Last week Frieze New York returned once again to the Shed at Hudson Yards. The 1-54 Art fair dedicated to contemporary African and African diaspora art was in a new home in Harlem. Volta Fair took place in the heart of Chelsea in the middle of the art gallery mecca. The big three auction houses had blockbuster sales. It was a busy week to say the least! Art enthusiasts filled the aisles on opening days and jammed the rooms at the auctions ready to purchase some of this year's most sought-after artists. 

Below is a selection of standout artworks that caught our eye

 

ANNE BUCKWALTER

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Anne Buckwalter is a Philadelphia-based artist exploring female identity and the coexistence of contradictory elements. Inspired by the folk art traditions of her Pennsylvania Dutch heritage, her work arranges disparate objects in mysterious rooms and ambiguous spaces. Her quiet domestic scenes are rich in detail and pattern, and the often vacant interiors have just a hint of the sinister about them, lending an edge to their quaintness. A peaceful kitchen scene featured here seems as if someone has just left the room after making a snack, but just off to the side we see a screen in the next room playing pornography. 

Anne is the recipient of a 2020-2021 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a 2020 Idea Fund Grant, and a 2016 Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Grant. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Galveston Artist Residency, Vermont Studio Center, Hewnoaks Artist Colony, and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. She lives and works in Philadelphia, PA.

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LATIFA ECHAKHCH

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Night Time is connected to The Concert, Latifa Echakhch's current presentation at the Swiss pavilion at the Venice Biennale, where she is using abstract conditions of light, form, and sound theory to provoke an experience akin to “leaving a concert”. The paintings in Night Time begin with photographs taken by a friend of Echakhch, the photographer Sim Ouch. Characterized by high exposure and enigmatic compositions in which bodies and limbs are entangled or twisted, the images capture the nightlife of their community of friends in Lausanne, Switzerland. Echakhch uses a fresco method of painting to transpose these images onto canvas, which she treats with a mix of concrete and vinyl glue. Once set, Echakhch cuts into the dense material, a violent and labor-intensive process that leaves cracks and voids in the composition, revealing fragmented bodies in motion. Latifa's work stimulates a deep reflection on the human condition and its environment, instigating a dialogue about understanding daily life in the contemporary world.

Latifa Echakhch's 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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BIANCA BECK

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Bianca Beck was born in 1979 in Columbus, Ohio. Beck brings expressionistic painting to biomorphic papier-mâché forms. Using the human figure as a point of departure, Beck creates exuberant sculptures which shape-shift and evolve depending on the viewer’s perspective. 

These new sculptures evolved from Beck’s Body Double series. A departure from the larger-than-life forms the artist is known for, this new series focuses on the figure in repose as a further exploration of the abstractions that exist within the individual. These small-to-medium scale sculptures stem from Beck’s own investigation of their gender fluidity and queerness. Balancing control and freedom, each work reflects on the perseverance of one’s own identity in the face of external perception, while also celebrating the joys of self-realization and embodiment.

Beck earned a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA and an MFA from Yale University, New Haven, CT. Beck is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the Helen Winternitz Award for Excellence in Painting at Yale University, New Haven, CT; The Ox-Bow School of Art Fellowship Program, Saugatuck, MI; and Artist-in-Residence at Complimenta, Ithaca, NY.

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EAMON ORE-GIRON

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Los Angeles-based artist Eamon Ore-Giron was featured in a solo booth with works that were part of his ongoing Infinite Regress series. Simple shapes shift in and out of graphic fields of gold, and each painting in the series is a variation on the ones that came before, suggesting a trajectory of future iterations. Painting with highly-pigmented flashe on raw brown linen, Ore-Giron’s abstractions recall religious iconography, sacred landscapes, and celestial bodies. Ore-Giron combines motifs and symbols drawn from sources that span geographies and time— from the stylized geometry of Incan jewelry to Brazilian Neo-Concretism, Italian Futurism, and the spatial arrangements of Russian Suprematism—to create a visual language that is uniquely his own.

Ore-Giron was just recently the subject of a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver. He was also recently selected to create major public commissions by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and LA METRO for subway stations in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, respectively. His work is in the permanent collections of Art in Embassies, U.S. Department of State; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Kadist, San Francisco; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Pérez Art Museum Miami; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

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CHARLES GAINES

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LA-based artist Charles Gaines introduced five unique, large-scale works from his acclaimed Numbers and Trees series. In the new works, Gaines has reversed his signature process of layering for the first time since he began the Plexiglas series in 1986 – printing enlarged photographic details of a tree on top of the Plexiglas instead of on the work’s back panel. 

This new approach brings the tree’s shadowy branches to the foreground and obscures the brightly colored, numbered grid painted behind it. The image of the tree has been central to the artist‘s work since the mid- 1970s and his methodical examination of their form continues in this new iteration of the series, which is inspired by the immense trees he encountered during a trip to Dorset, England in early 2020.

Gaines begins each work by assigning it a distinctive color and numbered grid – breaking down the composition into individual cells that reflect the full form of the tree depicted in the photograph. Created through carefully considered systems rather than through the artist’s imagination or intuition, Numbers and Trees calls into question both the objective nature of the trees and the subjective natural and material human actions that surround them.

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Gaines also presented a limited-edition etching titled Notes on Social Justice: Freedman‘s Monument. The work consists of a musical score accompanied by an excerpt from Frederick Douglass’ 1876 speech given at the unveiling of the Freedman’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. The print is a continuation of Gaines’ series, in which the artist translates letters from different texts into musical notes using an intricate system. Proceeds from the sale of the print directly benefit Gaines’s public art project to be realized by Creative Time on New York’s Governor’s Island later in 2022.

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BERTINA LOPES

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Bertina Lopes was considered the mother of contemporary African painting. She was a Mozambican painter and sculptor whose work highlighted the social criticism and nationalistic fervor that influenced other Mozambican artists of her time. The daughter of a Portuguese father and African mother, she left Mozambique early in her life to study art in Lisbon. Her travels to Portugal led her to meet other key Portuguese artists, such as expressionist Carlos Botelho and surrealist Marcelino Macedo Vespeira. Bertina was inspired by and engaged with the Avant-garde painting of Portuguese Modernism. It was there that she was able to view exhibitions of a diverse range of artists from South American graffiti to Western painters.  

Lopes returned to Mozambique in 1953. During this period of her life, cultural nationalism became a significant influence ideologically and artistically. Much of her work featured African fairy-tales and stories along with political events occurring at the time. Although Lopes is known more for her explicitly political works, the two pieces that were on view at the 1-54 fair are abstract. This aesthetic turn represents the joyful exuberance of independence from colonial rule achieved after a long arduous fight.

Bertina Lopes achieved significant recognition and received numerous awards and prizes. She won an award from the International Centre for Mediterranean Art and Culture in 1975 and the Grand Prix d’Honneur from the European Union of Art Critics in 1988, to name a few.

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EMMA MCINTYRE

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Emma McIntyre practices what could be considered “promiscuous abstraction.” This is due in part to how she handles her medium and in part to her frame of reference. Her paintings resemble landscapes, events, and explosive recaps of the history of abstraction. McIntyre’s fluid application of paint, which includes varieties of brush work, staining, oil stick, painting directly from the oil tube, spills and pours, and prints from her own body, speak to a lack of allegiance to mark making. Thus, her work seeks to address issues of female agency while opening up new horizons in contemporary abstract painting. 

Born in 1990 in Auckland, New Zealand, McIntyre graduated with a BVA from AUT University in 2011, and an MFA from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, in 2016. In 2019 she was awarded a Fulbright General Graduate award to study an MFA at ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

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ALEX HUBBARD

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The depictions of an odd assortment of objects have crept into Alex Hubbard’s paintings: jerrycans, rubber wheels, screws, tree branches, hoses, brass instruments—the kind of miscellaneous objects usually relegated to the corner of a garage or basement. This hodgepodge sits restlessly among the acidic colors and veneers of the abstract compositions for which Hubbard has become well-known. These various items seem precariously placed, as if the composition were moments away from falling apart. But they are arranged with precision, and there is a purposefulness to the space they occupy and the work’s thick surface.

To make these paintings, Hubbard begins with pours of brightly tinted urethane resin, a quick-drying material that hardens in splashes of varied thickness. He then works deliberately in acrylic and oil paint, responding to the pools of resin by adding flat areas of color, masking sections with white, and painting forms that are often depicted from odd perspectives. Many of these forms hover ambiguously between abstraction and figuration. They are often layered like paper cut-outs in a collage, detached from any sense of depth.

Hubbard was born in Toledo, OH in 1975 but currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. His works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, among others.

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JONATHAN BALDOCK

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With paintings filling Frieze's aisles as far as the eye can see, finding a booth full of ceramics was like a breath of fresh air. London-based artist Jonathan Baldock uses craft to express human emotion—from humor to sadness—particularly in his face mask series. These surrounded an installation of tall, stacked towers. Each piece consisted of ceramic sections placed one on top of another, with Baldock often adding humorous elements, like a set of protruding hands.

In his work, Baldock addresses the trauma, stress, sensuality, mortality and spirituality around our relationship to the body and the space it inhabits. His work is saturated with humor and wit, as well as an uncanny, macabre quality that channels his longstanding interest in myth and folklore. Baldock works across multiple platforms including sculpture, installation and performance. He graduated from Winchester School of Art with a BA in Painting (2000-2003), followed by the Royal College of Art, London with an MA in Painting (2003-2005). He was born in 1980 in Kent, UK and currently lives and works in London.

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CAMERON MARTIN

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Seen on a jaunt through Chelsea, Cameron Martin’s paintings feature overlapping and undulating forms in varying patterns and geometries, producing a visual phenomena that taps into histories of abstraction and present-day digital interfaces. Drawing upon a growing lexicon of “almost-signs,” his paintings and drawings engage the viewer’s recognition of familiar cultural forms and their associations without explicitly defining their significance. Patterns, logos, and shapes reminiscent of those found in everyday life are contextualized within a new visual terrain across the canvas, simultaneously evoking images of various current information delivery systems and their developing relationships to one another.

Martin received his BA from Brown University and continued his studies at the Whitney Independent Study Program. He has exhibited at the Whitney Museum, Saint Louis Art Museum, Columbus Museum of Art, City Gallery (Wellington, New Zealand), and Tel Aviv Museum. His work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum, New York; Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN; and Saint Louis Art Museum, MO, among others.

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RUTH OWENS

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Ruth Owens' work was seen at the Volta art fair this year in a powerful montage of paintings and drawings. She was born in 1959 to a young German woman and a Black serviceman from Georgia. The nomadic military lifestyle of her childhood was complicated by restrictions to mixed families in many communities and laid the basis for the formation of her cultural identity and therefore, her artistic practice. 

She is a figurative painter and video artist whose work expands the narrative around feminine and racial identity. She uses herself and the intimacy of her family as models to assert the individualities, challenges, and unique perspectives of lives that are atypical by virtue of the standards and narrow vision prevalent in the world. The influence of this also makes her work a psychological exploration of personal memory with regards to family dynamics and relationships.

Owens graduated in 2018 with an MFA from the University of New Orleans after leaving her medical practice of 25 years. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Addison Gallery of American Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Ackland Art Museum at UNC Chapel Hill. She currently lives and works in New Orleans, LA.

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THE AUCTIONS

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Many of the lots were by women artists, setting records for Yayoi Kusama, Robin F. Williams and Anna Weyant, to name just a few.  Anna Weyant’s paintings, sleek still lifes that riff on old master works, went way over their estimates. On the heels of Gagosian’s representation of Weyant announced earlier this month, the 27-year-old artist’s market is on the rise. Hilary Pecis’s meticulous interior scene Adrianne’s Bookshelf hammered with a bidder in the room at the high estimate of $500,000, for a final price of $630,000, more than double the low $300,000 estimate. Bidders registered in Hong Kong, Korea, and New York competed for all of these prizes. 

Of course, we can't forget to mention one of the marquee works of the week was an untitled piece by Jean-Michel Basquiat from 1982: a sprawling canvas stretching over 16 feet long and 8 feet high. The striking work comes from the collection of the art world’s favorite astronaut, Yusaku Maezawa, and sold for a staggering $85 million. That’s the third highest price the artist has ever achieved at auction, and a 50 percent increase from the painting’s last sale in 2016.

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