Discover Local Artists: from other places, Art Basel et al

Send in the clowns. Colorful collectors clowning around outside Scope Miami

This past week (Dec 1-4), art lovers of the world descended on Miami for Art Basel and its host of satellite fairs, public venues and private spaces.

Once one actually gets into the thick of things, and starts to comprehend just how much is going on, it’s easy to see how it can take four days to see it all (and why platform high-heel shoes may be artsy and fashionable, but not a terribly wise choice of footwear).

On Saturday, we managed to get through a few of the fairs, at high speed, and just scratching the surface.

So little time. So much art. And a whole world with its own language, sights and sounds. An international art fair like this one is like visiting a foreign place, where one’s mind becomes a sponge soaking it all up, while  saving the processing for later…

Dead Flies

But getting back to shoes: At right, these comfortable sneakers  — 26 pairs –were seen at Art Basel.

“Dead Flies” the installation was called. Handcrafted, using cast polyurethane resin, stitched canvas, shoe laces, cable, enamel and acrylic paint. For fun, I asked, “what size do they come in?” And received a serious answer. “Dimensions vary.”

And these (as are others we’ve seen in real life) appeared to be thrown with abandon. Over those cables. Just so.

Richard Hughes (lives and works in London) is the artist and “Dead Flies” was exhibited by Anton Kern Gallery, New York. Shown at Art Basel.

rich little girls

Rich Little Girls

And since we’re on the subject of clothing, check out the wallfull of Victorian children’s dresses made of Dutch wax printed cotton and set against a striking blue background.

The artist is Yinka Shonibare. “Little Rich Girls” was exhibited by Stephen Friedman Gallery at Art Basil.

Shonibare, 49, is a British-Nigerian artist, who lives in the UK.

“People have come to associate the fabric with Africa, but actually it is Indonesian-influenced fabric produced by the Dutch for sales to the African market,” he wrote.  “It was made in Hyde…and I buy it in Brixton market. I like the fact that something seen as being African is actually the product of quite complex cultural relationships.”


Is it plaid?


The work above, by Umberto Ciceri,  is actually the result of a series of video still frames taken of a section of one of his ballerina works (at right).

Every frame is manipulated, pixel-by-pixel, to blur the images and obtain different color variations. Then they are shredded into many threads and intertwined together to create a silk-like pattern that is printed and placed behind a lenticular lens.

Since the artwork has been purposely blurred,  it is impossible for the viewer to put the image into focus, and he or she must reinterpret the image in such a way that the figurative becomes abstract and vice-versa.

Ciceri works in Bologna. These pieces were exhibited by White Room Contemporary Art Gallery Positano and shown at Red Dot Art Fair.

“The Winding Way of Life” by Nahila Campos

Although she does not see life as easy, she keeps a positive attitude. For example…

Mixed into her road (the white ribbon-like strip that works its way through the canvas, you can see bits of rock if you look close, she points out. But her rocks are really tiny crystals, with all the magic that crystals have. It’s all about viewpoint, she believes.

“I want to represent our city spaces as a new visual model,” she said. “Viewers are confronted by hectic and rambling locations where they can journey and stray. Aerial spaces are populated by surprises and dreamlike visions, where humble and unnoticed city components are spotlighted.”

Sojiro Takarmura


The work at the right is by Sojiro Takarmura and was shown by Gallery Edel in Red Dot.

Interesting kind of body art, a tattoo that reminds me of a popular much loved Japanese china pattern that I’ve seen just about everywhere, including my parents’ dining-room table.

Jane Seymour


Above is Jane Seymour at Red Dot with one of her Open Heart sculptures.

“I am always painting and designing,” she said. “Art is what I do for me.”


“Homage to Magritte”

Palm Beach Gallery Biba artist Robert St. Crox, whose “Homage to Magritte” is pictured above, said he gets his best ideas in the middle of the night. Which is when the image of the house in the background came to him. The figure of the man emerged later. He cut out that figure from the front of the house, hung an orange tree upside down, inside, and, outside, repeated the figure of the man, with a single orange as his face. Shown at Art Scope.



Ursula Sprecher and Andi Cortellini, collaborative photographers from Basel, Switzerland, won the grand-prize of the Art Takes Miami competition with their “Friends in Leisure” series.

Each piece, a kind of “family” photograph,  captures the inherent idiosyncrasies of a club or society of every variety. The group portraits are staged, with club members posed in an environment that plays off of each group’s hobby. We are defined by the company we keep, believe these two artists. Shown at Art Scope.

Room Divider
room divider
Room Divider

I’m always on the lookout for interesting “furnishings.” This room divider, above, dices, slices, shreds. It’s by Mona Hatoum and was exhibited by Galerie Max Hetzler. At Art Basel.

woven paper
“Female Head Madonna #21”

The madonna, above,  by Gugger Petter, was shown at Andrea Schwartz Gallery of San Francisco at Red Dot. Petter uses newspaper as her medium, weaving the neutrality of the black and white print with minimal amounts of color from the Sunday comics section or advertisements. The writer in me is glad to see that newspapers are still appreciated…

“Big White Pussy”

“Big White Pussy,” by Marion Peck,  was exhibited by Sloan Fine Art, New York. Alix Sloan said that this pussy was in much demand and sold quickly, with other buyers lining up. Quite a character, this cat. At Art Scope.

Found Art

Presented by the Eleni Koroneou Gallery, Greek artist Eftihis Patsourakis arranges found amateur paintings by lining up the horizons to form a new landscape. At Art Basel.

Podrome #6

This is a section of a painting by Akio Aoki shown at Vermilho Gallery, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Here’s how this was done, according to the gallery representative. “The artist starts off with white canvas and white glue. He puts  the canvas  down (onto the floor) to get the remains of the floor. He stores it, aging the memory, and he makes them into empty bookshelves, which are full of memories.” These are all from different floors at different places and at different times. The places where the lines don’t line up are called headaches (podrome). This particular work is called “Podrome #6.”


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