Matthew Barney at Sadie Coles HQ London, 24 November 2020
This exquisite graphite and gouache work on paper is one of 20 works in a series from Matthew 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.
Sanam Khatibi at rodolphe janssen Brussels, 19 November 2020
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 Cyanide at 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 1932 unique cast of this work fetched USD $71 million at Christie's in 2018 and, although this is a posthumous cast, one cannot deny the sheer beauty of this object.
Brancusi's iconic polished bronze lends itself so well to more recent casting, and invites intriguing questions around authorship.
This sculpture feels contemporary, in part due to Brancusi's aesthetic influence on modern sculpture that has trickled down over the years, but also through his ability to convey modernity as an expressive form of universality.
Brancusi eschews physical characterisation for more abstract forms, but a subtle suggestion of curves, swirls, and verticality leaves us with this powerful sensation of a sophisticated woman.
Varejão has been one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful Brazilian artists over the last 25 years.
Her work unpicks the layers of colonialism and diverse cultural histories making up her native Brazil. Fragments from different times and places are assembled and recontextualised within the framework of Varejão's painting. This early canvas from 1993 is ruptured with flesh wounds, revealing a morbid violence simmering beneath the surface of the remnants of colonialism.
Varejão provides us with text from ancient maps detailing different oceans alongside beautiful variations of painted waves. Pieces of broken porcelain in an array of colours and patterns are strewn across the canvas, interconnected by delicate threads of material.
This intricate web alludes to the fragility of our cultural histories, whilst also questioning the stability and authenticity of a globalised society. Varejão uses pieces of Brazilian culture as props to construct beautifully poetic and, at times, visceral images that reflect contemporary life.
Art Basel OVR Highlights: Lucio Fontana Basel, 29 October 2020
Lucio Fontana's work is being shown alongside Alexander Calder's at Ben Brown Fine Arts for Art Basel OVR:20c.
Known as the father of Spatialism, Argentine-Italian artist Fontana worked with a variety of materials and techniques to experiment and pioneer conceptual limits in art.
The Movimento Spaziale was the result of the 'Manifesto Blanco', a manifesto written by the students and teachers at the Academia Altarmira, which Fontana founded in 1945. The manifesto called for art that combined elements of colour, movement, time, and space.
This work is part of Fontana's 'Concetto Spaziale' series. The linen was stretched and painted in monochromatic colours, to which Fontana would stab to create buchi (holes), exposing the space beneath. In creating this void, Fontana investigated and manipulated the space between the viewer, the canvas, and the space beyond.
The painting is significant for marking the beginning of Fontana's distinctive 'Tagli' (cuts) series. Tagli being the process of vertical or diagonal energetic slashes made to the canvas made with a sharp blade. Earlier Tagli work can be delineated for their rougher, more ragged tears, whereas later works were characterised by definitive slashes.