Frieze, ALAC and Felix LA's Highlights

A first look at highlights for Frieze and Felix LA’s debuts as well as works from ALAC. Looking forward to next week!

Sanya Kantarovsky
Tutor II, 2018

Watercolor, ink and bleach on linen | 17 x 13 inches

Sanya Kantarovsky relates his work to the graphic, calligraphic, and historic influences that guide his practice. His signature works often have thinly applied, wiped, or scraped layers of paint, and feature narrative scenes populated by isolated, sinewy figures. The artist frequently includes indirect social-political commentary and a critical look at the idea of suffering artistic genius; the blank page is also a recurring motif in many works as an allegory of both creative potential and amnesia. 

Andrew Dadson
Pacific Yellow Restretch, 2019

Oil and Acrylic on Linen | 16 x 13 x 3.5 inches

Vancouver-based artist, Andrew Dadson, consistently engages with the notion of boundaries in relation to space and time. Fascinated with the monochrome, a genre that has a long and lauded history, he crosses, blurs, and questions the traditional limits of the canvas. His practice is distinguished by his thick handling of paint, often beginning with undercoats of bright colors and leading to topcoats of black or white. These layers are scraped, pushed, and dragged, then piled on again, creating specific work that questions the beginning and the end of the boundaries.

Nan Goldin
Blue, 2016

Archival pigment print | Image: 59 1/2 x 80 inches

Nan Goldin’s richly colored snapshots capture a world that is universally human yet highly personal. While Goldin, now recognized as a pioneer of diaristic photography, documents with unflinching candor a society ravaged by AIDS, drug addiction, and abuse, it is the empathy reflected in these images that imbue them with a remarkable lyricism. Unlike the cool detachment of documentary photography, taking pictures for Goldin is “a way of touching someone—a form of tenderness.”

John Baldessari
Hot & Cold Series: THE FAT MAN... BETTY Except for about six pages, 2018

Varnished inkjet prints on canvas with acrylic paint | Volcano: 55 1/2 x 45 x 1 1/2 inches, Iceberg: 57 3/8 x 45 x 1 1/2 inches

John Baldessari is an American Conceptual artist known for his pioneering use of appropriated imagery. By blending photography, painting, and text, his work examines the plastic nature of artistic media while offering commentary on our contemporary culture. “I’ve often thought of myself as a frustrated writer,” he explained. “I consider a word and an image of equal weight, and a lot of my work comes out of that kind of thinking.”

Johnny Abrahams
Untitled (Dark Blue), 2019

Oil and Wax on Canvas | 72 x 47 inches

Johnny Abrahams makes exquisite, labor-intensive, abstract acrylic-on-canvas paintings, covered edge-to-edge with endless iterations of patterned lines. “Beginning each piece with a grid, I can either express that structure or divide it into smaller, increasingly intricate geometries to form a progressively finer language of elements,” he explains. “Put into high-contrast figure-ground relationships, these reduced elements become vibratory, and they destabilize the fixed gaze.” He often works with curving, zigzagging, or straight lines, creating the illusion of movement and depth on the flat, still surface of the picture plane to call attention to the process of perception. 

Borrowed Light, 2018

Acrylic box, custom-printed photographic filter | 35.4 x 27.5 x 6.7 inches

Troika is a London-based studio known for their experimental practice that employs a cross-disciplinary approach, intersecting between sculpture, architecture, and contemporary installation. Borrowed Light is a box-structure which holds a diagonal transparent slab lined on either side with photographic film, each displaying a different colour gradient. A colour field emerges from the combination of the two overlapping gradients. The spatial arrangement of the two films and the resulting projected colour extends the two-dimensional photographic medium into a three-dimensional color shifting object.

Gabriel Rico
Asintomática III, 2019

Brass, branch, knife, and neon | 19.7 x 19.7 x 1.6 inches

The principle of Asintomática III is to achieve a syncopated rhythm from the elements that compose it, while considering the abstraction generated by a measurement of the separate elements that comprise them.  The mind begins to visualize the different forms between them and after a few moments observing it, the different materials of which they are made are evidenced. It is a visual game between the image generated by first impression when seeing the artwork and the last image you saw - as if the process of observation itself was the one that discovered, little by little, the aesthetic benefits of the elements that are used in the sculptures.

Jeppe Hein
Light Green, Medium Purple and Dark Orange Mirror Balloon, 2019

Glass fiber reinforced plastic, chrome lacquer, magnet, string (white smoke) | 15 3/4 x 10 1/4 x 10 1/4 inches

Due to their shape and reflective surface, the balloons produce a distorted perspective of the surrounding space, similar to a fish-eye view. Only the roof seems to prevent the balloons from soaring into the air and expanding the reflection to the infinite.

Modified Social Bench O, 2008

Powder coated aluminium | 30 x 70 3/4 x 19 2/3 inches

Out of investigating architecture, communication, and social behaviour in the urban space, a series of bench designs was born under the common title Modified Social Benches. The bench designs borrow their basic form from the ubiquitous park or garden bench, but are altered to various degrees to make the act of sitting a conscious physical endeavour. With their modifications, the benches transform their surroundings into places of activity rather than rest and solitude; they foster exchange between the users and the passers-by, thus lending the work a social quality. Due to their alterations, the benches end up somewhere between a dysfunctional object and a functional piece of furniture, and therefore demonstrate the contradiction between artwork and functional object.

Vertical Cut (110 x 80 cm), 2017

Mirror foil on aluminium frame | 43 1/3 x 31 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches

A slash cuts through the surface of a mirror canvas, composed of mirror foil mounted on a frame. Due to the materiality of the foil, the mirror surface ripples along the edge of the cut, giving the mirror a wavelike appearance. Alluding to Lucio Fontana’s slash series, the Mirror Canvas series broadens the perception of an image by affording a narrow view into the depth of the canvas, transforming the flat surface into a three-dimensional sculpture.

Jordan Nassar
A Flowers' Field, 2018

Hand embroidered cotton on cotton, artist frame | 49 x 29 inches

Nassar’s hand embroidered textile pieces address an intersecting field of language, ethnicity and the embedded notions of heritage and homeland. Treating craft within its capacity as communicative form, Nassar examines conflicting issues of identity and cultural participation using geometric patterning adapted from Islamic symbols present in traditional Palestinian hand embroidery. Nassar generates these symbols via computer and then meticulously hand stitches them onto carefully mapped-out patterns. In the enmeshing and encoding of these symbols within his work, Nassar roots his practice in a linguistic and geopolitical field of play characterized by both conflict and unspoken harmony.

Elmgreen & Dragset
Human Scale (Zero), 2018

Resin, aluminum, stainless steel, lacquer  | 70 1/16 x 26 x 25 3/16 inches

Elmgreen & Dragset’s Zero (2018) is a schematic interpretation of a pool. It is reduced to its essential components: a hollow oval describes the contour of a pool, a diving board and ladder provide the essential visual clues for an otherwise starkly formal work. The direct, bodily size of the work makes it become like an individual, a character. Engaging in the tradition of Minimalist sculpture, both in simplicity of form and slickness of materials, Elmgreen & Dragset have transformed the pool, an icon of leisure, into a visual motif across their artistic production. A 27 feet high version of Zero is currently exhibited at the Bangkok Art Biennial (until February 3, 2019).

Shirazeh Houshiary
Blurring, 2018

Blue pigment and graphite on black aquacryl on canvas and aluminum | 47.24 x 47.24 inches

Houshiary has distinguished herself by her exploration of the intangible, which has evolved to include works across media such as painting and animation. Her approach to painting often takes on a sculptural dimension; she works on canvas placed directly on the floor in order to achieve a fully multidirectional viewpoint. Her methodically produced line work is repeated as the artist moves around the canvas, imbuing each painting with a multidimensional illusory effect that undulates and vibrates across the surface.