her generation. Her genre-spanning practice encompasses performance and choreography, painting and drawing, and installation and sculpture. She lives and works in Berlin and New York. 

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BARI ZIPERSTEIN

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Bari Ziperstein’s mixed media, ceramic-based sculpture practice engages ideas of consumerism, propaganda, and the built environment. Ziperstein is noted for her ongoing investigation of Soviet-era textile design and patterns. Her highly technical ceramics reference 1980s propaganda posters from the Eastern Bloc, which she sourced specifically for their patronizing messages about domestic morality, alcoholism, motherhood, and the place of women in society. Ziperstein considers it to be a distinct feminist gesture that she has offered the propaganda a new tactile presence, interrogating the relationship between craft, the home, and femininity by leaning into ceramics’ historical position as a craft practice. Her objects and sculptural tableaux reflect her interest in the political dimensions of capitalist economies, examining American aspiration through a historical lens.

Bari Ziperstein was born in 1978 in Chicago, IL and lives in Los Angeles, CA. She received a Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA in 2004 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a certificate in Women’s Studies from Ohio University, Athens OH in 2000. Bari has been recognized by grantmaking organizations such as the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; Center for Cultural Innovation, Los Angeles; Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, Los Angeles; Arts Council of Long Beach, Long Beach; and the City of Pasadena Department of Cultural Affairs, Pasadena, CA and has been awarded residencies at Anderson Ranch, Snowmass Village, CO and the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT.

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CAMILLE HENROT

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The practice of French artist Camille Henrot moves seamlessly between film, painting, drawing, bronze, sculpture, and installation. Henrot draws upon references from literature, psychoanalysis, social media, cultural anthropology, self-help, and the banality of everyday life in order to question what it means to be both a private individual and a global subject.

The Dos and Don'ts paintings that were featured at Frieze are about code: computer codes, social codes, etiquette, manners, and so forth. As a result of the digital domination of our social life, the artist wonders how social codes are being reconstructed, with technology playing simultaneous contradictory roles, rendering us both more socially connected and more alienated. Exploring this reality, Camille makes works that are not always what they seem -- paintings imitate prints that imitate paintings, and illusionistic depth is flattened and then fleshed out again. 

Born in 1978 in Paris, France, Henrot lives and works between Berlin and New York City. Henrot has had numerous solo exhibitions worldwide, including the New Museum, New York; Schinkel Pavilion, Berlin; New Orleans Museum of Art; Fondazione Memmo, Rome; Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Japan, among others.