Top picks @VOLTA NY 2018
Returning to Pier 90 for its 11th edition, the Armory Week satellite fair VOLTA NY presented its annual selection of contemporary art galleries through Sunday 11th of March. Unlike most art fairs worldwide, the American incarnation of the original VOLTA that began in Basel, Switzerland is comprised entirely of curated solo exhibitions. This year, the fair featured 85 galleries from 48 cities worldwide offering an engaging insight into the creative minds of leading and emerging international artists. Here is a selection of our favourite artists presented in this edition:
Jonni Cheatwood - BEERS London, London
Jonni Cheatwood is a multidisciplinary, Brazilian-American visual artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. His work, presented at Volta New York by BEERS London, incorporates oil sticks, acrylic paint, enamel, gouache, and different materials/fabrics stitched onto canvas. Cheatwood uses minimalist colour palettes and abstract still-life compositions in order to “stitch together an autobiographical reflection of his perceived experience of the city in which he lives.”
Simon Schubert - Foley Gallery, New York
This year at Volta NY, Manhattan-based Foley Gallery exhibited Simon Schubert’s most recent work, “Beyond the Doubt of a Shadow.” Schubert, who lives and works in Cologne, Germany, creates dimensional, greyscale images of domestic interiors by meticulously creasing sheets of paper and adding composition to them with graphite. His work typically examines concepts such as loneliness, absence, and isolation. “Beyond the Doubt of a Shadow,” which is meant to express “the mysterious and surreal nature of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,’” details different low-lit scenes of a dark and eerily empty house.
Larry Abramson - Gordon Gallery, Tel Aviv
Larry Abramson is one of Israel’s leading contemporary artists. He worked as head of Bezalel Academy's Fine Art Department between 1992 and 1999, and subsequently at Shenkar College's Multidisciplinary Art School from 2013 to 2016. As an artist and a peace activist, Abramson attempts to facilitate a constructive sociopolitical dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. He utilizes contrasting symbols in his paintings, such as floral designs and machine guns, or Stars-of-David and crescent moons, in order to reconstruct varying historical forms and convey a sense of wholeness. While his paintings contain universally understood symbols, he combines them in ways that challenge their definitions and encourage viewers to create new meanings for them.
The Aesthetics of Matter - Curated Section
The Aesthetics of Matter, curated by Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont, is this year’s Curated Section exhibition. Consisting predominantly of collages that utilises freestanding walls and open spaces, the curators sought to challenge the typical booth-style design of traditional art shows and is meant to encourage dialogue between artists. “Our proposal for this exhibition is to present a group of artists who explore ideologies of collage within their practice as a constructive mode through material, language, text, cultural and personal concepts,” says Thomas and Chevremont.
Didier William - Anna Zorina Gallery, New York
Didier William, represented in the Aesthetics of Matter by Anna Zorina Gallery, is a Haitian-born artist who combines vibrant colours, clashing patterns, and human figures and body parts in his work, in order to create amorphous shapes within chaotic designs that reflect his view of the delicacy and expendability of the lives of African-Americans. William received his BFA in painting and MFA in painting and printmaking from the Maryland Institute College of Art and Yale University School of Art, respectively.
David Shrobe - Studio 301, Brooklyn
Studio 301 NYC presented artwork by David Shrobe in the Curated Section this year. Strobe was born and lives in New York City, and he received a BFA and an MFA in painting from Hunter College. He utilizes found and reclaimed objects — including flooring, pieces of furniture, and doorknobs — as well as paint and pencils, to create collages that re-contextualize historical and traditional narratives and form personalized landscapes of the places in which the artist has travelled.
Words by Nick Nicewonder