12.15.2009

Fair and Fair Alike: Miami 2009. Aqua Art

Fair and Fair Alike coverage so far:
. Pulse
. The Big One, Art Basel Miami Beach
. A
n Overview Before the Individual Fairs
. Art Bloggers at Art Miami
. Are We Out of the Woods?
. A Little Gossip
. Art? Or Not Art?
. Nosing Around
..

Arriving at Aqua
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From Pulse I made my way up North Miami Avenue to Aqua Art. Aqua made a splash five years ago with a small hotel fair on Collins Avenue near the mothership. The fair was conceived as an opportunity for galleries from the Northwest, and their artists, to get a toehold in Miami. Everyone responded to the intimacy, the openness—the rooms were small but they all flowed onto a balcony or courtyard—the interesting work and the great vibe. It was the little fair that could and did.
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Two years ago, fair organizers Jaq Chartier and Dirk Park, artists themselves, opened a second location in Wynwood. I thought it was too much--two fairs?!--but what did I know? Turns out it was the perfect move. When the owner of the Aqua hotel tried to create his own fair in the hotel location this year, Aqua Art was comfortably ensconced in this second location pretty much in the middle of things. The fair has broadened geographically, but you'll still find a number of galleries from Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
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Above, the entrance to the fair
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Below, the wide-open entry (doorway is to the right), with a view to the Bridgette Mayer booth and the sculpture of Steve Tobin
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With 43 good exhibitors and a shady courtyard for visitors, Aqua Art offered the perfect mix of art and relaxation. As with my Pulse coverage, I’m going to show you some general views followed by peeks into specific booths and individual artworks. One thing that stood out was the number of small works, not surprising given the economy. What I liked was the way they were curatorially composed: installations that allowed for the big picture as well as up-close viewing. I’ve tried to show you some of that here.
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Adventurous fairgoers could take advantage of the proximity of Zones and Fountain, two nearby fairs with work by emerging artists. I popped my head in but have nothing to report.
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These are the highlights of my visit to Aqua:
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Steve Tobin sculpture, Steel Root, and a small painting by Kenneth Noland; at Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia
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Seth Koen sculpture and Barbara Takanaga painting
Below, Barbara Takenaga painting; both at Gregory Lind Gallery, San Francisco
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Elemental: Anne Appleby relief prints on handmade kozo paper; at Wildwood Press, St. Louis
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Atmospheric: Julian Jackson paintings at Kathryn Markel Gallery, New York
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Small works at Kathryn Markel. Clockwise from bottom left: Diane Ayott, Melinda Hackett, Ayott, Jason Rolfe. Landscape artist unknown to me
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Below, closer view of Melinda Hacket paintings

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Love this installation--like a cabinet of curiosities.
The most curious? The "toast" sculptures made of painted, cast beeswax by Tibi Tibi Neuspiel; at Narwhal Art Projects, Toronto (Thanks, Brandy)
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Below, Neuspiel's Darwin. Talk about wonder bread
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Natasha Duwin, Andar a Lavar los Platos (Going to Wash the Dishes), made and assembled objects; at Artformz, Miami
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David Peterson sculptural geometries in mixed media; at Krause Gallery, Atlanta
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A trove of interesting work at George Lawson Gallery, aka Room for Painting Room for Paper, San Francisco: two intensely pigmented paintings by Alan Ebnother to the left of the chevron gouaches by Stephen Westfall. Visible in the corner . . .
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. . . and clearly below, paintings by my friend (and lapsed Two Artists Talking blog buddy) Chris Ashley
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One of the (many) things that makes exhibiting at an art fair different from at a gallery is that the work is in rotation, sometimes throughout the day, or more likely from day to day. Small works may sell right off the wall. If that's the case, the dealer hase new work at the ready. Other times, sale or not, work is alternated to keep the booth fresh
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Below, I'm delighted we have the opportunity to see Chris's work work on display. From left: Judith Belzer (six panels), Michael David, Chris' Ashley (two paintings), Marie Thibeault
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More from George Lawson Gallery (I told you it was a trove): Masaru Korose, transparent abstractions in oil on vinyl
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Jaq Chartier is not only a founder of Aqua, she's an accomplished painter
Above and below, you see an installation of her paintings, in acrylic and stain on panel, at William Baczek Fine Arts, Northampton, Mass.
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Seeing the work below reminds me of a little story. With tax time looming, a few weeks ago I went into Staples to purchase some ledger paper. "Uh, what's that?" asked the 19-year-old on duty.
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"My son, in the days before Quicken, the ancients kept track of their finances by writing in ink on green lined paper," I replied. I could see his iPod/Twittered/Facebooked brain click on as his face brightened: "Oh. That's what 'ledger' means. I wondered what that green paper was for. Follow me. "
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Below, Jill Sylvia has put ledger paper to another use entirely. I. Love. This. Work.
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Jill Sylvia, hand-cut ledger paper; at Eleanor Harwood Gallery, San Francisco
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Detail below
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Above, two by Jane Hambleton: diver, foreground, and swimmer, rear, both in graphite on paper; at Michael Rosenthal Gallery, San Francisco
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Also in graphite: Paul Wackers, End of the Rainbow; at Eleanor Harwood Gallery
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Above and below: Geometries in thread on canvas by Megan Whitmarsh; at Michael Rosenthal, San Francisco
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David DiMichele, lightjet print; at Randall Scott Gallery, Brooklyn. (Small painting to left by Robert Kingston)
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I like the geometry of DiMichele's work. But I hope he won't mind if I make a suggestion: Show it to the directors of the impossible-to-navigate Art Basel Miami Beach. It would be a perfect logo for the fair.
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Next up: Scope

7 comments:

Nancy Natale said...

Thanks, Joanne. Very interesting selection of work. The toast is great, so like the potato chip with the madonna. And the ledger paper looks so beautiful. Who woulda thought? (I do remember it - along with the green eyeshade.)

Rico said...

Also in that Randall Scott shot is a small work by California painter Robert Kingston.

Joanne Mattera said...

Thanks for the kind words, Nancy.
And, Rico, thanks for the info; it's now posted.

wil said...

I like the paintings of masura k, very interesting...

Dahlia said...

Joanne, Thanks so much for this comprehensive tour of the fairs. It's a treat to see a distillation of the best of the lot. Now it's time to treat yourself to a shiatsu foot massage!

Textile Art Showcase said...

These are all great but I especially think the Julian Jackson pieces really have the WOW factor!!!

zackofalltrades said...

that noland actually sold for just under half a mil - seemed like the wrong fair for it, but what do I know?