Frieze | May 2–6, 2018 | New York | Booth E12
Alexander Gray Associates presented an exhibition of paintings and works on paper by seven international women artists, featuring recent and historical pieces by Polly Apfelbaum, Heidi Bucher, Harmony Hammond, Lorraine O’Grady, Betty Parsons, Joan Semmel, and Valeska Soares.
Polly Apfelbaum’s artistic practice is distinguished by a hybridized aesthetic that fuses traditions of painting, craft, and installation. In her recent gouaches entitled The Potential of Women (2017), she draws inspiration from the 2017 Women’s March, creating compositions that appropriate Rudolph de Harek’s cover design for the 1963 book The Potential of Woman to forward a message of female empowerment.
Heidi Bucher’s works rearticulate the connection between materiality, space, and the body. Her process of casting not only architectural details like floors, doors, and cupboards, but also entire rooms in gauze sheets soaked in latex rubber, resulted in the creation of sculptures that are at once spectral and corporeal. As in Untitled (floor fragment from the Ahnenhaus) (1980—1982), she often made casts from her family’s home. Invoking narratives of memory, trauma, decay, and transformation, these works emerge as charged examinations into the nature of home.
A pioneer of feminist and queer discourse, Harmony Hammond’s recent paintings’ focus on materiality and the indexical derives from and remains in conversation with her feminist work of the 1970s. In Naples Grid (2015), she grommets a field of holes into the canvas. These holes physically open up the painting surface, alluding to layers, spaces, and histories buried below, as well as to body orifices. For Hammond, “It’s about what’s hidden, muffled, covered up or over, pushing up from underneath, asserting itself, suggesting agency and voice.”
Lorraine O’Grady’s practice spans a variety of mediums and explores the cultural construction of identity. Untitled (Mlle Bourgeoise Noire Shouts Out Her Poem) (1980-83/2009) is an image from O’Grady performance as Mlle Bourgeoise Noire. Created as a critique of the racial segregation still prevailing in the mainstream art world in the 1980s, as Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, O’Grady stormed art galleries and museums in a dress made of debutante gloves, shouting poetry and whipping herself with cat-o-nine tails, giving artists and institutions “a piece of her mind.”
Betty Parsons was an abstract painter and sculptor who is best known as a dealer of mid-century art. Throughout her storied career as a gallerist, she maintained a rigorous artistic practice, painting during weekends in her Long Island studio. In June #9 (1971), Parsons presents a dynamic composition of blue and gray forms against a vibrant red ground that evokes the warmth and brilliant light of summer.
Since the 1970s, Joan Semmel has centered her practice around issues of the body. Horizons (1981) presents two versions of the same figures to viewers, one painted realistically and one rendered in an expressionistic style. As Semmel expands, “[these figures] are almost like internal and external views of the self that combine a perceptual image with the ambition and striving of the emotive ego.” Recent works like Red Line (2018), further develop the artistic trajectory of Horizons. Marrying realism with expressionism, they celebrate color and flesh while highlighting the aging process through an accurate portrayal of Semmel’s own body.
Utilizing tools of minimalism and conceptualism, Valeska Soares’ practice embraces emotion and humanity, mining territories of love, loss, and memory. In Sugar Blues (I) (2017), part of an ongoing series, Soares stacks empty candy boxes, evoking both modular neo-constructivist Brazilian sculpture and feelings of longing associated with past indulgences. Every box recalls the sensory experience of unwrapping, tasting, and smelling the treats they once contained. Each piece in the Sugar Blues series can only be made when more candy has been eaten, thus making the work a sort of intimate diary that tracks both the passage of time and consumption.
Deutsche Bank Wealth Management VIP Lounge
Valeska Soares will debut her immersive installation Meanwhile (2018), along with a curated selection of her work from the Doubleface, Bindings, and Sugar Blues series at the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management VIP Lounge at Frieze Art Fair, New York.
For this specially conceived installation, Soares places the viewer inside the work, connecting us physically through the floor and walls. The intense blue is the color of infinity, associated with timelessness, the cosmos and the spiritual. Spirals of text reveal the artist’s acute interest in the many ways that our subjective perception of time and the power of language repeat and regenerate. For the artist, “it is like a constellation… or a cocoon.”
The title, Meanwhile, suggests the durational significance of time. Soares draws upon poetry, literature, film, psychology, and mythology for her ideas. Also on view are works made over the last decade that further articulate Soares’ refined visual language and sustained engagement with narratives about change, process and transformation.
About Frieze New York
Frieze New York is one of the world's leading contemporary art fairs. Like Frieze London, Frieze New York is housed in a bespoke temporary structure, suffused with natural light. The Fair is located in Randall’s Island Park, NY.