Artists to Watch This Month: 10 Solo Gallery Exhibitions to Seek Out in September in New York
Brandi Twilley, Awol Erizku, Jane Dickson, Bony Ramirez, and more.
Brandi Twilley, Awol Erizku, Jane Dickson, Bony Ramirez, and more.
September marks the end of summer, back to school, return to office—and the start of art-fair season. Coinciding with Armory Week in New York, dozens of gallery exhibitions are opening across the city this week. From emerging artists debuting at new galleries and established artists presenting new bodies of work, it’s an exciting time to go gallery-hopping.
Looking at whose been generating a lot of buzz lately, undertaken important projects recently, and, frankly, whose work caught our eye, we’ve rounded up 10 solo shows that you should definitely have on your radar.
Sheida Soleimani’s ongoing series “Ghost Writer” sees the artist construct elaborate photographic vignettes through which she “ghostwrites” the lives and histories of her parents (specifically within their context as dissidents in post-1979 Iran) and other refugees—those currently seeking asylum in Europe, as well as in pre- and post-9/11 America. The series debuted at Providence College Galleries and Edel Assanti in London, and earlier this summer went on view at the MFA Boston in the solo exhibition “Banner Project.”
Now, the newest installment goes on view this month at Denny Gallery in “Birds of Passage.” Here Soleimani continues her artistic investigation with her parents. Using her signature vibrant collaged backdrops and meticulously staged objects, Soleimani illustrates their lives and memories, hopes and dreams, offering a visual exploration of personal and collective narratives.
Based in Philadelphia, Austin Martin White has a double-header of gallery exhibitions going on view this month: a show of new paintings at Derek Eller Gallery, “Lost in the Sauce,” and “Familiar Dysphoria” at Petzel, which has announced concurrent representation of the artist. The artist’s simultaneous shows are a feat, considering his very first solo was held only last year at Capitain Petzel in Berlin.
For this recent body of work, White researched 18th-century colonial Mexico, in particular the genre of “casta” paintings, which served as a tool of racial codification based on an individual’s proximity to whiteness. For the artist, a large part of the impetus behind this line of inquiry comes from uncertainty surrounding his own familial ancestry; he uses his art as a means to explore notions of belonging. In White’s compositions, hierarchies of identity and historical memory are made material through layers of paint, acrylic medium, and spray paint across surfaces such as screened mesh, resulting in highly tactile, emotionally charged compositions that resist easy reading.
For her fourth solo show with Sargent’s Daughters, Oklahoma City-based painter Brandi Twilley created more than 40 small-scale oil paintings. In these works, Twilley revisits the time in her life when she worked as a cleaner at the local Oklahoma grocery store chain, and also the title of the exhibition, “Crest Foods.”
The empty aisles and fluorescent lighting in several works evoke the idea of liminal spaces or backrooms, as haunting as they are fascinating. Tempered with moments of dark humor and natural beauty—such as a parking lot sunset—the show brings viewers into Twilley’s personal relationship and history with a specific place and time in her life. The artist’s brushwork is decidedly unselfconscious, with lights, store shelves, and text (sometimes legible, sometimes not), often painted in a single stroke, evoking the sense of looking at a hazy memory.
The paintings also offer a poignant glimpse into working-class day-to-day life and realities, as well as the oft unseen histories and trajectories that ultimately inspire artists who also hold day or concurrent jobs.
Arcmanoro Niles is best known for his almost impossibly vivid figurative paintings, wherein he has developed a technique of layering a range of bright hues that makes his canvases appear to glow. “A Moment Alone in the Shade” marks a significant shift in Niles’s approach, as it is his first exhibition of exclusively works on paper. Followers of the artist’s bold and colorful canvases won’t want to miss this exciting new development in the artist’s practice, which accesses a greater sense of immediacy and rawness.
Drawing inspiration from an archive of personal photographs, comprised of everything from family photo albums to pictures from old cellphones, Niles interprets and brings to life these personal, bygone moments while continuing to hone his mastery of color. Though known for focusing on the mundane and banal in his painting to explore contemporary narratives, this newest body of work offers a deeper investigation into ideas around memory, emotional vulnerability, and family ties.
If you’ve ever found yourself mesmerized by the golden glow of a Gustav Klimt painting or a Japanese folding screen landscape with a golden sky, Stacy Lynn Waddell’s “light takes time to reach us” at Candice Madey should be at the top of your list of exhibitions to visit. The show follows Waddell’s tenure as artist-in-residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, which culminated in the large-scale project “Home House” on the façade of the museum.
Waddell’s second solo show with Candice Madey features a series of landscapes crafted from layered precious metals, a gilded portrait, and a collection of silver leafed, low-relief pastiglia works depicting. The artist used Winslow Homer’s 1899 watercolor and graphite After the Hurricane, Bahamas as a jumping-off point for this new body of work (19th-century American art and culture is a frequent source of inspiration in her practice). Through both the compositional and material elements of the works in the show, Waddell investigates man’s relationships with—and sometimes paradoxes of—nature, hierarchies of value, and social structures.
Later this year, Waddell will temporarily relocate to Umbria, Italy, as the Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellow, as well as to oversee the installation of A Moon For A Sun at Sala I, Rome.
Following on the heels of “Competing with Lightning,” a solo museum exhibition at the Contemporary Austin that showcased works from more than two decades of his career, for his second solo exhibition with James Cohan, Eamon Ore-Giron expands upon his series “Talking Shit,” which he undertook in 2017 while based in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The multidisciplinary artist is widely recognized for his distinctive artistic style that synthesizes elements of indigenous visual cultures and craft traditions with modern movements such as Suprematism, De Stijl, and Concrete art. Presenting a body of work comprising paintings, textiles, and pieces in ceramic tile, the artist explores the nature and history of symbols, specifically those drawn from Mexico and Peru—as well as how those symbols are transmuted over time and across cultures.
The Los Angeles-based artist (and Beyoncé chronicler) Awol Erizku joined Sean Kelly last year, and his solo exhibition “Delirium of Agony” is his first with the gallery. Interrogating cultural iconography from a variety of contemporary perspectives—hip-hop, art history, and sports, to name a few—Erizku deconstructs facets of the art-historical canon and history itself as a means of finding new ways of understanding culture today.
The exhibition will span the entirety of the gallery, and include work from a diverse range of mediums, including paintings, neon installations, photographs, sculptures, and works on paper, and employ what he refers to as “Afro-esotericism”: his unique Afrocentric aesthetic.
Erizku’s first monograph, Mystic Parallax, was recently released by Aperture, and the artist will be on hand to sign copies at the gallery on September 9.
Once described as “the painter of American Darkness” by friend and fellow artist Nan Goldin, Jane Dickson has lived and worked in New York since 1977. Inspired by the gritty milieu of the city in that period, her figurative paintings offer a voyeuristic glimpse into the views and lives of the urban underbelly.
Shortly after moving to New York, Dickson began working on the Spectacolor sign—the first animated-light board in Times Square. She went on to curate and participate in “Messages to the Public,” a text-based series of activations to which Jenny Holzer, Keith Haring, and David Hammons also contributed. For her exhibition “Promised Land” at Karma, Dickson symbolically returns to this style of text-based works. Using her own archive of nighttime and nightlife photography from the past 40 years, Dickson has produced a new body of textual works by self-appropriating, cropping, and reframing her past work. Even remixed, they still evoke an atmosphere of “American Darkness,” adapted for a new era.
The self-taught artist Bony Ramirez moved from the Dominican Republic to the United States at the age of 13 and has never returned. Though he has no photos from his early childhood, what he does have are powerful impressions of the country and culture—full of color and texture. Based in Harlem, and with a studio in Jersey City, Ramirez’s practice attempts to piece together, reconstruct, and imagine his life in the Caribbean as a child, as well as explore and celebrate the Dominican Republic’s culture and history.
In his exhibition “TROPICAL APEX” with Jeffery Deitch, visitors can enter Ramirez’s boldly colorful, imagined worlds, but are also invited to reflect on ideas around personal and collective histories, the boundaries of memory, and cultural narratives.
Marc Straus is presenting Nigerian artist Ozioma Onuzulike’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, showcasing works from four of the artist’s series, named for the materials they emulate: “Palm Kernel Shell Beads,” “Yam,” “Honeycomb,” and “Chainmail.” A renowned contemporary ceramic artist as well as poet and academic, Onuzulike weaves messages around colonialism, migration, and global warming into each of his series.
Onuzulike takes inspiration from everyday natural elements and then produces them en masse in clay. These individual, basic elements are then meticulously woven and constructed into tapestries and hanging sculptures, metaphorically and symbolically referencing the many cultures and histories of Africa—ranging from the slave trade and its aftermath to revered textile and clothing traditions and Africa’s natural resources.
The time-consuming and laborious task of creating these works is a feat to behold, and rewards close study in person, as the meticulous details and craftsmanship in Onuzulike’s nets capture the eye and convey complex stories that are specific in their detail but universal in their effect.
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