Filtering by Tag: Contemporary Photography

ARTPICKS | Fall 2015 Edition

My love of ART and culture is intertwined with my desire to better understand the human experience.  Art transmits intimate messages about both the artist and the collector.   In this way, the art and artifacts we surround ourselves with become the secret language of our homes.  By sharing my ArtPicks with you, I am revealing all sorts of details about myself.   This is the main thing to remember when collecting art; it is about expressing your unique soul, not aligning with the hive mind.  

This summer I scouted the globe to find fresh ART- ART that has something interesting to say about the world we live in.  I hope you enjoy my picks.


FIONA MACKAY  "Untitled" 2015

FIONA MACKAY  "Untitled" 2015

Fiona’s recent paintings, made with batik dye and wax on a very thin canvas, capture the yin/yang of creation. The works pulsate with life pulling the viewer into their energetic vortex.  The elegant works have the FEEL of textiles, a feminine realm, while paying homage to abstract painting – traditionally male territory.  Fiona impressively mastered the unpredictable technique of batik wax to create large-scale works that embody the balance between control and letting go. I appreciate Fiona’s commitment to both simplicity and craft. Fiona was born in Aberdeen, UK and studied at Glasgow School of Art Lives.  She currently lives in Brussels and is represented by Klemms in Berlin. 




Osamu’s mesmerizing series “Assembly” is rooted in Japanese philosophy and human theatre.  Is it the individual or group that should be visible?  By dressing schoolgirls in uniforms and setting them against the vastness of nature, Osamu dissolves individual identity. The girls become anonymous, yet the collective strengthen and the world becomes a more beautiful place.  The images capture moods of adventure, curiosity, lightheartedness and a touch of melancholia reflecting the fluctuating tones of the human experience.  Based in Tokyo, Osamu is a widely known for his commercial work while his fine art photography explores his more cerebral musings.  Learn more about his visual storytelling here. 




The warmth and electricity of copper has always held my attention.   Recently, I learned that copper is one of the 7 Noble Metals used by the Ancients and ruled by the planet Venus, as am I.  I also love books, so you can understand my magnetic attraction to Hilal Sami Hilal's works.   His delicate copper sculptures with their page like surfaces visually “read” like books, but fail to fully communicate. Letters float never becoming words, and sentences are nowhere to be seen.  Hilal’s childhood was shaped by the death of his father who’s absence left gaps and holes in his psyche. In these fragile works Hilal recalls the tenuousness of language to communicate our deepest sorrows.  Brazilian based Hilal’s works can be found in the USA at RH Contemporary.


MARIA BERRIO " The Kiss of the Butterfly" 2014

MARIA BERRIO " The Kiss of the Butterfly" 2014

Scouting the globe for extraordinary art brings many delights and a few moments of pure transcendence.  I knew at first glance that I had encountered a highly refined soul when I stumbled on Maria’s dreamy works.  Her intricate collages made with torn bits of Japanese papers, paints, sequins and other daily materials evoke dreams, myths, and fairy tales.  A mediation between the visible and invisible, Maria’s works feel like a love letter to the magical realism character of her motherland, Colombia.  I especially love the interplay between historical, supernatural and romantic elements in her heavily patterned works.  Her lush compositions populated with sacred female figures, animals and flowers, offer a dazzling respite from hard-edged realism.  Now based in Brooklyn, Maria is represented by PRAXIS. 


MICHELE DURAZZI "Was Ist Metaphysik" 2014

MICHELE DURAZZI "Was Ist Metaphysik" 2014

Michele offers a stripped down version of dream-like creation with his “surreal minimalist” series entitled Was ist Metaphysik? The Italian designer and architecture professor creates his pristine images with 3d modeling, animation and renderings.  Large white spaces and blue waters quiet the mind in his futurist cityscapes.  Michele conceived these works to exist at the junction of fiction and fantasy.  While devoid of the messiness of human existence, the abstract surrealist images hint at the beauty of reducing everything to its metaphysical core – energy.  I appreciate the meditative quality of the works and would not mind waking up to them.   Learn more about Michele’s work here.

The works featured herefall in the $5,000 - $25,000 price range and are certainly conversation starters.   Nothing elevates a room like a bold piece of original art in my view.  Reveal yourself with ART.  In the meantime, drop me a line and let me know which artist was your favorite and why.   



I spy a TREND in Photography, and I like it.

Is there a greater of-the-moment art form than photography?   What happens when everyone is suddenly a photographer? For every action there is an reaction.  

I see, with my eye, a TREND in the world of contemporary photography, and I like it.  Artists are having a ball doing what they do best, offering us a mirror with a dash of insight.  The photographers I am currently recommending are all creating highly stylized, multi-layered stories, instead of merely documenting the quotidian.   These photographers are creating imaginative worlds or presenting the ordinary in an extraordinary way.

Photography is accessible in part because it explores a specific theme through a series.  I learn much about an artist by how they develop and execute a series.  How original is the idea?  How engaging is the narrative? I advise my clients to see as many works as possible from the series they are interested in, and then narrow down the selection to three, and finally pick the strongest one.

Here are the photographic series that are catching my EYE:

Brasilian photographer LUCIA KOCH has managed to transform cardboard boxes and paper bags into mind-expanding architectural landscapes.  Through her interventions and installations, Lucia’s photographs re-imagine space and our relationship to it.  I love how by simply creating skylights or windows in everyday objects, like a cardboard box, Lucia beautifully connects outside with inside.  I first saw Lucia’s work covering a full gallery wall, and felt the urge to walk right through it, and take a seat in the inviting box.  The Christopher Grimes Gallery in Santa Monica, CA, just debuted Lucia in the US with a show aptly named, “a small show with a lot of space in it.”  

The age-old desirous object that is the APPLE gets the 21st century treatment in JESSICA RATH’s “take me to the apple breeder” series.   Despite a heady intellectual background, which examines genetics, breeding practices, food diversity and the human desire to manipulate the natural world, Jessica’s series is - first and foremost - elegant art.  Working with a fashion photographer, Jessica documented her research subject with 11 oversized photographs, offered in limited editions. The cloned and hybrid apple trees are set against a backdrop of taut white cloths, creating ethereal photographs that are part-portraiture, part landscape photography.  You can learn more about the science behind Jessica’s work here or celebrate the series with a healthy crunch. 

 Moroccan born, Paris based, multi-media artist MOUNIR FATMI is best known for blending geo-politics, pop culture, religion, and history in unexpected ways.   His works are often political critiques presented as visual puns.   While Mounir is clearly a deep thinker, I also appreciate his playful appropriation of cultural icons.   Mounir explores the geometry of LOVE with his “Kissing Circles” series, which juxtaposes two Hollywood classics - Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times and Casablanca (set in his native Morocco).  Zooming in on the final kiss between Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart, Mounir overlays the iconic image with circles evoking the mechanization of the industrial age and the predictability of Hollywood romance.  

Speaking of romance, Madrid based artist MARTHA SOUL wrote the book on impeccable love with her glossy “Idilios”.  The highly stylized, Ad-like series features a mysterious redheaded woman who is lucky enough to be the star of several idealized romantic encounters. (See the entire series here.)  The beautifully choreographed photographs set in a luxury hotel, golf course, lush garden, jewelry store, and chic apartment look perfect - at first glance.   But, behind the shiny veneer, there is no human emotion.  We never see the face of the mystery redhead or her well groomed, rotating gentlemen callers.  Martha holds up a mirror to our consumerism and obsession with physical perfection while entertaining us.  Still, as a romantic idealist, I fell hard for them….

Collecting photography offers collectors, established or new, a way to experiment or get your feet wet with a purchase.  Prices are generally more affordable than other mediums and subject matter is wide-ranging and accessible.  Follow your natural interest - fashion, nature,  war, skyscrapers, or architecture – to find photographers who are exploring what you are curious about.

I have a preference for art that has quite a bit of “wall power”, so I am drawn to large format photography to create a counterpoint to a traditional setting.  A photograph that tells a big story needs an expansive wall to give it room to breathe.  Don’t be afraid to select a real conversation starter.  Neutrality rarely moves people.

Let me know which photographer grabs your eye, or share a tip on a new photographer. 



P.S.   Adriana Duque, the Colombian photographer I featured here in my Top Art Miami 2012 Picks, is a great example of this trend with her highly theatrical, slightly sinister photographs. 

@ 2019 Maryna Hrushetska | All rights reserved 


Background Image: AMANDA CURRER