Vojtěch Kovařík at Mendes Wood DM
Brussels, 28 October 2020
Vojtěch Kovařík, Island of Ogygia, (2020). Acrylic on canvas. 250 x 200 cm. © Vojtěch Kovařík. Courtesy Mendes Wood DM.

Mendes Wood DM have announced representation of the young Czech painter, Vojtěch Kovařík.

Vojtěch Kovařík featured in their exhibition at Villa Era in Italy that opened on 26 September 2020. His paintings are figurative and monumental; using spray paint techniques, he creates a patina akin to the stone surface of sculptures.

Although hugely influenced by artists such as Baselitz, Lupertz, and Picasso—Kovařík also cites his father's readings of Greek myths from a book by Eduard Petiska as a huge influence to him.

Soviet Brutalist sculpture and murals also permeate his imagery, imbuing them with melancholy and rooting them to his native Czech Republic.

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Vincent Fecteau at Galerie Buchholz
Berlin, 28 October 2020

This wall-based sculpture was part of a group of 12 new works by Vincent Fecteau for his exhibition at Galerie Buchholz, running from 11 September to 31 October 2020.

The San Francisco-based artist is also represented by Matthew Marks Gallery in New York and greengrassi in London. Recent museum solo shows have included the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2019) and Secession, Vienna (2016).

Fecteau often uses papier-mâché, together with various everyday materials to construct his sculptures. These works contain free-flowing forms that shift in and out of legibility as our eyes wander around the surface. Each object or shape of recognition is twisted or merged into another; Fecteau's use of colour playfully intersecting this apparent malleability.

A tactile quality is alluded to via the use of felt and cotton, and although his work often invites comparison with Ken Price and Ron Nagle—perhaps due to their modest scale and abstract nature—these works seem more architectural and energised, revelling in the process of excavating and constructing forms in three-dimensional space.

Main image: Vincent Fecteau, Untitled (2020). Papier-mâché, acrylic, wood, felt. 46 x 72.5 x 32 cm. © the artist. Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Cologne and Berlin.
Qian Jiahua at ASIA NOW
Paris, 22 October 2020
Qian Jiahua, Fountain (2019). Acrylic on canvas. 55 x 50 cm. © Qian Jiahua. Courtesy HdM Gallery.

HdM Gallery showed this painting by Qian Jiahua for ASIA NOW online, presented on Ocula, from 21 October to 7 November 2020.

Qian Jiahua is a young Chinese artist based in Shanghai and known for her geometric abstract paintings in acrylic. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at K11 Museum and the Long Museum in Shanghai.

Using thin lines of paint to dissect planes of colour applied in varying textures, Qian Jiahua's compositions are activated through these contrasting edges that form an illusion of layer and depth.

In Fountain, a thin line casts an elegant shadow, transforming the blue beneath into an airy natural tone, which is offset by a deep blue opposite. This rich blue is dramatically interrupted by a stroke of white—subtly appropriated from Hockney's famous splash paintings—and alluding to the fountain's spurting water; Qian Jiahua teases out these natural sensations and memories from within us.

Meekyoung Shin at ASIA NOW
Paris, 21 October 2020
Meekyoung Shin, Translation - Vase Series (2020). Soap, pigment, varnish, fragrance. 53 x 27 x 27 cm. © Meekyoung Shin. Courtesy Lee-Bauwens Gallery.

With her solo show In the Shadow of Time at Lee-Bauwens Gallery, Meekyoung Shin is one of two artists being shown by the gallery for ASIA NOW, which ran from 21 October to 7 November 2020.

Having received an MFA from Slade School of Art, Shin splits her time living and working between Seoul and London. Her works have been exhibited in both group and solo shows internationally.

As an artist from Korea, training in European sculpture in the U.K., Translation - Vase Series is part of her main body of work focusing on the theme of cultural hybridisation. Her detailed chinoiserie vases, a style synonymous with the antiques created for American and European export, probes viewers to question how cultural displacement affects interpretation and appreciation.

This slippage is elucidated further as we realise that the artefact is made out of soap, adding connotations of impermanence and washing or cleanliness.

Kim Tschang-Yeul at ASIA NOW
Paris, 21 October 2020

ASIA NOW ran from 21 October to 7 November 2020. One of our highlights from the previews is this Kim Tschang-Yeul painting exhibited with Almine Rech.

Korean artist Kim Tschang-Yeul is internationally renowned for his abstract paintings depicting exquisitely detailed and perfectly formed drops of water. These droplets are depicted in a moment of equilibrium, whilst reminding us of the fragility of our existence.

Kim's family fled Communist North Korea when he was a young boy, and he was to later fight in the civil war from 1950 to 1953, which left an indelible mark on his practice. As he remarked in his conversation with Vivian Chui, 'I wanted to break away from the experience of the war. When I discovered the water drop, I thought I had found a playing ground that could be my own.'

Over the course of several decades living in Seoul, New York, and Paris, Kim Tschang-Yeul developed a precise, contemplative abstract style that moves far beyond the immediacy of hyperrealist trompe l'oeil effects, revealing a powerfully meditative atmosphere. The end result is long lasting and universal in its scope.

Main image: Kim Tschang-Yeul, Waterdrops (1985). Oil on canvas. 50 x 50 x 1.5 cm. © Kim Tschang-Yeul. Courtesy the artist and Almine Rech.
Louise Bourgeois
at Sotheby's

London, 17 October 2020

Included in the major 2007 Tate retrospective and derived from a similar bronze 30 years prior, here is Louise Bourgeois' Fragile Goddess from the Contemporary Evening Sale at Sotheby's on 21 October 2020.

Autobiographical in both theme and material, Louise Bourgeois' body of work represents a therapeutic desire to emotionally repair her tumultuous childhood. A Surrealist tactility—through her use of fabric—is combined with biomorphic forms, invoking themes of gender and womanhood. With rough, fragmented stitching in stark contrast to the body's soft fabric, Fragile Goddess is a potent evocation of the traumas of motherhood and childbearing.

On womanhood, Bourgeois wrote, 'I have endeavoured during my whole life time as a sculptor to turn woman from an object into an active subject'.

Main image: Louise Bourgeois, Fragile Goddess (2002). Fabric. 33 x 12.6 x 14 cm. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Alberto Giacometti
at Phillips

London, 17 October 2020
Alberto Giacometti, Femme debout, (1961). Bronze. 44.5 x 7.8 x 11.1 cm. Courtesy Phillips.

Alberto Giacometti's exquisite Femme debout sculpture was included in the 20th Century & Contemporary Art Sale on 20 October 2020 at Phillips.

Giacometti's incredible ability to work the female form through his obsessive technique of whittling the figure down to a delicate yet domineering presence is conveyed perfectly in this sculpture.

Giacometti had a deep fascination with the human gaze and its ability to discern the life of the individual. 'If I can hold the look in the eyes, everything else follows', Giacometti once said. The artist would expect his sitters—often his wife Annette Arm—to maintain a presence as attentive as the artist himself.

Detailed, smooth and dominating, the head is in stark contrast to the rigid ultra-thin vertical body that falls beneath. The fragile proportions yet soulful presence of the figure reinforces the awe we experience when faced with this masterpiece. Commenting on his innate ability to create such contradiction, Jean-Paul Sartre noted that Giacometti's depictions on humanity were 'always mediating between nothingness and being'.

Rachel Jones
at Thaddaeus Ropac

London, 16 October 2020
Rachel Jones, A Slow Teething (2020). Oil pastel, oil stick on paper. 160 x 250 cm. © the artist. Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London-Paris-Salzburg. Photo: Eva Herzog.

This painting by Rachel Jones was shown at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London, as part of their group exhibition, A Focus on Painting (12 September–21 October 2020).

Rachel Jones recently completed her MA at the Royal Academy Schools and lives in London. Painted on unstretched canvas or paper pinned to the wall, she constructs powerfully visceral images bursting with colour.

Abstract forms slowly reveal an interior landscape of teeth and gums; the depths of Jones's internal body are unearthed, becoming an expression of her own inner life. This gloriously imaginative and ambient interpretation of her self invites us to reconsider how society views the Black body in other forms of imagery or media. Although Jones's innate talent as a colourist envelopes us with such sensorial power, it's this energy that has the most telling affect on us.

Kai Althoff
at Whitechapel Gallery

London, 16 October 2020
Photo: Ocula Advisory.

'Beauty in your work takes many forms, and includes your febrile drawing, so sensitive, so ornate; and your effulgent colours, which to me evoke Renaissance tapestries. Your subjects, at times, describe the essence of perfect companionship, which by definition is beautiful in its equanimity and balance.'

Laura Hoptman quoted from her conversation with Kai Althoff in the catalogue that accompanied the artist's solo exhibition at MoMA in 2016.

The elusive artist's exhibition with Bernard Leach recently opened at Whitechapel Gallery in London.

Jill Mulleady
at Gladstone Gallery

Brussels, 10 October 2020

Gladstone Gallery opened their first solo show by Jill Mulleady at their Brussels space recently.

Uruguayan-born Mulleady lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work was included in last year's Venice Biennale group exhibition, and she will be in the Hammer Museum's Made in L.A. 2020 later this year.

Mulleady's figurative paintings oscillate between complex narratives—broad in scope—and micro-cosmic details that harness metaphorical potency. Her world is imagined and fantastical.

Narrative elements are gleaned from literature and art history, but these are interwoven with contemporary references, resulting in slippery, time-bending ensembles.

Main image: Jill Mulleady, Gardens of the Blind (2020). Oil on linen. 168 x 200 cm. © Jill Mulleady. Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.
Frieze OVR Highlights:
Vaughn Spann

London, 10 October 2020
Vaughn Spann, Laurel Canyon (Saguaro) (2020). Mixed media, silk, polymer paint, canvas on stretcher bars. 156.8 x 126 x 11.1 cm. © Vaughn Spann. Courtesy Almine Rech.

Almine Rech exhibited this Vaughn Spann work in Frieze Art Fair's 2020 online viewing rooms.

Since graduating with an MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2018, Spann has already been included in more than three dozen group shows across the U.S., and there is a lot of heat around his work after recent strong secondary market auction results.

Avoiding the temptation to settle on one signature style, Spann has remained committed to making surreal figurative scenes and abstractions, as well as works that float between the two.

'I don't want to choose one conversation,' the artist has explained. 'I want to be rebellious and think through lots of ideas. I learn through the chaos.'

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