The Los Angeles art scene is flourishing. Hauser & Wirth gave the city its seal of approval with a new West Hollywood location, while wunderkind gallerist Matthew Brown continues to lead the charge for the next generation.
It's no wonder that Frieze Los Angeles (16–19 February 2023) is preparing for its largest footfall to date at the fresh new location of Santa Monica Airport, with more than 120 galleries from 22 countries.
Ahead of the opening, Ocula's Advisors pick six outstanding works to look out for—from the wild, oceanic atmosphere of Chase Hall's coffee-stained canvases to the dreamlike seascapes of Northern Irish artist Tony Swain, and a boogie of bright colours from Gutai pioneer Atsuko Tanaka.
Chase Hall at David Kordansky Gallery
Chase Hall brings the Southern California beaches to Santa Monica Airport in a solo presentation with David Kordansky Gallery.
For this new body of work, Hall has looked to his experience moving from the Midwest to Los Angeles as a teenager, where he found sanctuary in its beaches and wild ocean atmospheres.
Filled with surf, adrenaline, and the warmth of these physical and social environments, Hall's cotton canvases are rendered through his unique technique using brewed coffee pigment and dappled strokes of acrylic.
'[Hall] has been turning heads with his acrylic and coffee-stained portraits for a number of years, with serious commercial and institutional acclaim already under his belt,' Will Hine wrote for Ocula Advisory.
Most recently, Hall was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera to produce a large-scale work for its New York opera house. The result was Medea Act I & II (2022), a monumental diptych on view at the Met Opera through June 2023.
Tony Swain at The Modern Institute
Northern Irish painter Tony Swain creates fragmented, dreamlike paintings that merge newspaper imagery with painted landscapes and seascapes.
Primarily working with newspapers—a material he deemed cost-effective as a young artist—Swain renders form and colour from a swathe of patchworked images that envision utopian panoramas.
Swain paints in a way that draws viewers in. Presented by The Modern Institute, Middle Instance (2023) depicts a scene of sea, land, and ruins collapsing into one another.
The painting is composed of striking colours and expressive brushstrokes that blur beautifully between Swain's use of mixed media. Obscured and altered printed pictures are combined with painted forms that ebb and flow between the familiar and nonsensical.
The Modern Institute presents Middle Instance alongside one other new painting by Swain, following his recent solo presentation Sight Deserted (18 November 2022–25 February 2023) at their Glasgow gallery.
Since making her mark on the international art scene with her performance FAUST (2017) at the Venice Biennale in 2017, Anne Imhof has been one to watch.
For Frieze Los Angeles, Sprüth Magers will present a new painting by the German artist. In Rise I (2023), oil paint melts onto canvas erupting a blood-red nebulous form from a luminous green background.
Interlacing traditional painting methods, Imhof uses layers upon layers of paint to soak her canvas, rendering a universe that recalls the seamless aesthetic of a digitally produced image, or the visceral nature of her performance practice.
Imhof's work has featured in exhibitions at major institutions including the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2022) and Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2021). Coinciding with Frieze Los Angeles is the opening of Imhof's first L.A. solo show at Sprüth Magers—EMO (15 February–6 May 2023) will be the largest presentation of Imhof's work in the U.S. to date.
Atsuko Tanaka at Paula Cooper Gallery
Paula Cooper Gallery's booth will invite viewers to engage with the innovative, experimental practice of Atsuko Tanaka, who worked across a broad spectrum of medium including painting, sculpture, performance, film, and installation.
A prominent figure of Gutai, the Japanese avant-garde movement of the 1950s and 60s, Tanaka helped to ignite a revitalisation of performance and conceptual art following the Second World War.
Saturated in vivid hues and bold, organic forms, 77Q-81 (1977–1981) elicits the sensation of motion. Often working from the floor, Tanaka sought to capture intangible energies, both physical and emotional.
Inspired by her iconic Electric Dress (1956), Tanaka's abstraction bursts forth a vibrant energy that evokes the framework of an electric circuit while mapping out her movements. 77Q-81 grants visitors an opportunity to absorb the painterly mastery of one of Japan's pioneering artists.
Jordan Wolfson at Sadie Coles HQ
Recognised for his provocative oeuvre, Jordan Wolfson creates work that unpacks the conditions of contemporary life.
Composed of plywood, photographs, and leather, Wolfson's 'Wall Objects' series evoke a sense of unease in viewers by subverting reality and exploring taboo narratives.
In Untitled (2023), Wolfson draws on unsettling imagery of chains, the Star of David, sinister characters. The Jewish-American artist alludes to motifs of personal identity, while hinting at the despair of the contemporary world and its unravelling social narratives.
Crumbling the boundaries between the two and three-dimensional, Wolfson asks viewers to witness the still imagery of Untitled (2023) as a sculptural object.
Jane Dickson's snapshots of the American underbelly brilliantly exude the haze and darkness of her subjects—from casinos and highways to peep shows and bars.
While off-kilter materials such as AstroTurf often crop up in her work, oil stick on linen is the material of choice for the two works Dickson brings to Frieze Los Angeles with Karma.
The way in which the yellow oil stick maps the grooves and indentations of the linen beneath brilliantly captures the smoky, warm haze that floods this late night scene at a Pennsylvania racing track.
Alongside Dickens, Karma—to no surprise—brings an impressive selection to L.A., notably a painting by New York-based artist Marley Freeman, as well as two sculptures by Thaddeus Mosley.
Main image: Anne Imhof, Rise I (2023) (detail). Oil on canvas. 205 x 365 cm. Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers, Berlin/London/Los Angeles/New York. Photo: Timo Ohler.