Art Southampton presented a diverse art fair with much to like. Unlike prior years, galleries presented mostly contemporary art with modern art having a modest presence. While walking along the broad aisles, I found myself drawn to booths that presented a strong showing of one artist, even if the booth was a group exhibition.  

Figurative art features prominently in my picks. So do works with an emphasis on use of materiality as part of a process. An unintended through line, for many of the works, is contemporary art that reflects on current states of societies and sometimes, the different ways we're coping when life and times aren't kind or peaceful. 

Following are my picks of 10 contemporary artists exhibiting at Art Southampton. They are presented in no particular order.

Deborah Azzopardi at The Cynthia Corbett Gallery (London):

I'm not sure if works by Deborah Azzopardi should be a guilty pleasure but I love her art. With a visual connection to Roy Lichtenstein's work, Azzopardi embraces the comparison and doesn't flinch. A brochure for a retrospective at the London-based Cynthia Corbett Gallery, which also presented the work at Art Southampton, headlines: "America has Lichtenstein, We have Azzopardi."

The line work and graphic treatment are clear connections but her composition subjects differ. Proactive, sensual, and very female, it's difficult to look away--especially when the protagonist is caught in mid-story. Rendered in rich colors with plenty of skin tone, it's the lines that detail--often simulating shadows and three-dimensional depth--that slay me.

Azzopardi is based in London and has made her pop art for the last 25 years.

.

"Relaxing" by Deborah Azzopardi, 2007. Acrylic on board, 26 x 48 inches. Exhibiting with the Cynthia Corbett Gallery.

"Relaxing" by Deborah Azzopardi, 2007. Acrylic on board, 26 x 48 inches. Exhibiting with the Cynthia Corbett Gallery.

.

"He Loves Me" by Deborah Azzopardi, 2010. Acrylic on board, 33.1 x 23.6 inches. Exhibiting with the Cynthia Corbett Gallery.

"He Loves Me" by Deborah Azzopardi, 2010. Acrylic on board, 33.1 x 23.6 inches. Exhibiting with the Cynthia Corbett Gallery.

.

"Say a little Prayer" by Deborah Azzopardi, 2014. Acrylic on paper, 22 x 22 inches. Exhibiting with the Cynthia Corbett Gallery.

"Say a little Prayer" by Deborah Azzopardi, 2014. Acrylic on paper, 22 x 22 inches. Exhibiting with the Cynthia Corbett Gallery.

.

Juliane Hundertmark at Galerie Juliane Hundertmark (Berlin):

If you're going to throw stones at an artist exhibiting work at their own gallery, go ahead. When the dust settles, I'm still going to be looking at works by Juliane Hundertmark. The images are weird, distorted, and have the feeling of capturing a freeze frame of a scene from someone else's nightmare (or at least from an unsettling dream).

There's a distinctive difference between the drawings and paintings. The large portrait paintings compel but the mixed media works on paper rivet. Incomplete figures form hazy grouping tucked within a simple and old frame. The works feel like they could have been stumbled upon in a rear parlor of a historical museum or in a distant relative's farmhouse, hung on the wall in an upstairs bedroom.

The art is based upon family photos which are used as a springboard to create evocative narrative works, said gallery directory Julia von Perponcher. The mixed media paintings were based on photographs from the artist's family. The paintings--and much of the artist's work--uses historic photos, that may or may not be family, to explore the nuances of what it means to be human; especially when experiences run dark.

 

Artwork by Juliane Hundertmark, 2014. Oil on canvas. Exhibiting with Galerie Juliane Hundertmark.

Artwork by Juliane Hundertmark, 2014. Oil on canvas. Exhibiting with Galerie Juliane Hundertmark.

.

Detail of "Lust" by Juliane Hundertmark, 2014. Oil on canvas. Exhibiting with Galerie Juliane Hundertmark.

Detail of "Lust" by Juliane Hundertmark, 2014. Oil on canvas. Exhibiting with Galerie Juliane Hundertmark.

.

"Licht" by Juliane Hundertmark, 2014. Oil on canvas. Exhibiting with Galerie Juliane Hundertmark.

"Licht" by Juliane Hundertmark, 2014. Oil on canvas. Exhibiting with Galerie Juliane Hundertmark.

.

"My Old Family" by Juliane Hundertmark, 2014. Mixed media with old frame. Exhibiting with Galerie Juliane Hundertmark.

"My Old Family" by Juliane Hundertmark, 2014. Mixed media with old frame. Exhibiting with Galerie Juliane Hundertmark.

.

Detail of "My Old Family" by Juliane Hundertmark, 2014. Mixed media with old frame. Exhibiting with Galerie Juliane Hundertmark.

Detail of "My Old Family" by Juliane Hundertmark, 2014. Mixed media with old frame. Exhibiting with Galerie Juliane Hundertmark.

.

Detail of "My Old Family" by Juliane Hundertmark, 2014. Mixed media with old frame. Exhibiting with Galerie Juliane Hundertmark.

Detail of "My Old Family" by Juliane Hundertmark, 2014. Mixed media with old frame. Exhibiting with Galerie Juliane Hundertmark.

.

Yves Hayat at Galerie Mark Hachem (Paris)

Yves Hayat's manipulated photography constructions get right to the point - wars are rampant and here's where to find them. And, in case there's interest, here are some of the leaders responsible for stirring people to take up arms and kill. Portraits or compositions occupy clear rectangle boxes, enhancing the "on display" sensation. Pondering further, the works also ask viewers to consider who is benefiting and the motivations behind the violence. The art doesn't pick sides or lay blame on any one force--except maybe the religion of money. Art focusing on war isn't the only series of art made by Hayat (celebs also are the subject of series) but these are the two works presented at Art Southampton.

The works grabbed me with their unusual use of materials. Within each plastic casing is an altered portrait or image made by an inkjet print of a burnt transparency film. The effect creates a timeless and historic pall to world leaders who may be sleeping or dead, with the possibility raised of a casket shot remembrance selected as the ultimate portrait.

Hayat was born in Egypt and currently lives in Paris. After the arrival of the Iraqi war, he refocused his photography to create works that point out the fall out from war and to raise the question of who really benefits in order to uncover motivations that go beyond spin for the public.

.

"22 Les Icones Sont Fatiguees" by Yves Hayat.

"22 Les Icones Sont Fatiguees" by Yves Hayat. Exhibiting with Galerie Mark Hachem.

.

Gale Hart at ten472 Contemporary Art (Nevada City, CA)

I have to admit that it was Gale Hart’s painting that spoke to me first and I walked past all of her gun sculptures to get there. The single painting on view features the outline of a person with a Mickey Mouse hat. Inside the figure is where all the action happens: an abstract field of snippets of pattern, color, faces, washes, scrapings, texture and lines that are vaguely unsettling yet a powerful draw.

These fields of color are contrasted against areas of pure black. The abstract works reference art history images and graphic design, according to the gallery. The imagery crashes together without room to grab an intellectual toehold…visual recognition wasn’t possible for me and that’s as the artist intends.

.

"The Power of Minnie 2" by Gale Hart

"The Power of Minnie 2" by Gale Hart. Exhibiting with ten472 Contemporary Art.

.

The gun sculptures took me by surprise, days later. I couldn’t stop wondering about them. Despite my initial casual viewing and obvious form, an impact had been made.

The titles help lead the way into the art: “Just in Case”; “In Plain Sight” “Last Rites”, “Till Death Do Us Part”. Paired with larger-than-life gun forms that occasionally spout decorative flourishes, the social commentary is clear. Aren’t the issues of violence toward women, the debate on gun control and even societal escapism worth considering? Especially since firearms are sometimes made with peacemaking intentions, according to the artist as described in a gallery brochure.

.

"Till Death Do Us Part" by Gale Hart

"Till Death Do Us Part" by Gale Hart. Exhibiting with ten472 Contemporary Art.

.

Josepha Gasch-Muche at Heller Gallery (New York)

Perhaps the most physically dangerous artwork to viewers are abstract wall sculptures by Josepha Gasch-Muche. Made from fractured LED screens (industrial liquid crystal display glass), the works undergo a complete transformation when viewed from front to side. When viewed front-forward like a painting, the abstract work appears to have a soft surface, like a polished glistening seashell interior or a mother of pearl finish. Subtle and shimmering, it's a gentle piece.

Moving close to examine the side view, the works are nearly terrifying. Jagged surfaces jut in complicated layers and appear as a thick field of sharp splintered glass. The potential harm is nevertheless hypnotic, like a Siren calling to beckon touch, assuring that the danger is an illusion…up until the moment when blood might be drawn. (In reality, gallery owner Katya Heller explained that the jagged surface can be touched if approached in a certain way. It also can slice skin.)

In between the two views, the works transform with every perspective and shift of the quality of the light. Gasch-Muche’s work is directly inspired and informed by Bauhaus exploration of the essence of materiality, according to the gallery. Born in Germany, Gasch-Muche studied with Bauhaus member Boris Herbert Kelient, who was a student of Bauhaus teacher and theorist Johannes Itten.

Gasch-Muche’s work aims for mutability and light is their catalyst. The multiple works presented at Art Southampton shimmer and transform beneath a seemingly benign outer surface which doesn’t always reveal the complications the work contains.

[Note: The photographs don't do the artwork justice. Check back for professional images to be added this week.]

.

Artwork by Josepha Gasch-Muche.

Artwork by Josepha Gasch-Muche. Exhibiting with Heller Gallery.

.

Side view of Artwork by Josepha Gasch-Muche.

Side view of Artwork by Josepha Gasch-Muche. Exhibiting with Heller Gallery.

.

Lizzie Gill at Antoine Helwaser Gallery (New York)

Walking along a sun-dabbled street with danger leering from adjacent alleys, Lizzie Gill’s paintings are funny on the outside and serious on the inside. By this, I mean the Brooklyn artist knows how to find the light side of life's twists without ignoring the weirdness.

No 401k left or hope of affording retirement? Why worry? Believe the latest optimistic news report? Even better. Life runs smoother when not overthinking the big picture. Especially if that picture might resemble the metaphorical “dark and stormy night”.

But don't expect drudgery or compositions of horror. Gill's paintings make use of rich colors, abstraction that doesn't fully obscure, loose expressive brushstrokes, and a direct humor that doesn't pull punches or strike too forcefully.

.

"Tractor Dreams" by Lizzie Gill, 2014. Mixed media & oil on canvas, 36 x 36 x 1 inches.

"Tractor Dreams" by Lizzie Gill, 2014. Mixed media & oil on canvas, 36 x 36 x 1 inches. Exhibiting with Antoine Helwaser Gallery.

.

Gill’s paintings and mixed media works on paper combine themes of rosy retro Americana couched in contemporary life where people, corporations and societies have no qualms using slight of hand to create a happy facade to mask a different (and less truthful) realty. In a sense, Gill’s work centers on the disingenuous; fictions created when life and expectations get turned on its  head and an easy story brings comfort.

Take the time to read her artwork titles and then move in for an even closer look at her art. There are moments of truth and beauty even when life may not be what it seems. Plus, with a restrained yet extravagant use of color, the paintings sing. The works on paper exhibited, featuring hole-punched paper circles as confetti stand-ins, are clever with conceptual substance.

.

"I Scream, You Scream" by Lizzie Gill, 2014. Mixed media & oil on canvas, 36 x 36 x 1 inches.

"I Scream, You Scream" by Lizzie Gill, 2014. Mixed media & oil on canvas, 36 x 36 x 1 inches. Exhibiting with Antoine Helwaser Gallery.

.

"Beach Wars" by Lizzie Gill, 2014. Mixed media & oil on canvas, 36 x 36 x 1 inches.

"Beach Wars" by Lizzie Gill, 2014. Mixed media & oil on canvas, 36 x 36 x 1 inches. Exhibiting with Antoine Helwaser Gallery.

.

"I Work in Midtown, HBU?" by Lizzie Gill, 2014. Collage on paper, 11 x 15 inches.

"I Work in Midtown, HBU?" by Lizzie Gill, 2014. Collage on paper, 11 x 15 inches. Exhibiting with Antoine Helwaser Gallery.

.

"Fingers Crossed (It's The Chick on the Right)" by Lizzie Gill, 2014. Collage on paper, 11 x 15 inches.

"Fingers Crossed (It's The Chick on the Right)" by Lizzie Gill, 2014. Collage on paper, 11 x 15 inches. Exhibiting with Antoine Helwaser Gallery.

.

Idan Zareski at Markowicz Fine Art (Miami)

Idan Zareski’s “Bigfoot” series of sculptures are some of the happiest artworks at Art Southampton. Each monochromatic work features a figure in an expressive pose. Common to all is a set of extremely large bare feet. Far from appearing distorted, the extra-large set is a comfortable part of the person. The facial expression and posture of each figure has a distinct emotion that arises during an intuitive art making process, according to the gallery's website. The series is meant to encourage peace and tolerance, according to an artist statement.

Zareski was born in Israel and is now a French national. Living in multiple countries, Zareski noticed a variety of races and cultures, according to the gallery. People from his past continue to inspire the sculptures in the series. The work is founded on the belief that no matter the difference between people, we all trod the earth, and beauty is all around.

.

Sculpture by Idan Zareski.

Sculpture by Idan Zareski. Exhibiting with Markowicz Fine Art.

.

Sculpture by Idan Zareski.

Sculpture by Idan Zareski. Exhibiting with Markowicz Fine Art.

.

Sculpture by Idan Zareski.

Sculpture by Idan Zareski. Exhibiting with Markowicz Fine Art.

.

Steffen Dam at Heller Gallery (New York)

Works by Danish artist Steffen Dam are inspired by a fictitious natural environment whose evolution is being scientifically (and facetiously) gathered, catalogued and preserved.

Made through glass blowing techniques, his faux specimens are encased in glass and installed like they are part of a curio cabinet display or shelves in a science lab. The objects inside are inspired by life forms from the sea, plant life, and objects culled from different historical periods yet remain without direct connection to anything real.

For Dam, the work is personal yet channels experiences shared by all through our common humanity, according to the gallery. The work also makes reference to The Age of Enlightenment, when it was believed describing and analyzing, in detail, the elements of nature would allow for big picture understanding to bloom. The impulse to analyze and organize divergent facts or elements remains relevant, according to the gallery. Our segmented and complicated world raises a longing for order and organization to make sense of it all.

.

"9 JARS" by Steffan Dam, 2013-2014. Glass, 35 3/8 x 39 5/16 inches. Tallest 11 inches high.

"9 JARS" by Steffan Dam, 2013-2014. Glass, 35 3/8 x 39 5/16 inches. Tallest 11 inches high. Courtesy Heller Gallery.

.

Troy Abbott at Pan American Art Projects (Miami)

At first glance, Troy Abbott's bird-cage constructions appear decorative. The unusual cages attract with the assumption that a pet bird stand-in singularly occupies the ornate homes. Only upon close inspection does it become apparent the bird is animated by a looping video. In every bird-cage construction, the bird is a typical house pet variety and is content to quietly sit on its perch with only the occasional movement. Often times, it’s the same bird that appears in multiple cages, said Abbott.

It’s the bird-cage that takes center stage instead of the pet. Each differs in style and tone. Some are refurbished antique bird cages or made from metal that seems like a Steampunk object. Abbott said he combs shops and unusual places to find cages to make his art. The deteriorated objects are then coaxed into a new life through additions or restoration, depending on the condition of the cage, he said.

.

Artwork by Troy Abbott. Exhibiting with Pan American Art Projects.

Artwork by Troy Abbott. Exhibiting with Pan American Art Projects.

.

Colors of the cages and bird are sometimes coordinated to enhance the sensation of the piece as a single entity. This is one of the qualities that moves the work from decorative into art.

“It should look like it’s always been there,” Abbott explained.

Video art that doesn't draw attention to the use of moving images results in an unusually subtle series. In a field where it can be more typical to find works featuring overly-bright colors and fragmented images forming streams of abstraction in quick-moving looping designed to disorient—sometimes as a way to create stillness or a fresh perspective--the use of a single realistic image that barely moves almost seems groundbreaking.

Or Victorian. Actually, reference to the Victorian age is part of the artist’s intention, explained the gallery.

.

Artwork by Troy Abbott. Exhibiting with Pan American Art Projects.

Artwork by Troy Abbott. Exhibiting with Pan American Art Projects.

.

Abbott’s bird cage videos may create the ultimate pet—one that never dies, doesn’t chirp too loud or need its home cleaned. Plus, its cage is a beautiful one.

.

Artwork by Troy Abbott. Exhibiting with Pan American Art Projects.

Artwork by Troy Abbott. Exhibiting with Pan American Art Projects.

.

Artwork by Troy Abbott. Exhibiting with Pan American Art Projects.

Artwork by Troy Abbott. Exhibiting with Pan American Art Projects.

.

Vee Speers at Jackson Fine Art (Atlanta)

There is something haunting about the series of young people donning almost sculptural costumes conjuring mythological warriors. Welcome to Middle School where armor might be needed. Vee Speers is on top of it.

The Australian-born photographer has lived in Paris since 1990. The mother of three daughters, the youngest embraced modeling for Speer’s fine art. So did some of her friends. The first series portrayed individual figurative works of her daughter and companions in an implied backdrop of an eighth birthday party. The "Birthday Party" series presented its child figures poised on a precipice between childhood and aging, past and present, and solemnity and play, according to the gallery.

Speers's newest series, “Immortal”, portrays some of the same children only now “older, bolder and stronger,” according to gallery marketing director Courtney Lee Martin. These were the photographs exhibited at Art Southampton. While some of the same models are in both series, Speers does not intend them as a continuum, said Martin.

.

"Untitled #32" by Vee Speers, 2013. From "The Bulletproof Series."

"Untitled #32" by Vee Speers, 2013. From "The Bulletproof Series." Courtesy of Jackson Fine Art.

.

Donned like hero warriors from a yet untold fantasy saga, each portrait shares an ethereal quality that contributes to a timelessness that’s not quite of this world.

"The escape of adolescents into fantasy is just as important as in childhood, only as young adults the escape is quite often into the virtual world of film, television and internet,” writes Veer about her "Immortal" series. “So the imagery I have created is an isolated world unique to them, somewhere between fantasy and reality. I want them to be alone, standing like fallen angels, but still part of a common world."

.

"Untitled #6" by Vee Speers, 2013. From "The Bulletproof Series."

"Untitled #6" by Vee Speers, 2013. From "The Bulletproof Series." Courtesy of Jackson Fine Art.

.

Creating the images is a multi-step process that include traditional photography, printing and hand coloring, said Martin. The series was photographed in Speer's native Australia, according to the gallery.

The result could be a kind of contemporary magical realism except it seems like these figures are bound for triumph without past tragedy to overcome. Pairing the two series together, the photographs may raise the point that eternal youth is a myth and aging does not stop for anyone.

.

"Untitled #34" by Vee Speers, 2013. From "The Bulletproof Series."

"Untitled #34" by Vee Speers, 2013. From "The Bulletproof Series." Courtesy of Jackson Fine Art.

.

BASIC FACTS: Art Southampton 2014 takes place from July 24 – 28, 2014 at Southampton Elks Lounge, 605 County Road 39, Southampton, NY 11968. www.art-southampton.com.

_________________________________________

Copyright 2014 Hamptons Art Hub LLC. All rights reserved.

Don't miss a story!

We are on Social Networks

2 comments

  1. Do u ever do shows n Milwaukee Wisconsin?

  2. No – so far have have never shown in Milwaukee! But who knows!!!!

subscribe