MIAMI BEACH — One of the most exciting aspects of the art market is the discovery of new talent. In the early 1950s Ivan Karp and Leo Castelli marched down to derelict Fulton Street to meet up with the young Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Not much later, historic figures like Holly Solomon and Paula Cooper climbed flight after flight of stairs navigating the cold-water flats of downtown to make their discoveries.
Today, the art fairs have become a nexus for “discovery.” Collectors, and moreover their art consultants, have come to rely almost solely on them. With hundreds upon hundreds of galleries and dealers descending upon the United States’s largest art fair last week, it can seem daunting to find that diamond of an artist in the rough that is Miami. Booth after booth and fairs upon fairs, how can anyone make scene of it all?
Discovering talent is a talent itself. As often is the case, experience and perseverance are key. Having followed the careers of hundreds of artists, it was excited to see a few making their Miami debut. Many of the artists I have selected here I have been following for a number of years, and it’s great to see them break out in Miami.
Rachel Beach at Blackston Gallery, Untitled Art Fair
Not even Hurricane Sandy could stop the trajectory of this rising star (she lost everything in the hurricane … everything!). Playing with form and volume, concrete and negative space, lightness and mass, her work comprises free-standing, painted wooden sculpture. A rigorous engineering goes into each of her sculptural forms, which are rubbed with oil and pigment to both enhance and defy their balanced geometry.
Samantha Bittman at Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Untitled Art Fair
Chicago-based painter, Samantha Bittman obscures or interrupts parts of a woven patterns using painted grids, squares, and lines. A trained weaver, Bittman uses rigorous visual systems of lines and labyrinths that keep ones perception in constant flux. Like all good painting, her works literally weave layers of cognition/experience, image/structure. I enjoy her combination of tediously executed patterns and her seemingly spontaneous use of a loaded brush of color.
Matthew Deleget at Alejandra von Hartz Gallery, Untitled Art Fair
With his inclusion in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, you can bet Matthew Deleget’s stock is about to spike. A heady curator as well as an accomplished artist, Deleget is the founder of Minus Space. The gallery is the signature platform for reductive art, and Deleget has organized countless solo and group exhibitions. He has collaborated with venues both nationally and internationally. In his own art, Deleget is unromantic about his process remixing theoretical concepts presented by Suprematism, Constructivism, plastic, concrete, Minimal, monochrome, Pattern, Op, neo-geo, radical, and others reductive strategies to create his own extreme case of simplification of form and color.
Lydia Gifford at Galerie Micky Schubert, Art Basel Fair
Tied together by chance and circumstance, the work of Lydia Gifford exists as an improvisation between painting and sculpture. One can’t help but be astonished by her nuanced use of simple materials. I first stumbled upon Gifford’s work at Liste Art Fair in Basel this past summer. It’s good do see such consistency in her structural variations. It is her simple sophistication that makes her a stand out from the loudness and gaudiness that dominates much of the art world.
Sadie Laska at Kerry Schuss Gallery, NADA Art Fair
Laska has been on an amazing ride since her first one-person show opened at KS Art on the Lower East Side in October of this year. Her paintings at NADA were a hit with collectors and apparently there is now quite a waiting list. Fetishistic, scrappy, and brimming with chaotic intensity, her textured paintings long to live outside the picture plane. Recycled bits of paint, staples, umbrella parts, earphone, cardboard, and scraps are the make up of these emotionally charged works. Oh and she also belongs to a experimental rock band.
Tristan Perich at Bitforms Gallery, Untitled Art Fair
Perich’s “Microtonal Wall,” consisting of 1,500 1-bit speakers, was the hit of Barbara London’s landmark Soundings sound art exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Trained in mathematics and piano, Perich is best known for his constructions that explore the physicality of sound and the polyphonic potential of 1-bit audio. His virtuosity is made up of one or zeros! Working visually, Perich’s drawings include programmed hand-built mechanical drawing systems that explore recursive line. Created with a pen suspended from two motors, the mark making is controlled by code running on a circuit. The results are densely packed lines and random marks that mimic the electric pulses and pitches of Perich’s soundscapes.
Kirk Stoller at Romer Young Gallery, Untitled Art Fair
Careful juxtaposition of scavenged materials is the hallmark of Kirk Stoller’s work, which I first came in contact with during his Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Studio Residency in New York in 2009. His sculptures consist of three, sometimes four, simple elements. Although Stoller has fine-tuned his craft to neither access nor recite the laws of minimalism. Instead he seems to approach his sculptural compositions more as if he were pulling a line of paint or making a mark with pencil as his sculptures seem to live and breathe between three and two-dimensional worlds.
Lauren deCioccio at Jack Fischer Gallery, Miami Project Fair
The new sculptures of Lauren deCioccio are like objects the great Hans Arp would have made if he could sew. Known for stitching and embroidering replicas of objects approaching obsolescence — including newspapers, notepads, plastic bags, and 35 mm sildes — her new work, obsessively crafted, provokes a pang of nostalgia for the familiar physicality of forms of objects of everyday life.
Peter Dreher at Wagner + Partner Gallery, Pulse Art Fair
For many years painter Peter Dreher has been based in the Black Forest in Germany. Since 1974, he has painted the same glass. Though the identical image format, position of the subject matter, and size, remains constant in his work, it is clear that Dreher does not mean to focus on the subject of the glass. Rather he is concerned with capturing the minute differences offered by the reflection in it — the changing light of the day or a window blowing open in the studio. They resist fast consumption and may possibly be the greatest under recognized time-based works of art today.