10 Contemporary Artists to Watch: The Art Fair Edition
This month's artists include Kehinde Wiley, Tony Cragg, and more.
The first round of the spring art fairs is upon us, and, for some, that means it’s time to begin the search for new works from both emerging and established talent. To make the hunt a little easier for the new collector, the artnet Gallery Network has handpicked 10 artists that should be on your radar. They come from every corner of the globe, and will be showing at ADAA: The Art Show, The Armory Show, Art Basel Hong Kong, and VOLTA NY. For those of you just entering the art world, here are some basics to help you get started.
ADAA: The Art Show
Tony Cragg, one of the most distinguished contemporary sculptors working today, has developed his work within the context of diverse influences, ranging from his experience as a laboratory technician to his engagement with English landscape art and Minimalist sculpture. In his early use of found industrial objects and fragments, Cragg articulated a transformative relationship to form, surface, scale, and volume. Through his dynamic and investigative approach to materials and objects in the physical world, Cragg has broadened the boundaries of sculpture as a medium and brought continuous innovation to the language of sculpture (see Tony Cragg and Paula Hayes Next Up for Madison Square Park).
The Armory Show
Daniel Buren, a well-known French conceptual artist, has spent his career exploring the relationship between a painting and the space on the wall that it calls home. Pushing this idea to the limit, he creates site-specific works that manipulate this relationship and question how the space defines the work, and, inversely, how the work defines the space. Any obvious site-specific variance is mitigated by his use of his signature stripes that tie all of his works together.
A solo booth of Huguette Caland’s recent works will be on display at The Armory Show. The Lebanese artist first became known for her varied and sometimes abstract depictions of the female form. Her newer work drifts away from the body and the overtly sexual into a more abstract but culturally nuanced realm. The works that will be on display were influenced by the artist’s California garden, as well as the textiles of her native Lebanon (see Hughette Caland: An Artist of Cheeky Beirut).
New York-based painter Kehinde Wiley has become well known for his portraits of African American men and women—often created from subjects found on the city streets. In his work, there is a clear reference to the European portrait tradition, bringing up questions of race, politics, and gender. In combination with being shown at the Armory, his work is currently on display at the Brooklyn Museum in the solo exhibition “Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic” (see John Kerry Will Present the State Department Medal of Arts to Kehinde Wiley).
Norwegian artist Sverre Koren Bjertnæs first established himself as a figurative painter and drawer. More recently, he has taken up sculptural figuration as part of his practice. Both his 2D and 3D work play off of traditional ideas of portraiture and sculpture. He uses color, irony, and expressionistic constructional gestures to lend character to his work.
Art Basel Hong Kong
Chinese artist Zhang Hui comes from a background in stage and set design. He works in different media, and his art deals with questions that are central to the theater: what is reality and what is its opposite? How do theater and life overlap? The theatrical dimension that naturally attaches itself to his work makes his art deeply psychological at its core.
Jonathan Meese is a self-identified political artist, dedicated solely to the cause of art. His works are loud, combative, and demand attention (see Jonathan Meese Lambasts Bayreuth Festival Following Dismissal). Often making himself the subject of his art, he addresses his frustration with war, authority, and political ideology.
Viennese artist Rudolf Polanszky’s reconstruction paintings explore the three-dimensional topology of canvases created by the confrontation between various materials, such as paint, textiles, wood, plastics, asphalt, and foil. He is known for his process-dependent multimedia works that explore questions of free will versus predetermined outcomes in art and human behavior.
Hulda Guzmán is a young Dominican artist making her own rules for artistic production. So far, she has created two series of works: one using her left hand and the other using her right. Her left-hand creations are gestural and the forms are more organic and less precisely rendered. Works created with her right hand show a more rigorous attention to detail and the forms are more geometric and polished. The two-hand experiment makes Guzmán’s work cerebral in its production.
Marci Washington is an American artist who works entirely in the realm of fiction. Through her work, she constructs her own fictional world and narrative, pulling from gothic tropes and using imagery culled from contemporary fashion. Washington’s watercolors lead viewers into a familiar but fantastical world.
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