Filtering by Tag: contemporary art

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.   



ARTPICKS | Color Abstraction

It is summer time and the sun is keeping things spicy, so let’s talk bold and expressive art – COLOR ABSTRACTION. 

While I am a fan of abstraction, I am not afraid to admit that abstract works often leave me cold. Because abstraction is rooted in feeling, not narrative, it can be challenging finding a way into the work.  The visual language of color, line and form can communicate powerfully with our subconscious, if the artist understands hers.  Here are five artists who create abstract art in a way that feels FRESH, sophisticated and joyful.


Australian based Cherine Fahd brilliantly re-imagines traditional color abstractions in her series, “Camouflage.”  While visually referencing the hard-edged Color Field paintings of Ellsworth Kelly, Cherine rebelliously turns the concept on its head.  Men whose works were largely devoid of any human form dominated the period.  Cherine puts herself in the center of this series by offering up bits of her hair, limbs and nipples while camouflaging herself behind colored paper.   These innovate self-portraits are in many ways the antithesis of Color Field paintings – which communicated emotion through their large scale and brush strokes.  Cherine’s self-portraits are small, intimate photographs that draw you in for a closer look. 


LA based Kim Fisher offers an innovative take on abstraction with a technique wrapped in collage.   In her “Magazine Paintings”, Kim starts from a linen canvas dyed black, then applies oil paint with an airbrush and incorporates cut pieces of aluminum or brass.   With visual elements drawn from multiple sources, such as magazines and newspapers, and scraps suggesting the effects of age – Kim’s paintings create wholeness out of a fragmented existence.  I especially like Kim’s series, created for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History,  inspired by the museum’s collection of exotic shells.  Kim’s exploration of gemology, fashion, abstraction and lunar cycles creates a body of work that is equally raw and elegant. 


As the former director of LA’s Craft and Folk Art Museum, I know Clare’s folk-art inspired works that explore traditional gender roles well.   A founding member of the San Francisco based Mission School, which helped catapult the bohemian aspects of street culture into today’s street art phenomenon Clare is a pioneer.  Her recent move from figurative paintings into pure geometric abstraction retains the feel of the handmade to my eye.  Clare’s abstractions contain her visual signature of motifs found in folk based textiles.  While the human body has disappeared, the artist’s hand is evident in the brushstrokes and an intuitive connection to the viewer. Interesting factoid about Clare is that she also sings and plays the banjo under the stage name Peggy Honeywell.

Mary Weatherford

California born and raised, Mary Weatherford’s abstract paintings have long captured the expansive feel of the state’s dramatic light and moody landscapes.    Her recent large scale, 8- 10 feet, linen canvases created with a paint called flashe, and featuring a loose rhythm of earthy and bold colors, add an unexpected jolt with an angled bar of neon light literally electrifying the paintings.  While expressive, Mary’s abstract paintings don’t over communicate, leaving plenty of mystery in the dark spaces.  The abstract landscapes suggest both external and internal terrains to be explored.


Unlike many of her contemporaries Joanne Greenbaum has no desire to unify visual elements, or resolve existential dilemmas.  Her exhilarating paintings are more wild roller coaster ride than Zen color meditation.  Joanne’s “beautiful monsters,” as one critic described them, speak multiple visual languages and embody diverse systems of thought.  She is a hands-on painter with a playful approach to material and technique.  There is no fussing or finessing in her work.  Joanne maps the chaos of life, emotionally and physically, without struggling to resolve it.   Her graphic, sculptural paintings feel liberating.  The drips, slips and overlaps of color, line and create a fantastical space to escape into. 

Abstract art, like jazz, blends improvisation with structure to create beauty or confusion.  Follow your instincts and the abstract becomes clear. Wishing you an expressive colorful season, whether you are north or south of the Equator. 





I am kicking off the New Year by reviewing new artists I encountered in the past 12 months and pulling out my Gold Stars.   So here, dear readers, are SIX ARTISTS who felt like a breath of fresh air in 2013.  To show you that art collecting is an affordable luxury, I am focusing my picks in the $1,000 to $10,000 price range.  My own mantra for creating a fabulous home is:  1.) maximize the connection to nature  2.) stick to elegant, comfortable furnishings, and 3.)  splurge on ART. 

Am I biased?  ABSOLUTELY.  

But, which can better capture your unique personality, a couch or an original piece of art? 

 – The Innovators



I discovered the stunning work of Kylli Sparre after she won the International Fine Art Photography Competition and it was love at first sight.  Kylli studied ballet for years in her native Estonia before realizing she wanted to create theatrical scenes instead of star in them.  Her work noticeably contains the elegance of ballet.  I am drawn to the way Kylli’s portrays both romance and danger in her dramatic narratives. Her experimental photography contains so much action they feel a bit like short films.  With titles like “Dancing With the Fairies,” she cleverly seals the storyline. Most of Kylli’s C-prints are available from this gallery in Amsterdam, in small editions, for roughly $1,000.  I consider these works to be a steal and expect prices to increase as more art lovers discover this prima ballerina.



Erick Madigan Heck has been hot stuff in the fashion world for a while, but I stumbled on his vibrant photographs only recently.   While the high gloss of his fashion aesthetic first caught my eye, my mind wasn’t quite sure what I was looking at.  Erick’s fusion of fashion, painting and classical portraiture results in a bold artistic vision with loads of charisma.  As someone who resists labels, I appreciate artists who skillfully blur lines and push boundaries.  Erik keeps his methods to himself (who can blame him, copycats are a menace), but I imagine the post-production process is elaborate.  Given that Erick is the winner of several prestigious awards and the youngest photographer to shoot the legendary Neiman Marcus "Art of Fashion" campaign, I’d say his vision is strongly resonating.  Erick’s fine art prints, full of wall power, are available in very small editions from his studio here.

 - The Intuitives



While I am a fan of abstraction, I am not afraid to admit that abstract artworks too often leave me cold.   Because abstraction is rooted in feeling more than narrative, it can be challenging finding a way into the work.  The visual language of color, line and form speak to me through my emotions, not my fantastically active mind.  Amy Feldman’s large-scale canvases, some 8-feet high, simply FEEL good to me.  They feel sculptural, and playful, and feminine.   I like their rhythm, their authority, and their lightness.    In a rather serious art world, Amy’s looseness feels like a taunt, or maybe just an invitation to let your hair down.  Whatever the reason, art fair crowds and collectors are digging her vibe and Amy’s impressive resume keeps accumulating Gold Stars.   Brooklyn based Amy is represented in NYC by the Blackston Gallery.



Sometimes all I need is a blast of bold color to make me feel joy, add in layers of texture and I am doing cartwheels (in my mind.) Jason Rohlf delivers with his graphic and beautifully textured collages, some made with shop rags.    Using both drawing and collage techniques, Jason explores surface and color by making and remaking each piece until the story is complete.  His process is part mechanical, part intuitive and I like the resulting juxtaposition of the planned vs. the chaotic.   Many of his works are on the small size yet radiate a blast of life force.  His “Shoprags” series is a crowd favorite, and I am particularly drawn to his works that feature my favorite shape – the circle.  Is there a culture on earth that doesn’t worship the circle?  No beginning, no end, just an organic flow.   Brooklyn based Jason is represented by the Troy Folliard Gallery in his native Milwaukee.

– The Naturalists



Creating an art filled home is not unlike composing a musical score - beware of one-note melodies or too much staccato.  Visually intense works crave the balance of softer ones, and complex narratives need simples ones to heighten the drama.   Art can excite or calm the senses and every collector composes according to their rhythm.   Bryan Nash Gill’s wood block prints anchor me into my true nature.  Celebrated worldwide for his beautiful and raw installations and sculptures, Bryan’s prints gracefully bring the outdoors inside.  Inspired by a local tree mill, Bryan pays homage to sacrificed trees by documenting each detail of their wood grain onto paper through relief printing and a laborious rubbing technique.  For me, the boldness of the works comes from their simplicity and honesty.  Sadly, Bryan unexpected passed away last spring and I am thankful to him for sharing his talents so generously.   A limited selection of prints are available at the divine Ashes and Milk and this gorgeous coffee table book documents Bryan vision. 



Those who know me, or my work, recognize that I am equal parts earth and sky.  Sometimes I need terra firma to ground me sometimes I need big skies to let me fly.   The delicate, ephemeral works of Mari Andrews are both airy and intelligent.  They speak to a natural order of things and the power of the unseen.   Mari calls her works “paperless drawings,” which feels right to me.  An obsessive collector of objects, from nature and the man-made, Mari’s drawings bring attention to things that usually go unnoticed.   For me, the brilliance of her work is how disparate elements collaborate with each other to create organic beauty.  Her work seems to mirror both human frailty and the intelligence of collaboration.  You can discover more of Mari’s world in her studio.

I hope you enjoyed my Gold Stars and discover ART that compels you to splurge in 2014.  As Picasso said -  Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

I look forward to traveling the globe to discover new artists in the year ahead.  


@ 2019 Maryna Hrushetska | All rights reserved 


Background Image: AMANDA CURRER