Advisory Picks

Advisory Picks presents artworks by leading artists that have captured the attention of our advisory division, and works by emerging artists that merit deeper consideration and invite inquiry to discover more.

Eleonore Koch at Modern Art and Mendes Wood DM
London, 28 November 2020
Eleonore Koch, Untitled (1968). Tempera on canvas. 59.5 x 82 cm. Courtesy Mendes Wood DM and Modern Art.

Modern Art and Mendes Wood DM have teamed up to produce two concurrent exhibitions by German-Brazilian artist, Eleonore Koch.

Koch studied under Alfredo Volpi in São Paulo but moved to London in 1968, the year this work was painted.

Disenchanted with the strictly abstract style of her Brazilian Constructive contemporaries, Koch found solace in the similarly pared-back figurative work of British artists, such as Patrick Caulfield and David Hockney.

Her paintings are warm, atmospheric spaces that generously allow small detailed objects—or figurative elements—the room to be transformed into strange stand-alone forms floating mysteriously within pools of rich colour.

Magically poetic and eerily dreamlike, these works seem to exist in another time or place.

Liu Ye at David Zwirner
New York, 26 November 2020
Liu Ye, Banned Book No. 5 (Balthus Variation) (2019–2020). Acrylic on canvas mounted on wooden panel. 80 x 100 cm. © Liu Ye. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.

'Many of Liu's works are rooted in his understanding of art history, which he recreates to make an imaginary world.'

Ocula Advisory spoke to Leo Xu about Chinese painter Liu Ye on the eve of the artist's first solo show in New York, Liu Ye: The Book and the Flower, which opened at David Zwirner on October 29 and runs through to 19 December 2020.

Henni Alftan at OVR: Miami Beach
Miami, 25 November 2020
Henni Alftan, Midnight (2020). Oil on canvas. 146 x 114 cm. Courtesy Karma.

Henni Alftan is a favourite painter of ours and showing this sublime new painting with Karma OVR: Miami Beach.

Born in Helsinki, Finland, Alftan is now based in Paris. Her 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 these images so seductive. She possesses many of the best qualities of an abstract painter, whilst simultaneously teasing us with fragments from her lived experience.

Matthew Barney at Sadie Coles HQ
London, 24 November 2020
Matthew Barney, Omega Net (2020). Graphite and gouache on paper in high-density polyethylene frame. 33 x 38.1 x 3.2 cm. © Matthew Barney. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London. Photo: Robert Glowacki.

This exquisite graphite and gouache work on paper is one of 20 works in a series from Barney's solo exhibition Cosmic Hunt at Sadie Coles HQ.

A response to the 2018 film Redoubt, these detailed works depict the wild landscape of the Sawtooth Mountain region of Idaho, where the film is set, and nearby to the artist's hometown.

Each graphite work intricately depicts characters and imagery from the film, which sees a reinterpretation of the ancient myth of Dian and Actaeon. Rendered in a range of hues—magenta, ochre, blue, and orange—the colours evoke the sky, fires, and wilderness of the mountains seen in the winter months.

Cosmic Hunt is showing at Sadie Coles HQ in London at 1 Davies Street from 17 November 2020 to 16 January 2021.

Sotheby's Contemporary Art Day Auction
New York, 20 November 2020
Ken Price, Vulcan Island (2003). Acrylic and ink on paper. 31.2 x 24.5 cm. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Keith Haring, Untitled (1988). Sumi ink on paper. 76.2 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Alexander Calder, Big Boulder, Filled Spiral (1970). Gouache and ink on paper. 109.2 x 74.3 cm. Courtesy Sotheby's.

Ocula Advisory selects three highlights from Sotheby's Contemporary Art Day Auction: Online on 18 November 2020.

Sanam Khatibi at rodolphe janssen
Brussels, 19 November 2020
Sanam Khatibi, Atlantic (2020). Oil on panel. 21 x 31 cm. Courtesy rodolphe janssen.

Born in Tehran, yet raised and currently living in Brussels, Sanam Khatibi's paintings take influence from Northern Renaissance painting, in particular the work of Hieronymus Bosch.

Atlantic is included in Khatibi's current exhibition rodolphe janssen, which presents 21 miniature vanitas paintings. Common symbols from the Golden Age genre include flowers, skulls, and butterflies—here re-presented by Khatibi to reflect on the empty pursuit of goods and pleasures, as well as the transience of life.

Removed from their original function, Khatibi renders these objects as ornamental, their details spotlighted and almost floating amidst this overwhelmingly dark vastness.

Salman Toor at the Whitney Museum of American Art
New York, 18 November 2020
Salman Toor, The Bar on East 13th (2019). Courtesy the artist and Perrotin. Photo: Guillaume Ziccarelli. 

One of the most exciting new figurative painters to have emerged over the last few years is Lahore-born New Yorker, Salman Toor, whose solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art recently opened in New York and will be on view until 4 April 2021.

Toor's interior scenes—often rendered in his unmistakable emerald green tones—depict imagined narratives heavily influenced by his own experiences as a queer Asian man living in New York. Intimate scenes of lovers kissing or talking over glowing iPhone screens combine with theatrical poses on the dance floor to conjure up an alluringly whimsical atmosphere.

Toor's painterly mark-making and flair for figurative composition, together with his figures' engaging facial expressions imbue these narratives with a sense of nostalgia and emotional intensity; reflecting a depth of understanding and appreciation for Expressionist and Impressionist painters from the past.

Art021 Highlights: Wolfgang Tillmans
Shanghai, 15 November 2020
Wolfgang Tillmans, paper drop (green) (2019). Unframed inkjet print. 135 x 200 cm. © Wolfgang Tillmans. Courtesy Maureen Paley, London / Hove.

One of our highlights from Art021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair is this inkjet print from Wolfgang Tillmans' celebrated 'paper drop' series, presented by Maureen Paley.

Tillmans makes abstract works that challenge pre-existing hierarchies around photography. He constructs cameraless photographic images via a process of exposing photosensitive paper to light sources.

In the case of his 'paper drop' series, Tillmans photographs curved sheets of photographic paper. In these works, the sheet of photographic paper becomes sculptural, transformed into a voluminous, almost liquid state.

Tillmans does not view his abstract work as separate from his figurative output, and their power lies in the startlingly personal sensation elicited from something so abstract.

Art021 Highlights: David Douard
Shanghai, 13 November 2020
David Douard, EV''R 3 (2020). Aluminium frame, silk screened fabric, silk screened wood, silk screened plastic. 151 x 110 x 14.5 cm. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris. Photo: Martin Argyroglo.

We love this David Douard work that Galerie Chantal Crousel are showing for Art021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair.

Poetry and text feed into Douard's sculptures as vital components, shaping the meaning of his objects and their surroundings. The result is the creation of a strange fictitious world made up of organic, whimsical sculptures.

Douard explains that the use of poetry in his work, which he sources from the internet, started early on in his career and represents a prolongation of the relationship he had with graffiti in his past.

'Nobody expresses anything in the street now. Everything happens on the internet,' Douard has said.

Art021 Highlights: Judy Chicago
Shanghai, 12 November 2020
Judy Chicago, Birth Trinity (1985). Screenprint in colours. 35.6 x 87.6 cm. © Judy Chicago. Courtesy Salon 94.

Salon 94 are showing this Judy Chicago work in the online viewing rooms of Art021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair.

For the Birth Project (1980–1985), Judy Chicago collaborated with over 150 needleworkers to create a series of embroidery and paintings dedicated to the multifaceted experiences of giving birth.

Birth Trinity (1985), a print version of the original 1983 needlework on mesh canvas, takes a mystical turn on the process: three figures are entangled, merging into and emerging from one another, with bands of softly pulsating colours that radiate from their forms.

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