7 ARTISTS TO WATCH IN THE NEW YEAR
Here we highlight seven artists who have caught our attention this month and who we think are making an impact through new gallery representation, exhibitions, auctions, art fairs, or fresh works.
Known for her surreal and hot-colored, electrifying large-scale paintings, Ilana Savdie’s works contain central themes of ambiguity, the fluidity of identity and the displacement of power through invasion, control, and defiance. Her work manifests and honors dysmorphic human bodies and elongated forms to the brink of near abstraction; it is a formula that beautifies distortion and embellishes the uncommon. As a queer artist, painting for Savdie is beyond categorization - a union of color, texture, gesture, line, and surface, conveying tension as a state of being and exploration of the human body through painterly manipulation and reconfiguration.
Born in 1986 and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia, Savdie moved to the United States as a teenager, yet her work remains inspired by the ethos of the annual Carnaval in her hometown. The ambiance of the Carnaval and idea of resisting societal norms, using the exaggerated body and features of the Marimonda mask (a folkloric figure that originated as a symbol used to mock the oppressive elite), are all pivotal elements of the Carnaval de Barranquilla and play a role in how Savdie approaches her work. Savdie is now based in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2018 and her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2008. Savdie was awarded the 2020 TOY Foundation fellowship and the 2020 NXTHVN studio fellowship where she was recently an artist in residence.
Jorge Galindo is one of the foremost Spanish painters of his generation, having studied under Julian Schnabel in the workshops of the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid. After establishing a practice in collage and photomontage early in his career, the artist developed his painterly style on large-scale canvases, which are marked by an aesthetic resistance to clear legibility, featuring layers of bold, expressive brushstrokes, fine lines, paint splatters, footprints, and decontextualized collaged materials. His aptitude for pictorial extravagance and lush, sensual frenzy gives the still life - a genre that has so often prioritized the still, tranquil, and delicate - a renewed vision.
Galindo presents us with unreal depictions of plants, which are as beautiful as they are recycled and full of potential. In most canvases, the artist first photomontages patterned depictions of flowers, recalling a practice popularized by Pop artists. Galindo sometimes plays with features of kitsch in an effort to turn a fixed entity, like a rose, into something more dreamlike and surprising. Galindo’s focus is not on irony and simulations, but rather on the sensuality of paint, as the Action painters were. In fact, in order to achieve such large-scale abstractions, he will often stand around, even on top of, the canvas, harnessing the full kinetic potential of his body in the process.
Galindo was born in 1965 in Madrid and now lives and works in Toledo, Spain. His work has been exhibited internationally, at institutions including the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C.; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and the Hammer Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA. His work permanently resides in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain; Museo Marugame Hirai, Japan; ING Belgium Collection, Brussels; Hall Art Foundation, Germany; among many others.
Atlanta-based artist Jiha Moon works with a palette of super-saturated yellows, oranges, magentas and blues against contrasting dark Hanji (Korean mulberry paper) and brown stoneware. Moon mixes ingredients from Asian tradition and folklore, Western contemporary art, and global pop culture to create a vibrant and personal visual language in both two and three dimensions.
Moon incorporates a particular shade of “Stranger Yellow” in her latest works which she describes as a “mysterious, luscious, yet cautiously high-key color that stands out”. Born in Korea in 1973, Moon has lived in the United States for over twenty years, and this color speaks to her notions of the visibility of the Asian community in America, as well as her own identity as an Asian American artist. The Stranger Yellow manifests itself in many ways: as an enlarged Pop brushstroke reminiscent of Lichtenstein, as a banana referencing the pejorative term for an assimilated Asian American, as the flowing blonde hair of a Western princess or Goldilocks, and as the contours of sun-dappled mountains and ocean waves evocative of Asian hanging scrolls.
Moon was born in 1973 in Daegu, South Korea but now lives and works in Atlanta, GA. She had a recent solo exhibition at Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts at University of Alabama, Birmingham and was included in “State of the Art 2020” at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AK. She has had solo shows at Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia, Atlanta; The Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville, TN; James Gallery of CUNY Graduate Center, NY, among others. Moon’s mid-career survey organized by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and Taubman Museum toured more than 10 museum venues around the country through 2018.
Ruth Ige's paintings center around the Black figure and explore Blackness in its relation to representation, art history, documentation, and existence. Though firmly rooted in history and the present, Ige often delves into future imaginings. A variety of blue tones and hues shape the world she has built where future, past and present converse with each other. Combining both abstraction and figuration, her figures are powerfully seen, but also seem to be lovingly protected and hidden within the havens of blue. Ige often states that her ethos is to “create narratives of blackness that are enigmatic and not easily understood.” While some of her works resemble traditional portraiture, others consist of color fields that capture a more mysterious, ethereal effect. Hands, shoulders, and faces emerge from a watery background. She considers her unique figuration, which renders her subjects featureless and inscrutable, to be a form of “veiling.” Ige uses mystery as a form of empowerment, one that allows for a portrayal of blackness that is challenging and not expected.
Ruth Ige was born in 1992 in Nigeria and is now based in New Zealand. She graduated from Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand with a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2016.
In her depictions of Black women and nonbinary people, London-based artist Miranda Forrester contemplates the historical representation of the female nude. Her intimate paintings exist as visual embodiments of the queer Black female gaze.
Forrester’s layered compositions explore narratives of self-identity with vulnerability. Her subjects appear relaxed as they share quiet moments, conveying a sense of comfort. Her practice explores the queer black female gaze in painting, relating to the history of men painting women naked. Forrester’s work is concerned with addressing the invisibility of women of color in the history of art and combating the fetishization of our bodies. Forrester has been investigating how her identity impacts the way in which she depicts her subjects, and how her paintings can rearticulate the language and history of life drawing through a queer black feminist lens, and in doing so, depict what the male gaze cannot see. Her use of stretching plastic over stretchers and painting on highly primed smooth surfaces is fundamental to the work in that the viewer can see through the bodies. The surface becomes more than skin, allowing the figures to become real and alive, moving and breathing on the canvas. This layering of transparent materials alludes to the complexities and nuances of womanhood and femininity; gender and sexuality. The work, therefore, is a celebration of women’s bodies, the joy in occupying feminine identities and being in relation with one another.
Multidisciplinary artist Judy Chicago's most recent Garden Smoke series stems from creative impulses the artist experienced during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. For this series, Chicago created and photographed lush, colored smoke sculptures in her home garden in New Mexico. Surrounded by words relating to confinement, the photographs express the beauty of unrestrained creation.
Chicago helped pioneer the feminist art movement in the 1960s and ’70s; for decades, she has made work that celebrates the multiplicity of female identity. Chicago’s practice spans painting, textile arts, sculpture, and installation and has explored the intricacies of childbirth, the possibilities of minimalist sculpture, and the relationship between landscape and the female body. Chicago studied at the University of California, Los Angeles. She founded a groundbreaking and widely influential feminist art program while on staff at California State University, Fresno. Her work has been exhibited in New York, London, Milan, Chicago, and San Francisco and resides in the collections of the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Tate, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Sara VanDerBeek’s oeuvre addresses the nature of representation – particularly of the female form – from antiquity through to our present moment. She ultimately asks: how do we represent and see something that is in flux? In doing so, she actively reconsiders the physical, historically grounded space of sculpture and photography, repositioning her subject matter, often women, within novel, unstable, and transformative visual fields. With her latest body of work, VanDerBeek addresses complicated contemporary relationships to the body while exploring her ambivalence toward a gendered understanding of adornment and female beauty. Photographing within museums over the last decade, VanDerBeek has collected a significant archive of images. Here the artist returns to her earliest methods of image interpretation, applying hand coloration as she paints directly on the surface of her own photographs.
Born in Baltimore in 1976, Sara VanDerBeek earned a BFA from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, in 1998. VanDerBeek’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; and the Baltimore Museum of Art. She currently lives and works in New York.