The 2013 Los Angeles Art Show
I scaled back this year. I opted to attend only one big January art fair, the LA Art Show (under new management). I decided to skip Art LA Contemporary, held in Santa Monica the same weekend. The third big contender from last year, the Affordable Art Fair, skipped Los Angeles this year after last year’s splashy debut. Which just shows how fluid the art market really is. I wonder if it will come back, or if they’ve given up on Los Angeles altogether.
So, this year’s LA Art Show, held as usual in the downtown convention center, backed off its grandiose “3-in-1” claims from last year and was truly just one big show. There were internal groupings, much as in previous years, but it all flowed together.
As usual, I started in the traditional-art (i.e., dead artists) side of the hall and worked my way to the contemporary side. I snapped fewer shots this year. I’ll show you just a few select favorites.
On the traditional side, not much really grabbed me this year. It looked a lot like previous years. But I did find a few rare Pointillist paintings, a style close to my heart since I too paint with dots. Two Pointillist pieces I particularly liked were by Jac Martin-Ferrieres, shown by Kendall Fine Art from Atlanta, Georgia. Interesting to note that these pieces date from the 1920s, well after Pointillism’s original heyday in the late nineteenth century.
Jac Martin-Ferrieres, “Paris, la Seine, Notre Dame,” ca 1920, oil on canvas, 18×21.5 inches, price not shown (Kendall Fine Art).
Jac Martin-Ferrieres, “La baie de St Tropez,” 1921, oil on canvas, 14×17 inches, price not shown (Kendall Fine Art). This piece shows an appealing merger of the older Pointillism style with a modern 1920s-era aesthetic. I find it fascinating.
As a transition between traditional and contemporary, this large piece struck me as very Matisse-like, and quite appealing:
Damian Elwes, “Marrakesh,” 2001, acrylic on canvas, 48×72 inches, shown by Denenberg Fine Arts of West Hollywood, California. It can be yours for some $300,000 or $400,000. (Sorry, I don’t recall the exact figure posted.)
This brings us fully into the contemporary section. There was lots of Damien Hirst on this side, but I managed to mostly ignore it.
In a mood for simple shapes and large compositions, I found a few pieces I really enjoyed in the contemporary section. I liked the large-scale paintings exhibited by Winterowd Gallery of Santa Fe, NM. Even though the works are all by different artists, I thought they looked good together:
Below left, two pieces by Cecil Touchon caught my eye, “PDP 588” and “PDP 575,” collage on canvas, 66×44 inches each, $18,500 each, shown by Timothy Yarger Fine Art of Beverly Hills:
In a similar vein, here is Caio Fonseca, “Pietrasanta C11.55,” 2011, mixed media on canvas, 34×34 inches, $42,000, offered by Abby M. Taylor Fine Art of Greenwich, CT and New York:
Going even more monochromatic, this painting all in black uses only texture to masterfully create an image of waves:
Karen Gunderson, “Hudson Moment,” 2008, oil on linen, 40×40 inches, $20,000, offered by Waterhouse & Dodd of New York and London.
At the extreme far end of the show were clustered the galleries from Asia: primarily South Korea and China. The work shown here can be pretty varied, but I found a few pieces to like.
This Chinese artist assembles highly photorealistic images of children out of large patches of flat color in a large-scale pixelation or Pointillist approach. Naturally, it appealed to my Pointillist heart. Here’s a closeup:
Li Yueling, “The Future Ahead of Me,” oil on canvas, 120×150 cm, $15,800, offered by Nancy’s Gallery from Shanghai, China. The artist is a fellow from Beijing, according to the gallery representative I spoke with.
One of the biggest showcases of Chinese art was to be “China Fusion,” a large pavilion meant to show the work of several Chinese artists working in an east-meets-west aesthetic. However, when I was there (the first day of the 4-day show) there was little art to be seen in the pavilion, and most of it was on the floor. Clearly something had gone horribly wrong. Instead of “China Fusion” I called it “China Confusion.”
Late in the day I saw people scurrying back and forth, carrying paintings into the pavilion, and one fellow hurriedly hanging the works:
Someone there told me the shipment had gotten hung up in US Customs. “Maybe ship earlier next time,” I suggested brightly. I’m sure they greatly appreciated my sage advice.
One artist’s work, miraculously already hung and even labeled, caught my eye. Another nod to Pointillism:
Bai Hongwei, “Flower and Bird No. 2,” 2012, oil on canvas, 50×60 cm, $7000, shown in the China Fusion pavilion. I liked the subtle colors and the way the bird was picked out in an orderly grid against the looser background. A nice melding of East and West.