The tensions between figuration and abstraction, tradition and modernity, play flawlessly in Armitage's works, which tackle socio-political issues in Kenya today. Velázquez's undulating figures and the haunting expressions of Goya's protagonists are brought together in his unique lyrical vision.
Strange Fruit, pictured here, presents a sublime example of this mastery. His whimsical brushstrokes and rich colour palette are both heavily influenced by the East African landscape Armitage has encountered throughout his life, having grown up and now living part time in Nairobi.
Represented by White Cube, Armitage's solo exhibition Paradise Edict is currently showing at Haus der Kunst, Munich until 14 February when it will move to London's Royal Academy of Arts from 13 March to 6 June.
Clarence Holbrook Carter at Various Small Fires Los Angeles, 05 February 2021
Clarence Holbrook Carter, Transection No. 2 (1991). Oil on canvas. 142 x 101 cm. Courtesy the estate of Clarence Holbrook Carter and Various Small Fires, Los Angeles/Seoul.
Various Small Fires is hosting a retrospective of the late Clarence Holbrook Carter, an American artist who began his career capturing scenes of the American Midwest during the years of the Great Depression.
As his career progressed, his representational forms transformed into more unearthly landscapes, closely aligning him with that of Max Ernst and Kay Sage and the metaphysical world of Giorgio de Chirico.
Transection No. 2 is part of his series 'Transection', the second of three series being shown in this exhibition. The ovoid, a recurring motif throughout his work, hovers above the open tomb in a state that appears to transcend life and death, and reflecting a metaphysical realm that his psychological landscapes beautifully explore.
American Surrealist is running at Various Small Fires' Los Angeles space until 27 February.
Following the announcement towards the end of last year by Blum & Poe and Karma of their co-representation of the painter Paul Mogensen, Blum & Poe are presenting a retrospective of the artists' works in their Los Angeles space until 6 March.
While his works appear to reflect the minimalist tendencies of the post-war period, Mogensen rejects such categorisation in favour of the basic principles of geometry and colour, theorised by Russian artists and poets, Rodchenko and Tatlin.
His geometric forms are a product of mathematical ratios and numerical sequences, creating spiralling visual patterns and pathways, however his reductionist approach encourages your eyes to migrate around the canvas to form your own unique path to interpretation.
Through experimenting with materiality and reconfiguring the digital image, Seth Price creates unique and intriguing works investigating our shifting relationship to images and the role of art in an increasingly digitised world.
Stefanie Heinze's similarly playful, anthropomorphic forms and bright hues are a product of what she describes as 'newsense', a concept of working towards the unknown, where uncertainty and failure is not just inevitable, but welcomed.
We are particularly looking forward to Heinze's solo show at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery opening on 23 April 2021.
Joseph Beuys' approach to structural composition and Malevich's exploration of colour and form to attain 'pure perception' are visible influences in Imi Knoebel's works.
Achieved through an exploration of unique colour combinations and materials' physical possibilities, Knoebel's simplified forms made him a pioneer in minimalist abstract art alongside Blinky Palermo, Ellsworth Kelly, Carmen Herrera et al.
As the artist once said, 'Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammer, the soul is the piano with its many chords. The artist is the hand that, by touching this or that key, causes vibrations in the soul'.
Knoebel's solo exhibition of recent works is showing in White Cube's OVR until 27 February.
Michaël Borremans at Zeno X Gallery Antwerp, 28 January 2021
Michaël Borremans, The Pope (2020). Oil on canvas. 60 x 40 cm. Courtesy Zeno X Gallery.
Michaël Borremans is one of the most exciting contemporary artists working today.
Represented by Zeno X Gallery in Belgium, his solo show Coloured Cones is currently exhibiting at their space in Antwerp until 20 February.
Coloured Cones was a product of his time in lockdown in his studio outside Ghent. Not able to work from models, these still-life works were conjured from various coloured and shaped satin fabric samples found in his studio—the choice of fabric a nod to sitters' clothing in Western portrait paintings.
In conversation with Ocula Magazine contributor Diana d'Arenberg prior to his 2018 solo show at David Zwirner Hong Kong, Borremans spoke of the figures in his portraits resembling a still life; posed, passive, and frozen, creating an atmosphere of suspense.
What makes the works in this exhibition so interesting is how each individual satin cone takes on a character of its own, becoming portraits in their own right.
The Pope, pictured here, is an ode to Velaquez's renowned portrait of Pope Innocent X produced circa 1650.
Andrej Dubravsky at LAUNCH F1 New York, 27 January 2021
Andrej Dubravsky, Big black caterpillar in the sky (2020). Acrylic and oil pastel on canvas. 143 x 137 cm. Courtesy the artist and Dittrich & Schlechtriem.
Andrej Dubravsky is a brilliant young painter living and working in Rastislavice, Slovakia.
The artist is represented by Berlin-based gallery Dittrich & Schlechtriem and LAUNCH F18, where his New York debut show Friendly Slav is currently showing until 6 February.
Reinventing the subjects of Old Masters, Dubravsky paints scenes of adolescent boys, idyllic landscapes, and animal portraits that express his reflective journey through adolescence in understanding the discourse of male identity and sexuality.
Dubravsky's recent works focus on the natural world, specifically the paradox of the caterpillar's anatomy through the magnified lens. When seeing these creatures, any initial feeling of fright or repulsion is quickly replaced with an appreciation for their beautiful yet vulnerable forms.
This young artist's use of effervescent layers of colour is what really catches the eye, recalling the alchemical paintings of Sigmar Polke.
Living and working between Beijing and Berlin, He Xiangyu's conceptual works are spaces of exploration into his personal and political experiences.
Hard Palate 20-2 is part of his ongoing series named 'Palate Project'. Xiangyu began this series in response to the language barrier he encountered after relocating to the U.S. in 2012, and the subsequent difficulty he experienced in navigating his new surroundings.
Swathes of black Japanese ink form the backdrop of this work, while coloured pencil and crayon is both scrubbed or, in parts, worked in softly to create Xiangyu's undulating forms.
This repetitive and meditative process reflects the movements of his tongue on his palate and the various possibilities as a result of this.
The Heart Has Its Reasons running until 3 February, exhibits works that explore the emotional and psychological aspects of Bourgeois' life from 1949 until the year before her death in 2010.
An ode to safety and a couple's happiness, a house sits upon one of the arms in Untitled (No.7), pictured here. Gleaned from experiences of love, family, and memory, many sculptures were borne of a therapeutic process in the wake of her tumultuous childhood.
Bourgeois' understanding that rational explanation is eluded as a result of our emotional and psychological experience of the Other, was a product of the teachings of Blaise Pascal who she came across while studying at the Sorbonne, Paris.
As Pascal once said, 'The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing'. —[O]
The first exhibition in Asia of work by the brilliant Raoul De Keyser recently opened at David Zwirner Hong Kong.
Viewing a work of De Keyser's, one can't help notice his lightness of touch and almost deliberately evasive manner.
Although gleaned from a deeply personal perspective of reality, his works can be understood as an improvisation, one of repeated editing, which can be seen in the pencil marks underneath the pink daubs of paint in Across (2000/2009) pictured here.
Despite this avoidance of any formal discourse, De Keyser managed to carve out a distinct visual language that marked him out as a truly unique voice and one that had the utmost influence on a host of younger painters including fellow Belgian superstar, Luc Tuymans and Turner Prize winner Tomma Abts. —[O]
Katja Seib at dépendance Brussels, 15 January 2021
Katja Seib, Medusa in vain (2020). Courtesy the artist and dépendence, Brussels; Sadie Coles HQ, London. Photo: Elon Schoenholz.
Katja Seib's exhibition, Happy Endings Don't Bore Me—her first at dépendance, Brussels—closes this week.
Seib is one of the most exciting young painters living and working in Los Angeles, where she is represented by Château Shatto. She also shows with Sadie Coles HQ in London and her work was recently included in Made in L.A. 2020: a version at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.
Seib's paintings shift between reality and illusion, often enveloping casual everyday scenes or intimate moments with surreal imagery that transforms them into strangely psychological works.
In this painting, Medusa in vain (2020), the Greek mythological figure looks into a mirror. A tear falls off her cheek appearing to merge with the pearls of her necklace. It was said that those who gazed into her eyes, turned into stone.—[O]