Traditional Saatchi’s Art Fair has just finished its work in Brooklyn, New York. 110 artists at the same place, at the same time, with the possibility to buy a work directly and talk to an artist in person – great days for all art enthusiasts and collectors. Here are 13 artists (the order is totally random) that impressed us the most. We list the prices (it seems appropriate this time) to help our reader to navigate the Art Fair.
Jessica Alazraki (Mexico - USA)
Narrative paintings picture ordinary scenes of Latino family everyday life. Each character is painted with the compassion and irony. The influence of primitive and naïve style connects the works to folklore elements and Mexican crafts.
“I have been preparing myself for a self-directed body of work that represents my artistic interest, my personality and contributes to creating social awareness of a very important topic.
I believe in diversity; I am proud of being Latina.”
Price: $1800+tax (each)
Bob Aldous (London, UK)
These monumental abstract landscape improvisations are painted on silk. It seems that music, water, wind, air and other elements were mixed and act in this pictures, not paints. But the total freedom of the expression is a tricky illusion. On closer examination Bob Aldou’s works pay homage to the English landscape tradition. They’re smart, not only romantic.
“I use abstract imagery- usually relating to the movement and actions of water and have developed a unique technique of painting on silk which combines the use of acrylics, ink and watercolour. The delicacy of the silk providing the ideal canvas for my multi layered approach.”
Price: $3200 -$15 000
Zarah Cassim (Cape Town, South Africa - Paris)
Her landscapes almost lose their figurative basis gaining the emotional strength, and depth in return. Sophisticated work with colors and layering, and cohesiveness, a concentration on the idea make Zarah Cassim one of the most noticeable young painters at the Art Fair.
«I question reality and illusion and attempt to blur the boundary between the two entities and create a moment of mute encounter, where things are fluid and perception is mutable»
- says the artist in her statement.
Saina Heshmati (Seattle, USA)
The drawing series “Hesitate” represents double figured compositions in a black & white structured space. Ink on paper is a traditional technique for small sized works but these pictures are huge, 40х80 inches (and up to 2m х 3m). They work rather like paintings than graphics. Being ‘scaled up’ the pictures acquire a new dimension and new meanings.
“Mostly, I use Chinese ink because the combination of drawing and Chinese ink reminds me a lot of childhood. You cannot go back, and this can force the artist to put energy with every touch of a brush. each touch should be gentle and with confidence, and if there's a mistake, you should accept it.”
Geraldine Swayne (London, UK)
Geraldine Swayne does the opposite: she paints traditional portraits by the size of 2х3 inches. She uses enamel paint on metal, which brings freshness and gloss to colors. Being beautiful paintings her miniatures are powerful objects of desire as well, they touch something childish in us.
“Placing an emphasis on the surface quality and material value of the work, Swayne has cited the 16th-century goldsmith, Nicholas Hilliard, as an inﬂuence in seeking to make paintings that are also inherently beautiful objects. Some of the larger works use silver and gold grounds that anticipate the artist’s use of aluminium and copper surfaces. Swayne deftly manipulates this unforgiving medium so that, in her own words: ’they almost look good enough to eat”. – wrote artlist.com review in 2017.
Ursula Radel-Leszczynski (Poland-Austria)
The successful abstract painter presents the indistinctive figurative series which impress with the dynamic composition and the feeling of the lightness and fleetingness. Which are, of course, the result of hard work and the artistry.
“My pictures are painted dynamically, on a grand scale. They emanate a wealth of color and latent emotion. The richness of color does not come from a wide range of colors, but how they are put together. I try to achieve a carefully thought-out and precisely linked construction of planes.”
Jaena Kwon (Seoul – New York)
Folded and painted objects made of fireboard give us the example of the power of purity. The idea is clean and strong, the fulfillment is perfect. The other important thing: being abstract and certainly formal Jaena Kwon’s objects stay humane, and emotional.
“I see paper as a tangible equivalent to the idea of a flat plane. I enjoy origami and pop-up books as symbolic of flexibility in dimensions: a two-dimensional surface can be folded and pop up as a three-dimensional form (with a reverse back).”
James T. Singelis (New Marlborough, MS, USA)
These close up portraits are not actually portraits but the deconstruction of the portraiture itself. Faces are nameless; they are full of personality, and at the same moment they represent a universal human being. Worth noting James T. Singelis' admirable creative depth and mature artistry.
“My paintings are a visual record of me. Self portraits? Maybe. Perhaps they are best described as visual essays, or perhaps obituaries.”
Cesar Finamori (New York, USA)
At first, those bright female portraits look like pop art exercises which they are definitely not. Note the titles. "Debbie Vivian", "Peggy Vivian", "Elise Vivian", "Eve Vivian". They refer to ‘In the Realms of the Unreal’ (‘The Story of the Vivian Girls’), the illustrated manuscript by Henry Darger (1892-1973), one of the most celebrated outsider artists.
Then look at their faces.
“Finamori’s fictional portraits are still portraiture. His painted visages suggest its rhyming connotation. And yet, it’s still a recognizable face. (…)The eyes, noses, and nostrils have become more and more defined. In fact, they’ve become too defined, too precise, and too abstract. For they’re no longer eyes, noses, and nostrils. Instead, they’ve become pure circles, pure voids”
– wrote D.S. Graham in his review.
The longer you look at these pictures the more interesting things they tell you.
Price: $800 each
Melissa McGill (Las Vegas, USA)
Mixed media collages combined with encaustic unfold stories that can’ t be read like a book but can be felt. They’re slow, they’re full of details, they are novels, or poems, not short stories.
"I build up my paintings in a very organic way. Using familiar visual signs, I move between different styles, combining abstraction with figuration, to create a stream of consciousness narrative, hinting at the layers under the surface of our decisions and actions."
Price: $800 -$4000
Diana Roig (Argentina-Netherlands)
These compositions (despite the fact that they are abstract) somehow remind medieval Tibet drawings. The exquisitely curved lines are not an ornament, they are compressed springs. The energy of some evolving personal universe is compactificated into canvases, ready to be consumed by eyes. Diana Roig is, undoubtedly, one of the most unique and bright artists at the exhibition.
“ I strive to blur the lines between abstraction and figuration by subconsciously suggesting forms and primordial organic shapes. I invite the viewer to make his or her own image; a unique experience distilled from their own frames of reference; to create a new world of their own.”
Price: $1250 -$26 000
Louis Philippe Chapdelaine (Toronto, Canada)
Large traditional abstract paintings expose the subtle work with forms and colors. Muffled palette brings the feeling of calmness but this feeling is deceptive, there are emotions masked with seemingly static forms and compositions.
“The gestural aspect in the making of the paintings allows him to find an empowering freedom as his entire body engages dynamically with the surface. Decisions are often spontaneous, and the paintings are always on the brink of total transformation, until the scenes impose themselves and set the core structure” – wrote a critic.
Lisa Krannichfeld (Little Rock, AR, USA)
These pictures painted with traditional Chinese ink and watercolor in an uncontrolled, free-flowing way, often mixed with unconventional materials. Works are covered with a layer of a transparent resin. Lively expressions of the faces look trapped under the glass for some scientific research, like insects that stuck into an amber, forever. That contrast of the momentary and the permanence has a really strong effect. It wasn't a huge surprise to read this statement of the artist after the exhibition:
“During my undergraduate years as a biology major I took a course in entomology. For an assignment I had to create an insect collection, carefully collecting specimens, killing them in a way as to not damage their bodies, posing them to best display their anatomy and containing them in a pristine wooden box. Beautiful, numbered and preserved for all time. In this series I wanted to explore capturing human emotion in a similar way.”
Price: $370 -$2000
The exhibition is over. Artistic (is there any other?) life continues. All these artists can be easily found on the internet, a lot of mentioned pictures still can be bought. The pictures are beautiful, the prices are low (so far!), use this chance to discover a new favorite painter and acquire a new piece of contemporary art. Saatchi Art specialists curate the Art Fair and select the artists carefully which makes it just perfect for entry-level collectors. Buy. It’s impossible to fail.