As part of Armory Arts Week coverage, Team Tattoodo headed over to Pier 90 on the West Side to party with the folks at Volta NY, who are celebrating 10 years of solo focus from March 1-5. After an overwhelming evening at SPRING/BREAK the night before, we were inspired by just about everything we saw at Volta.
Unlike some of the other art fairs this week, Volta invited only 96 galleries and artist-run spaces to participate in their 10th anniversary show. This rigorous curation meant only the most exciting and simply the best up-and-coming artists were showing at the fair, which meant just about every booth contained something utterly riveting. Here are some of our favorites from Volta this year.
The bright red curtains over at the Luis de Jesus Gallery right by the entrance of the fair immediately lures viewers over to Federico Solmi’s animated video works, entitled The Brotherhood. Solmi combines video game technology and traditional portrait painting to both critique and ridicule certain world leaders. Both unsettling yet intriguing, these five videos combine both traditional techniques and modern digital medium to make a bold political statement.
The New Orleans-based Jonathan Ferrara Gallery showcases unforgettable works at Volta each year, and this year is no different. At this booth, E2 – Kleinveld & Julien reimagined iconic works by Van Eyck, Vermeer, Rembrandt, and others with people of color and different sexual representations in a manner than both celebrates and disrupts how viewers interpret these classical masterpieces.
Beers London was proud to present one of our favorites, Andy Dixon, whose large, vibrant mixed media paintings examined wealth and luxury’s relationship to art. Reminiscent of Matisse, Dixon’s work is bright, plays with scale and foreshortening, and absolutely fills its booth. The curators took great care to make the exhibit space its own glowing living room, adding to the overall effect of Dixon’s work.
Gallery MoMo from Tokyo presented one of Naomi Okudo, whose elaborate and self-referential works left us in greater awe the longer we admired her work. Okudo puts herself and her insecurities in all of work, and Gallery MoMo’s curator revealed that she always wears the outfit she’s wearing in her paintings at openings. Working entirely in acrylic, Okudo’s able to capture hyperrealism, abstraction, and digitized techniques all in a single image. The result is a psychedelic landscape one could only find in their dreams.
We also loved Ryan Hewett’s surreal portraits, presented by Cape Town-based Barnard Gallery. Hewett’s interpretations of celebrated and controversial figures in South African history evokes complex emotions. Hewett’s work isn’t flat –– he creates a third dimension on the canvas, utilizing layers of oil paint, that reflects that nuances in humanity. His subjects gaze out at the viewer longingly, their own vision obscured by their swirling, painterly faces. There is something morose and touching in each of them.
Chilean based Y Gallery / Galería Isabel Aninat presented perhaps our favorite works, Due Status, the curious wooden pigeons by Manuela Viera-Gallo. Instead of eyes and beaks, these hand carved oak birds have cameras, grenades, and emojis for heads. Haunting, comical, quite adorable, this simple presentation gathered as many giggles as it did stares. There is a sense of being watched, but the watchers are reflecting our own modern-day fears back at us.
The can’t-miss section of Volta is Your Body Is a Battleground, curated by Wendy Vogel and sectioned off with deep purple carpet right in the heart of the fair. The exhibition is inspired by Barbara Kruger’s work Untitled (Your body in a battleground) for the 1989 Women’s March on Washington DC. The works of the eight artists showcased in this Curated Section are as powerful as they are poignant. According to Vogel, “their works critically address issues of gender, race, sexuality, colonialism and incarceration, positing the body as a site of political resistance.”
The works we’ve featured here are just a small fraction of the truly remarkable work on display at Volta NY this year. Here’s a list of more artists who should not be missed:
Erik Thor Samberg (Connersmith)
Alex Gardner (New Image Art)
Faig Ahmed (Sapar)
James Clar (Senda)
Andrew Schoultz (Joshua Liner Gallery)
Langdon Graves (Victor + Mo)
Joshua Smith (Muriel Guépin Gallery)
Kathleen Vance (Rockelmann &)
And some performance art not to be missed:
Szilard Gaspar’s Full Contact Matter (Zorzini Gallery)
Gaspar, an artist and boxer, will be doing a live performance art piece against 300kg of unsculpted clay on the afternoon of
Tim Okamura’s Begin Transmission (Anoko)
Okamura displays his giant photo-realistic multi-ethnic portraits at the Volta NY VIP Lounge and invites visitors to tag his works as they see fit.]
Volta NY runs from March 1-5 at Pier 90. Tickets are available here.