- Harriet Maher
Weekend Viewing: 13-15 January
It's a new year and there is a brand new lineup of shows opening around the world . Here are some of my top picks for exhibitions to check out this weekend, both online and in person. From biennials to blockbusters and everything in between, this short list will guarantee your weekends are never boring. Enjoy!
1. ART SG, Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre (Singapore)
Image source: https://nagel-draxler.de/exhibition/art-sg-2023/
Touted as the biggest art fair to launch in Southeast Asia, Art SG opens this weekend with over 160 of the world’s leading galleries from Singapore, Southeast Asia, Asia Pacific and across the world, presenting works from over 1000 artists. Alongside the main exhibitors, which of course include all the big international galleries, the fair has defined areas to explore specific contextual themes, and to highlight emerging artists and galleries.“Focus”, for example, showcases solo or duo artist programmes or curated thematic presentations; while “Futures” is a space dedicated to supporting young galleries that have been established in the last six years. Perhaps most interestingly, “Reframe” presents art that engages with digital technology, either in its making or display, which includes digital painting, animation, immersive installations, augmented or virtual reality, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). One of the most highly anticipated and exciting art fairs of 2023, the art world's eyes will be focused on Singapore for the next few days, to watch history being made.
2. ONBD, 'DREAMS' at SuperRare Spaces (online)
Image source: https://superrare.com/spaces/onbd/gallery
The new show by Web3 art collective ONBD explores the world of dreams, the liminal space just at the edges of our consciousness. It's a world artists often inhabit and explore, from the Surrealist technique of automatic painting and writing, to Goya's infamous Sleep of Reason. For their latest space on NFT platform SuperRare, ONBD invites six emerging artists to share intimate insights into their dream worlds, all of which employ collage to create layers of imagery and meaning. The responses range from acid-toned and highly rendered dreamscapes to more gritty, animated puppet shows teaching viewers how to live their dream lives. By their very nature, dreams are personal and often inexpressible, but this diverse group of artists reveals how many of the undercurrents, the layers of collage to our dreams and our worlds, are often held in common.
3. Darryl Frost, 'Inner Peace' at Suter Gallery, Nelson (NZ)
Image source: https://thesuter.org.nz/exhibitions/darryl-frost-inner-peace
This show is part of an ongoing series at the Suter Gallery, showcasing some of the Nelson region's leading ceramic artists. Darryl Frost has been practising since the 1980's, and has built up a repertoire and practice that challenges the limits of of his own body, and the material he works with. His focus is on the rawness of the material, in response to the untouched and wild natural environment in which he lives and works. Rather than the pursuit of refinement or purity of form, Frost is constantly striving for the essence, for the pieces he produces to reflect and embody the landscape from which were were born. A fascinating insight into the process of anagama pottery and the rich artistic legacy of this region, the exhibition reveals the physical and emotional investment put into every piece that Frost creates.
4. Park Dae Sung, 'Virtuous Ink and Contemporary Brush' at LACMA, LA (USA)
Image source: https://www.instagram.com/lacma/
This intimate exhibition invites the viewer to fully experience the brushstrokes and compositions of pioneering Korean artist Park Dae Sung up close. Using painting as a space of solace and escape from the war-time trauma he experienced, Park spent time in China, walked the Silk Road, and searched for the meaning of hanja (Chinese characters), the aesthetic foundation of his calligraphy and paintings. Although there are only eight works on display, Park's signature emotive, grandiose landscapes and blending of Eastern and Western motifs shines through. His mastery of the notoriously difficult ink and wash medium evokes the mood of the land, through large swathes of colour and a unique approach to abstraction. Yet at the same time he has a meticulous attention to detail, perhaps the result of his early dedication to a daily calligraphy practice, mastering the application of ink to paper via the brush. While small, this show packs a powerful punch thanks to Park's inimitable style and accomplishment as an artist, and offers an insight into the resilience of humanity through art.
5. Stacey Gillian Abe, 'Shrub-let of Old Ayivu' at Unit London, London (UK)
Image source: https://unitlondon.com/exhibitions/stacey-gillian-abe-shrublet-of-old-ayivu/
Stacey Gillian Abe’s first solo exhibition with Unit London explores the concept of shared memory, time and emotion, examining how memories have been passed down through her family’s lineage. The Ugandan artist's work also acknowledges and highlights the ways in which traditions are assimilated and transmuted from generation to generation, often being transformed in the process. The title refers to the jute plant, a shrublet that grows in the West Nile region of Abe's native Uganda, and which forms a motif throughout the show to link the works together. Combining figurative painting with the predominantly domestic, feminine practice of embroidery, Abe conflates worlds and traditions, exploring her own subjectivity as well as that of the figures she paints. She further enriches the viewing experience by adding an audio element to the exhibition, playing the traditional African music that her mother and aunts listened to while she was growing up on a loop throughout the gallery. The result is both a personal and an intellectual interrogation of traditions, black femininity, West African history, and collective memory.
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