Artwork on cover by DeVon;

This is the fourth & final article of a Four Part series about the 2023 Los Angeles Art Week by Brooke Harker
 CLICK HERE for article # 1 (An Artist’s Perspective);
CLICK HERE for article # 2 (Felix Art Fair);
CLICK HERE for article # 3 (Frieze & Spring/Break art fairs);

The LA Art Show, to my surprise was my favorite of all the art fairs this year. In the past, I wasn’t a big fan of the event, mainly because I’d get so tired and didn’t resonate with most of the art. This year I loved the event and appreciated such a diversity of works in various styles. My plan to zoom fast through this event wasn’t as well thought out of a thought as I only left myself a couple hours to attend before close. There was far more art that I wanted to spend time with.

Image Detail, “King Steph” (43.5”x 63”- oil on linen) by Maudy Alferink with Gallery 1202 out of Gilroy, CA; photo by Brooke Harker; courtesy of ETG

I still made it through to see all of the art and found ten favorites along the way. Perhaps my plan to zoom needs to be revised to allow extra time to meander back to what stands out.

Of the many pieces that caught my attention, the provocative portrait “King Steph” (43.5”x 63”- oil on linen) by Maudy Alferink with Gallery 1202 out of Gilroy, CA stood out. Alferink, from the Netherlands paints hyper realistic portraits of women that exude feminine power and shine with a luminescent quality in the details of their garments, surroundings and facial features.

Another portrayal of feminine power and creativity came from Nigerian artist, Ifeoluwa Alade on display with Abend Gallery out of Denver, Colorado. His imaginative painting “Nest” (60” x 40” – acrylic on canvas) particularly caught my attention, as it wove together an image of a woman whose hair seemed to be wrapped in an ornate nest of flowers, a place for birds to roost.

Many powerful women shined in the spotlight of the 193 Gallery booth out of Paris which exhibited the work of Kenyan photographer Thandiwe Muriu. The bright yellow walls of this booth corresponded with the pops of yellow designs in the fabric of the women Muriu featured in her dynamic photographs.

Photography by Thandiwe Muriu on exhibit with 193 Gallery at LA Art Show; photo by Brooke Harker; courtesy of ETG

The Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery out of London seems to have a knack for selecting artists whose work carries special energies. Spanish artist, Mersuka Dopazo shared various large-scale works including “Horse Couple,” layered with whimsy and vibrancy. These are works that again my camera couldn’t capture in experience. Dopazo managed to weave magic into her pieces collaged together from couture fabric and hand-made natural papers that she had sourced directly from craftspeople around the world. As described by the gallery in a description of Mersuka Dopazo’s work, “unexpected connections form between clashing textures and motifs and between the regularity of pattern and the spontaneity of broken graphite improvised colour.”

Another noteworthy artist on exhibit with The Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery, the intricate and vibrant “Isabel” (approx…70” x 74” – hand embroidery, beadwork, acrylic and collage on linen) by Dutch born artist Carla Kranendonk, inspired by her travels to West Africa“Large in format, Kranendonk’s works are authentic in their composition and playful in their manipulation of perspective,” as described by the gallery. Kranendonk’s works are something to study and marvel at in person as there is so much going on. There is an abundance of detail that a camera flattens and minimizes, however when viewed in person, the energy in these bold portraits are far from minimal.

Viewers with Horse Couple by Meruka Dopanzo, paper fabric and pigment on canvas on exhibit with Rebecca Houssack Art Gallery at LA Art Show; photo by Brooke Harker; courtesy of ETG

Another work that carried an inspiring energy un-captured in brilliance by my phone camera, a portrait called “Milena” (48” x 72”) in which the Canadian artist, Nadjejdah Gilbert, on exhibit with La Gallerie Perkins out of Quebec collaged words into the facial features and updo hair style of the woman she painted who seemed to express a spirit of peace amidst a dripping environment. Gilbert also embedded words into sections of the background. The words throughout this piece read in English and French messages such as, “Courage, hope, freedom, evolution, spirit, believe, liberty.” Looking at this piece of art in person, and even now, as I zoom in on the photo I took and plug French words into google translate, the art activates a desire in me to take a breath, and feel the state I see in the character portrayed in Gilbert’s painting.

Milena by Nadjedah Gilbert 48 x 72 on exhibit with La Galerie Perkins at LA Art Show; photo by Brooke Harker; courtesy of ETG

Next on my list of art – to fall in love with, the work of photographer Patricio Reig exhibited by Pigment Gallery out of Barcelona, Spain and Paris. Originally from Argentina, Reig resides in Milan and shares works of analog photography printed in pigments on various old documents. When I encountered his depictions of empty shoes on old documents, there was something fascinating in what he created that made my heart sing.

What art fair experience would be complete without notable pop art. This year the large-scale portrait of Audrey Heburn, “Audrey Halo” (84”x 84” -mixed media on canvas) by DeVon Stanfield conveyed a level of elegance and sophistication that she was known for. This piece sparkled. I also recommend watching the video about DeVon’s art on his website, linked in lineage as an artmaker to Andy Warhol. However, this portrait of Audrey spoke to me more than Warhol’s work ever did. See cover image for this artwork by DeVon Stanfield. 

As I near the end of my LA Art Week treasure hunt findings, there are two artists whose work I would have taken home had I budgeted 30K for art during this time.

A collection of paintings by Irina Cumberland including “Soul House” (72”x 60” – oil on canvas) with Arcadia Contemporary Gallery; photo by Brooke Harker; courtesy of ETG

I would have loved to buy a water painting for my sister by artist Irina Cumberland on exhibit with Arcadia Contemporary Gallery. In particular, her painting that spoke to my soul happened to be named, “Soul House” (72”x 60” – oil on canvas). In looking up more about the artist on-line, I found myself in tears as I read her story. Originally from the Ukraine, Cumberland experienced such a difficulty being away from her mom and sister when she moved to the U.S. that her walks on the beach by the water were the only thing that calmed her when she missed them so much. Now she finds that painting water brings her to a place of peace and calm, the energy she wants to put into the world especially at a time when her native country is at war.

Finally, the painting I would have purchased for myself immediately was, “Imagine White Horse/series 1” (36” x 36” -oil on canvas) by artist Christine Seo with Studio Artego out of New York. There is a magic in this horse painting that made something in my heart dance and celebrate.

“Imagine White Horse/series 1” (36” x 36” -oil on canvas) by Christine Seo with Studio Artego; photo by Brooke Harker; courtesy of ETG

It was no surprise to me that in reading more about the painting the artist described, “the horse is the spirit animal that liberated my art and soul.” What a beautiful description for a piece that felt liberating to look at.

Although I didn’t take this painting home, I won. I found something that spoke to my soul, that lit me up and motivated me to create more expansively. That is what art has the power to do, to forge connections, start conversations, lift spirits, and build bridges between strangers.

So if you have a chance to attend LA Art Week next year, or any art fair or number of exhibits, I hope you create your own art treasure hunt. Likely you will learn something about yourself along the way and you might even end up surrounded by energy in art that is exactly what you need right now.

Also if anyone is reads this and is looking for a birthday present for me around 10K, contact Studio Artego🙂 

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