Untitled takes a curatorial approach, combining 129 galleries from 20 different countries. This year the show is bright and bold, though that shouldn’t distract the viewer from the many conversations around gender, race and, of course, US politics.
Jocelyn Hobbie’s sumptuous paintings appear to reflect the Miami sun with Fredericks & Freiser, NY, although for all their warmth and colour there’s a melancholic aspect too, their rosy-cheeked, sky-blue-eyed girls holding a glazed over look, lost in thought and betraying the outright vibrancy of their surrounding flowerbeds and bushes. The female comes under a different sort of gaze in John Wesley’s 1990 work Bonnets, although they still look a little lost from any sense of connection with the viewer, in this case, two women facing towards one another, rigid and nude and appearing more like cutout dolls than living, breathing women. Mary Reid Kelley’s works are more outwardly impassioned, scratchy blacks on white spelling out phrases such as: “Your end is near, bitch murderer!” and “Abomination I hate Crete die monster die.”
This high intensity is carried over in Luis De Jesus Los Angeles’s selection. Surely Trump will be a popular topic of conversation throughout the week and the general mood seems well summed up by Federico Solmi’s The American Fabius, (2016) — a crazed mix of animation with silver and gold leaf which makes a metallic, red, white and blue horror show of the popular American aesthetic. The gallery are also showing Miyoshi Barosh’s cheekily named Holey America, (2006-16), a crocheted yarn work which depicts the American states coming apart at the seams.
America’s ongoing and urgent discussions around race are present at Jenkins Johnson Gallery — with spaces in New York and San Fransisco — who are showing a solo booth of work from Sadie Barnette which captures a compelling combination of potentially distracting glamour with political message; references to Malcolm X and wads of elastic-banded cash are shown alongside hologram surfaces and bullet-like rhinestones.
Asya Geisberg Gallery are showing a solo show also, with works from Icelandic artist Guðmundur Thoroddsen. His pieces mock our traditional ideas around male power and dominance and often touch on racial divides. The mix of works on paper and paintings depict nude and semi-nude male figures amongst a crumbling old world. Humiliation is also a running theme; a man’s head is urinated up on here, another trips and falls whilst employing a proud statuesque pose there.
Island Press, from St. Louis’s Washington University, are showing works from Lisa Sanditz, Paula Wilson and Beverly Semmes which have a similarly tactile approach. Semmes’s images, printed on polar fleece, are taken from her Feminist Responsibility Project, graphic in parts and obscured in others. Wilson’s works draw parallels with Thoroddsen’s, bodies turned into sculptural forms, mixing a historical aesthetic with contemporary humour.
I take personal comfort in the plethora of smashed Apple screens present with LA’s Steve Turner — I will no longer feel shame when I present my cracked 6s in place of a dictaphone (it’s fashionable, not unprofessional). The works from Émilie Brout + Maxime Marion show various products cracked and smashed, creating oil spill effects in some cases which mirror the Jonas Lund works on display with the gallery too. Yung Jake’s mixed media works are a strong fit also, with found metal, clamps and UV prints mixing everyday hardware with visual appeal.
‘Untitled‘, Miami Beach runs from 30 November until 4 December 2016.
Elephant’s Spring/Summer 2022 edition embraces life. Performance art icon Marina Abramović beams out from one of our two covers, while our alternative special cover showcases one-time student and teacher pairing Sin Wai Kin and Tai Shani in full wedding regalia.
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