Advisory Highlights at Art Basel OVR: Miami Beach
Advisory Perspective

Advisory Highlights at
Art Basel OVR: Miami Beach

By Ocula Advisory| 3 December 2020

Ocula Advisory present a selection of their favourite works on view among the 255 gallery presentations at Art Basel OVR: Miami Beach, running from 2 to 6 December 2020.


Wangari Mathenge at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery

Kenya-born, U.S.-based artist Wangari Mathenge often paints her figures in domestic settings, at ease with their surroundings and amidst home comforts that reveal the complexities of African diasporic identity.

The Ascendants IX (Just Like My Parents' House, I've Become Visitor) (2020) is exemplary of Mathenge's vibrant and expressive style. Employing an array of colours and patterns, Mathenge encourages the viewer's eye to flit around the canvas.

The fabric draped over the coffee table—known as 'kanga'—originates from the coast of Eastern Africa and features in many of Mathenge's paintings. A Swahili proverb adorning the bottom of the fabric in this painting roughly translates to: 'the pleasure of parenthood overrides the need for possessions'.


Thaddeus Mosley, True to Myth (2019). Walnut. 254 x 91.4 cm. Courtesy the artist and Karma.

Thaddeus Mosley at Karma

At 94 years of age, Pittsburgh-based artist Thaddeus Mosley is still actively working. A room of his sculptures was recently included in the 57th Carnegie International, and in 2021 he will have a solo exhibition at Baltimore Museum of Art.

The self-taught sculptor mainly works with wood sourced from local Pittsburgh sawmills. Employing an improvisational approach, gleaned from a fondness for jazz, Mosley's forms are organic, with the grain of the wood flowing naturally with the curve of his shapes.


Frank Bowling, Wadi √ Two (2011). Acrylic on canvas. 188 x 180.5 cm. 187.96 x 180.657 cm. © Frank Bowling All Rights Reserved, DACS 2020. Courtesy the artist and Hauser. Photo: Thomas Barrat.

Frank Bowling at Hauser & Wirth

In October 2020, a year after his long-overdue survey at Tate Britain in 2019, Frank Bowling was knighted by the Queen of England, with Hauser & Wirth announcing his representation in the same week.

Born in Guyana in 1934, Bowling arrived in London in 1953, where he attended the Royal College of Art. The artist graduated with a silver medal and developed an itinerant studio practice, regularly moving between New York and London.

This transatlantic existence would deeply influence his practice, which responded to movements of the time, including pop art and colour field painting, while remaining deeply personal. Radiant colours and textured surfaces define Bowling's paintings, as exemplified here.


Henni Alftan, Midnight (2020). Oil on canvas. 146 x 114 cm. Courtesy the artist and Karma.

Henni Alftan at Karma

Finnish artist, Henni Alftan completed her MFA at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris and recently had her first solo exhibition in New York with Karma, who are showing this sublime new painting.

Still based in Paris, Alftan's pared-back paintings are figurative but restrained, and often feature close-ups or cropped compositions reminiscent of photographs. Areas of flat warm colour and her playful but delicate treatment of light and texture make this image so seductive.


Dana Schutz, Floating Pieta (2020). Gouache and graphite on paper. 112.08 x 77.15 cm. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.

Dana Schutz at David Zwirner

In this gouache and graphite on paper work showing with David Zwirner, who recently announced representation of the artist, the bulging eyes and pained expressions of Dana Schutz's figures, together with a classically triangular arrangement, recall the Christian pietà scene from a Gothic sculpture that inspired the artist.

Schutz's creation owes more to the German Expressionist paintings of Max Beckmann, but the energetic physicality and vivid colours are typical within her oeuvre.


John Chamberlain, Rap Psalm II (1999). Painted chromium and painted steel. 257.8 x 124.5 x 81.3 cm. © the artist. Photo © White Cube (Theo Christelis).

John Chamberlain at White Cube

Known as 'one of the most influential three-dimensional Abstract Expressionists', John Chamberlain created his first sculpture using automobile parts in 1956.

The artist graduated from Black Mountain College in 1955 after studies at the Art Institute of Chicago, having spent three years in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946.

The dynamism of Chamberlain's steel sculptures revolutionised approaches to colour, weight, and balance using scrap metal.


Faith Wilding, Hildegard and I (1986). Mixed media on paper. 55.9 x 76.2 cm. Courtesy the artist and Anat Egbi.

Faith Wilding at Anat Ebgi

Faith Wilding's eco-feminist art practice was born out of her MFA at the California Institute of the Arts, from where she established herself as a forerunner of the feminist art movement of Los Angeles in the 1960s.

The artist's bold colours and intricate biomorphic line drawings explore the female form and the natural world. In Hildegard and I, showing with Anat Ebgi, suggestions of the life cycle include a figure in the foetal position, encased in a cell, surrounded by creatures that appear half animal, half human.—[O]

Main image: Wangari Mathenge, The Ascendants IX (Just Like My Parents' House, I've Become Visitor) (2020) (detail). Oil on canvas. 214.6 x 334 cm. Courtesy Pippy Houldsworth Gallery.