VOLTA 2016 Features a Wide Range of New Talent
It's the most diverse edition of the fair yet.
Last night’s opening of VOLTA, the Armory Show’s invitation-only, sister art fair, was packed with viewers eager to see what’s on view from the 100 exhibitors in attendance. Organizers described the eighth edition of the New York iteration as the most diverse yet.
What sets VOLTA apart from the numerous art fairs dotting Manhattan this week is its focus on lesser known and emerging artists, as well as the fact that each gallery shows only one or two artists per booth. The unique format allows for the introduction to a wide range of new talent while simultaneously affording an in-depth look at individual artists’ works.
One of our top picks from last night’s opening preview is artist Derrick Adams’ special curated section this year, titled “Something I Can Feel,” for which the artist invited nine contemporary artists to submit work that explores the idea of the body as a site of tension—and provocation. Adams told artnet News he “kept mental notes” about artists and their work during visits to shows and open studios.
The show is amusing, and thoughtfully planned, right down to his selection of fuchsia-toned carpeting, chosen for, as Adams says, its “soothing, glowing” quality.
Works on view here ranged from Kate Clark’s fantastically creepy, zoomorphic bear cub Behaving (2016), to Ibrahim Ahmed’s mixed-media sculptures intended to express “the feeling of losing a nation,” and Balint Szako’s vibrant paintings with colorful, acrobatic nudes that recall the style of Indian miniature paintings.
Other artists include: Shaun Leonardo: Hugh Hayden; Andria Morales; Brandon Coley Cox; Doreen Garner; and Leonardo Benzant.
First-time Volta exhibitors Victori + Mo from Brooklyn showed work by artist Brian Willmont, whose show “Chaos and Wild Again” is on view at their Bushwick gallery space through March 27.
Their booth included a site-specific installation of two paintings which disappear against an identically-patterned wall. Managing gallery partner Celine Mo describes his work as combining trompe l’oeil and airbrush techniques in a graphic, abstract style.
Another first-time exhibitor was Montreal gallery Simon Blais, which presented a solo booth of work by artist Jessica Peters, whose multi-layered work associate director Francois Babineau describes as both “gestural and geometric.”
Other favorites included one of the first booths we encountered at the preview, New York gallery Marc Straus’s presentation of paintings by Paul Pretzer, which evoke quiet Old Master-style still-lifes.
The images confound viewers by featuring “surreal protagonists” and horses that look as though they came “straight out of Guernica,” as associate gallery director Karen Gilbert describes it.
The gallery also showed large mixed-media collages by Chris Jones that evokes a sense of voyeurism by presenting a fictional apartment facade with illuminated rooms and people visible inside.
London gallery Knight Webb presented a solo booth of works by Berlin artist Juliane Hundertmark, whose paintings of grotesque figures are beautiful and eerie, both at once.
Stuttgart-based gallerist Thomas Fuchs was also a first-time exhibitor at VOLTA, giving over his booth to a solo show of hyperreal paintings by artist Jochen Hein, whose work we also spotted at Miami’s Untitled fair, where it fit perfectly with the beach aesthetic.
Fuchs told us that having visited the fair numerous times as a collector, the single-artist format “totally makes sense” as a way to discover new talent. He is excited about the prospect of expanding the audience for Hein’s work.
We also enjoyed a solo booth of works by artist Cameron Platter, whose large-scale drawings and other artworks explore themes of consumption, excess, detritus, and discord in South Africa.
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