Friday, March 11

Loosely Functional: The Volta Art Fair

Untitled 2010 Peter Opheim (via VOLTA NY)
Sharon Butler on Two Coats of Paint has posted a great two-part round-up of the VOLTA Art Fair in New York. I almost always nearly avoid the art fairs in the news but I'm glad I didn't miss this one. Butler describes the show as:
...different from the other fairs because the international galleries, selected by a panel of curators, present solo installations by emerging artists. This year more than half of the 90+ artists were painters. Overall, the work tended toward garishly colorful near-representation. Images of impressionistic, seemingly unfinished figures, mid-century modernist architecture and images of vintage bookcovers displayed on shelves were also plentiful.
Dil Hildebrand, Installation  (via VOLTA NY)
The painter, Peter Opheim is a good example of what Butler describes. Indeed, garish representations of PlayDoh like mounds. Representation simply to use paint. But not necessarily to represent something functional. Or as the artist's statement suggests:
These are paintings that function as sculpture. I don't consider them to be pictures. The size of the canvas and the sculpted image the paintings reference are created together and I consider the painting to be the actual size....The way the paint is handled should be enough. I have made paintings with and without imagery....after throwing away everything that wasn't necessary, including methods, expectations and ideas, this is what was left.
Another is Dil Hildebrand, with an "apparent fidelity to photographic representation". Hildebrand's palette suggests the fringes of Saul Leiter's early color photographs.

Brand 2 2010 Martin Gale (via VOLTA NY)
The painter, Martin Gale, who trained with Neo Rauch, paints these busy, photorealistic images that remain ambiguous and strange. Claiming he is less concerned with the subject matter and more with a "certain distance to it's portrayal." Photorealism being another discussion entirely, but a "reality" that suggests another way of looking at things entirely - or another eye. And Gale uses that photorealist palette and sharpness along with painterly shapes, forms and sometimes even abstract, pink splotches.

A full list of participating artists is at VOLTA.

Looking through the participants a common theme seems to be toying with representation. Whether it is done using representation or defying it, the VOLTA fair seems to present an almost meta-like awareness for each medium and history. And it's a theme I find interesting when it comes to paint.

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