As the founder of Worth Art Advisory, Candace Worth has made a specialty of leading her clients to the work of today’s most exciting artists, both emerging and established. Here, the advisor shares her favorite artworks at this year’s edition of the NADA New York art fair.
The spirit of collaboration is alive and well in Lucas Ajemian’s work. When I saw his paintings at Marlborough last year, I thought they had been sanded down to reveal underlying layers but, in fact, they are paintings that he borrows from his artist friends and then runs through the laundry—quite a refreshing take in an age where enormous value has been bestowed on young art stars and often mediocre painting. Ajemian has been given works to destroy by a range of famous friends, including Cheyney Thompson, Nate Lowman, and Dana Schutz, but doesn’t reveal the work’s original attribution. The end results are subtle, beautiful paintings with an intelligent and challenging underpinning.
Tomoo Gokita’s paintings remind me of Surrealist or film noir stills, only set in a contemporary moment. The initial image in his work is often based on found photos and postcards, but Gokita distorts the figures quite a bit, distilling them down to archetypal characters or scenes. He is adept at evoking a narrative using just a pared down palette of blacks, greys and whites, and sometimes blues. I like how his work exists in a weird place somewhere between figuration and abstraction.
Jay Heikes’s work is complicated and hard to pin down, which I have always liked about his approach. He has consistently paid keen attention to art history and materiality in his work, and is primarily interested in the alchemical effects of mixing different media. In a recent interview, he discussed his beautiful works on paper from the Music for Minor Planets series, describing them as a way to represent musical scores in an abstract way, specifically referencing John Cage and 1960s Japanese avant-garde artists.
I remember seeing Misaki’s wildly vibrant pop sculptures and paintings years ago in New York at Clementine Gallery and Deitch Projects. The work is zany, humorous, and idiosyncratic, and combines elements of both classic American Pop painting in her references to consumerist culture but also to the flat painting technique of the more recent Japanese ‘superflat’ artists like Murakami. This painting makes me laugh out loud.
I had seen Florian’s paintings in Miami a few years ago with Jan Wentrup, but didn’t start to understand what I was looking at until his recent exhibition at Simone Subal. Meisenberg uses painting, sculpture, and video to explore issues around the transmission of analog versus digital data. I love his large, minimal paintings with simple, symbolic gestures like small dabs of paint in the form of actual SIM cards. At NADA, Meisenberg is represented by Daata Editions, a new online platform, which has commissioned him to make new video-based works, viewable only via downloading digital files.
Push Ahead, Turn 180 degrees, Repeat (132 lbs., Yellow and Violet), 2014
Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery
There is a lot of activity in the ceramics sphere right now, and Brie Ruais is among the most interesting artists working with this material. In addition to being beautifully fired and glazed, the work has an aggressive, performative aspect to it, with the large scale of the work often related to her own body weight. The final sculptures are sometimes broken up, with the center displayed on the floor or on an adjacent wall. Ruais is an artist pushing this medium’s boundaries and I always want to see what she does next.