more on Art Basel stuff

Bari Kumar was at Art Basel and I love his work! He was part of a group of really interesting and talented Indian painters that take eastern ideas and marry them with a western perspective. I love the way Kumar also introduces a very moody Indian inspired palette, a painted digitization/digital artifact and western symbols to create a very mixed and interesting message.The Indian artists and indian art magazines were one of the interesting categories that inspired me. Anishen Avini uses bleach on giclees of Indian imagery--erasing faces and details to create interesting new images. Galleries from New Delhi were very much in evidence.

Other observations include:
Black and white/ inked drawings are acceptable. Chris Ware's original inked layouts are being sold alongside Steinbergs etc. Great gallery (Adam Baumgold) in Aqua specialized in this sort of thing. Donald Urquhart, Herald Street Gallery London, is doing some whimsical, almost sixties-ish fashion brush drawings with very loose, scripty writing.

New technology: Karin Sander created these interesting little 3 dimensional people figures (about 8" tall in paper) that were 3D body scans that were output by a 3D inkjet printer. The laser cutter for flat pieces of paper was very much in evidence and unfortunately looked too predictable and too hallmark-y to be successful. For a laser cutter to be effective, one needs to build flaws and inconsistency into the image to have it feel genuine versus gimmicky. An artist at the Mary Boone Gallery, Che Fueki did an image called "Owl" with regular paint on canvas and then built up layer upon layer of puff paint to take the picture to the maximum with decoration and detail. Very cute and original. Another painter took pictures during her morning walk and translated the color fields to these soft, very very smooth gradients on stretched polyester (very shiny and not much texture) that seemed to take the idea of airbrush to a whole other place.

Joe Coleman, Barbara Kruger and Nedko Solokov are using words, phrases, personal narrative or biographical narrative as integral to their work. The neon guys doing complete lines of copy were impressive. The Deitch Galleries/Projects used hand painted sign making and vinyl signmaking using copy/type and illustrations to great effect. Type independant of image is less so...but integrated is very much in evidence. Charles Krafft's "Sharing is loving" pair of delft inspired bunnies in porcelain flanking a huge hypodermic needle (illustration to just give you a glimmer of it's wonderfulness)

Organs and parts very hip. Barbara Kruger and her brain. Sigga and her glass organs. There was this wonderful artist doing penance for his partner's illness. He created an outline of the body in coloraid paper (to size), with selected systems called out in other cut paper (all of it put down with matte scotch tape)--with a chalky multicolor heart, lungs, circulatory system in the hands, the brain etc. Very evocative.

Then there is old technology made new. Matthew Brannen, an artist that makes these very simple layouts--letterpress with polymer plates that he makes one saleable piece and one artist's proof. He did a great piece with suntan lotion bottle and stone crab claws. But my all time favorite was a stacked piece showing a shark as a shape with a turquoise water (expressed with a thin, turquoise woodgrain) and the pooor shark's stomach holding skeleton hands and wine bottles. It also had the shark's small digestive tract and equally small brain complemented with price tags and manila's little tags as well. Totally perfect.

Huge Scale.
Walton Ford's fabulous tiger. Huge C prints of landscapes that totally suck you into their vortex and their rich, rich evocative state. The color and saturation framed up either as a slice of a luscious landscape or an elegantly overdetailed Baroque court salon that transports you to another place and time. The big size and deep color takes you to an entirely different place. Oversized is great.

Work inspired by Velazques. A wonderful compliment of images and figures in the park inspired by the Infanta in Miami. Also, the Felipe IV inspired Velazquez by Manolo Valdez was a reason to pick up a paintbrush or in the case of this sculpture, a knife. Gorgeous.

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