Lisa Sette Gallery M.I.A. in Miami 2018
We are not making the trip to Miami this year for the fairs, but we have great new works to share!
We are not making the trip to Miami this year for the fairs, but we have great new works to share!
There is a dichotomy at the heart of the work of textile and social practice artist Sonya Clark. The simplicity of her everyday materials such as hair, textiles and language is at odds with her urgent exploration of the legacy of craft, history and race. Drawing on the complexity of her Afro-Caribbean family with a Jamaican mother, Trinidadian father and a Scottish great-grandfather, she has a unique vantage on the notion of American identity: forged through slavery, immigration, love and an intergenerational linking of cultures.
Her work is grounded in the exchange of stories and skills that underpins the transmission of craft techniques between individuals and generations. The personal is political. This is evident in her performance Unraveling, in which she and participants slowly unravel a Confederate battle flag, thread by thread. As Clark has explained, “The intent is not to destroy a Confederate battle flag but to investigate what it means to take it apart, a metaphor for the slow and deliberate work of unraveling racial dynamics in the United States.”
Clark currently Professor of Art and the History of Art at Amherst College, and formerly a Distinguished Research Fellow in the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also holds a BA from Amherst College where she received an honorary doctorate in 2015. She is the recipient of a United States Artist Fellowship, a Pollock Krasner award, an 1858 Prize, and an Anonymous Was a Woman Award.
Argentinian-born and Mexico City-based Máximo González uses traditional craft techniques including drawing, folding, cutting and weaving to create collages and large-scale installations of found and recycled objects. His work encourages viewers to examine the ways we assign value to objects and what happens to that sense of value when we discard them. The devaluation of the national currency resulting from the 1990s economic turmoil in Argentina was a decisive influence on his early career. Gonzalez saw people throw money away as worthless and he began reinvesting it with meaning and significance by moving it into the arena of art. As he explained, “Reutilization as a form of vindication of disposed objects, by means of a transformation of these materials…is the uniting theme of my work.”
Employing such diverse materials as out-of-circulation currency, unspooled videotape, castoff aluminum flatware, colored light bulbs, slingshots, shredded paper, and blow-up globes, Gonzalez creates artworks large and small that transform society’s waste into a sublime vernacular and slyly question both assumptions about the value of material objects as well as official narratives of globalization, militarization, and economic exchange.
Gonzalez studied at the Institute of Art Josefina Conte in Argentina and moved to Mexico in 2003. He has had solo shows in Hospicio Cabañas Museum, Guadalajara (Mexico); Nuit Blanche, Toronto (Canada); Stanlee & Gerald Rubin Center, El Paso (USA); Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum (USA) and Vancouver Art Gallery (Canada). His work was also included in the landmark 2007 exhibition Poetics of the Handmade at MOCA LA.
Xawery Wolski, a resident of Mexico City who was born and raised in Poland, blends a minimalist aesthetic with a sense of complexity of design in the universe, presenting in archetypal and abstracted forms a refined, contemporary expression of the essential connectivity of nature. Wolski’s work celebrates the inherent design of nature, and strives to reduce his subjects to their most essential form, with a sensual, reverent, and unquenchable curiosity about the world.
Guatemalan photographer Luis Gonzalez Palma’s new series “Haiku” are digital drawings made from the combination of fragments and scraps of scanned nineteenth-century photographic negatives with geometric images made from the computer. The works are printed using the Chromaluxe process, giving each piece a brilliance of color and shape with excellent definition.
The relationship to Palma’s ongoing “Mobius” series is recognizable, but in this case his interest is to put into dialogue within a single image two forms of abstraction – geometric abstraction and expressionist abstraction.
Palma’s desire is to create poetic visual sensations from the look, gesture, technology and dialogue of two historically relevant forms of representation that interact with each other to generate new geographies and visual landscapes.
Angela Ellsworth is an interdisciplinary artist who works in sculpture, drawing, installation, and performance. Her solo and collaborative work draws on a broad range of topics: illness (particularly her personal battle with cancer in her twenties), physical fitness, endurance, religious traditions (influenced by her family’s history and especially her great, great, grandfather, Lorenzo Snow, who was the fifth prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), and social issues (such as queerness and non-heteronormative relationships in contemporary society as well as the tradition of polygamy with the early history of Mormonism.)
Addressing the secret languages pulsing beneath officially-sanctioned accounts of history and religion, Ellsworth’s mysterious, entrancing objects and performances draw lines of communication between her Mormon ancestry and the work of 19th and 20th century female mystics, delving into an unspoken realm of gestural language, psychic connection, and sensuous geometry. In 2014, she founded the Museum of Walking, which is committed to conversations about land, action and site within the context of art.
Ellsworth holds a MFA in painting and performance from Rutgers University and a BA in photography and painting from Hampshire College. Her work has been shown internationally including at The Getty Center (CA), Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney, Australia), Zacheta National Gallery of Art (Warsaw, Poland), National Review of Live Art (Glasgow, UK), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (CA), Museum of Contemporary Art (CO), Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (AZ), Phoenix Art Museum (AZ) and as part of the 17th Biennale of Sydney.
Binh Danh’s work expresses his interest in culture, history and memory. He uses anachronistic, chemically based, photographic techniques to reflect on contemporary issues of war and violence. Early work drew on portraits of victims of the Khmer Rouge during the 1970s genocide in Cambodia and iconic images of the Vietnam War. He reproduced these on leaves through a process he invented—chlorophyll printing. Fixing a negative over the living leaf, he allows the leaf’s natural photosynthesis to trace the light and shadow of the image though its production of green chlorophyll pigment in areas exposed to sunlight.
Born in Vietnam in 1977, Danh’s family fled to the United States two years later. They continued observing traditional Vietnamese customs, especially Buddhist worship of ancestors. Thus, says Danh, he grew up “meditating on death and its influence on the living.” More recently, Danh has experimented with Daguerreotypes—a 19th century photographic technique in which a light-sensitive, highly polished, silver-plated copper sheet is exposed to light and produces a single image. Using this, he has depicted charged places: the high-school-turned-prison Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phon Penh, the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia’s famous Khmer temple Angkor Wat, the city of San Francisco, and America’s National Parks. These works’ mirrored surfaces superimpose the face of the viewer onto the images, making the viewer complicit with the scene.
Danh received his MFA from Stanford University in 2004. His work is widely collected and exhibited, including at the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia.
Siri Devi Khandavilli’s work stands at the confluence of two very specific cultures. She blends the ancient metaphors and symbols of Hindu mythology and rituals with the customs and gestures of a global materialistic pop culture. She is recognized for her bronze sculptures of impeccably posed, selfie-taking female figures, and her goddess-like statues each topped with the head of a poodle. These works use the language of the Imperial Chola style that thrived in southern India from about the 10th to 12th century and depicted Hindu deities with great elegance and sensuality.
Working with a traditional village foundry, Khandavilli’s sculptures honor the legacy and techniques of Indian art but have a skeptical subtext that juxtaposes the religious with the secular, the traditional with the modern, and highlights the artist’s own hybrid Indian and American identity. The unifying thread in Khandavilli’s diverse body of work, which includes painting, performance, sculpture, video and installation, is her interest in exploring the notion of desire and her curiosity about what affects and motives individuals around a world that is increasingly obsessed with technology and consumerism.
Khandavilli received a MFA in sculpture from Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bangalore as well as a MFA and BFA in intermedia and multimedia from Arizona State University and currently resides in India. Prior to studying at art school in the United States, she was trained in the techniques of traditional Indian painting. Her extensive and broad education has shaped her into a visual artist at ease with various media and forms of artistic expression.
Mayme Kratz creates cast resin sculptures, wall pieces, and installations in which the desiccated remains of desert flora and fauna are embedded in mysterious and compelling patterns. Kratz notes that in her studio a microscope is always within reach, and her work brings scientific scrutiny the discrete, discarded units of the natural world. Yet for all their compositional precision and investigative curiosity, Kratz’s works are foremost the practice of visual poetry; lush examinations into the sensual and spiritual possibilities of desert matter, the terrestrial cycles of death and rebirth.
Photographer Michael Eastman has spent five decades documenting interiors and facades in cities as diverse as Havana, Paris, Rome, and New Orleans, producing large-scale photographs unified by their visual precision, monumentality, and painterly use of color. Eastman is most recognized for his explorations of architectural form and the textures of decay, which create mysterious narratives about time and place.
Eastman’s photographs have appeared in Time, Life, Art in America, Art News, Art Forum, Communication Arts and American Photographer, and they reside in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and other prestigious institutions. His books include Havana (2011, Prestel), Vanishing America (2008, Rizzoli) and Horses (2003, Knopf).
Ato Ribeiro works in a variety of media: sculpture, installation, drawing and printmaking. Born in Philadelphia in 1989, he spent his childhood and adolescence in Accra, Ghana. The articulation of his West African heritage and his African American identity is central to his art. This is evident in his wooden assemblages that reference both Ghanian strip-woven kente cloth and Black quilting traditions of the American South that were used as a symbolic language in the Underground Railroad, guiding slaves to freedom in the North.
Ribeiro works with discarded pieces of wood—a material that he defines as conceptually paralleling the way individuals of African heritage have been treated throughout history. He then pieces these precious scraps together into geometric patterns that are recognizable as a language and even hint at narrative but confound the viewer because their specific code and meanings are not necessarily decipherable. As the artist has explained, “My wooden kente and quilt works, mixed media installations and prints provide educational opportunities to seek out new points of reference, while preserving layers of African cultural heritage and varying ethnic perspectives.”
Ribeiro received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2017 and his BA from Morehouse College in 2012. He has been awarded a number of prestigious residencies, including the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2018), the Küenstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin through the 2017 Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Emerging Artist Award, the Santa Fe Art Institute (2017) and the Ox-Bow LeRoy Neiman Foundation Fellowship, Saugatuck (2017).
The peculiar thrill of a Rachel Bess painting is its melding of classical portraiture with 21st century characters. Wielding light and shadow like an enchantment, Bess creates likenesses that are limpid and acute, in the formal vein of the old masters. Yet her models are contemporary posed in enigmatic vignettes. The result is startling – both romantic and stylishly dark, somber and suggestive. A mysterious narrative is contained within each constellation of symbols Bess expertly devises, and it is up to the viewer to divine the plot.