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Savvy Collectors and How NOT To Collect

As I announced a few weeks back, I’m hoping to attract more and more collectors to the site, and to that end will publish profiles like the one late last year about Laura Vranes and John McIntyire and this week, Walt and Louise Rosett. We read in the mainstream and art press about the jet-setting high-end collectors—Eli Broad, the Rubells, and Bernard Arnault, the force behind the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris—and others with seemingly unlimited means to acquire art (and the advisers to track down their trophies). More interesting to me are the passionate collectors who do it on a budget, who make studio and gallery visits a part of their lives, and who support visual artists with their enthusiasm and checkbooks. Having interviewed a bevy of collectors for magazines like the now-defunct Manhattan, inc. and ARTnews, I offer up some observations about collectors I’ve admired in this week’s Editor’s Note and will be posting future reports with advice from dealers and curators and tips for artists on keeping their collectors happy.

So if you have collectors whose taste and passions you admire, and who would consent to an interview, please do let me know. These smart and unsung heroes of the art world at large deserve some recognition.

But onward to good news and compelling work from Vasari21 members….

Fran Shalom has a solo show at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts (529 West 20th, NY, NY) through March 17th. As the press release astutely notes, “Shalom’s palette…toes the line between the familiar and the ambiguous. Her pop sensibility is represented in bold, electric color choices, but the relationships she presents are fraught, rarely succumbing to easy combinations. There is a push-pull between foreground and background, so that you’re never quite sure if the figures are breaking through or receding within the space.” Below is Savoir Faire (2016), oil on panel, 36 by 30 inches.

"I work like a handyman, cobbling together drawings, objects, images and sculptures from elements found, borrowed, and imagined," writes Melissa Stern of her infectiously comic gallery of hapless characters. "I use a wide range of materials from encaustic to clay, pastel to steel. My work includes found objects, souvenirs, vintage magazines and books as well as fabricated images and sculpture. The drawings and sculptures, often made in tandem, resonate with one another, the ideas in one reinforcing the themes of the other." Her next show, “You’re Soaking in It” (a reference to the 1960s commercial for Palmolive dish soap and the culture at large), opens March 3rd and runs through the 26th at Station Independent Projects (138 Eldridge Street, NY, NY). Included will be Half Life (2015), made from clay, wood, paper, paint, and oil stick, 13 by 13.5 by 3 inches.

Brenda Goodman’s paintings and works on paper will be exhibited at the New Art Dealers Association from March 2nd to 5th at Skylight Clarkson North, 572 Washington Street in New York. Her solo show is represented by Jeff Bailey Gallery (Booth 4.07). “I’ve been doing these small six- by eight-inch oil-on-paper pieces for almost 30 years,” she says of works like Nothing’s Black or White (2017), below. “I’m always experimenting and am always delighted when a new way of making marks emerge. I want them to have power, emotion, and intimacy.”

"In my opinion ‘thinking’ is a very abstract concept,” writes Melinda Stickney-Gibson. “Something out of nothing. And almost impossible to clearly define as to what it is, because literally everyone has a nuanced, personal definition of their own. That’s the beauty, frustration, and freedom of it. This body of work has that premise as its start, and is ongoing.” No Know (2015) is part of her at the John Davis Gallery in Hudson, NY, from March 4th to March 26th. It’s oil on canvas and 40 by 32 inches.

I am woefully late in posting a work from new member Tom Martinelli, one of my talented neighbors just to the south of Taos in Santa Fe, NM. “I’ve been working predominantly with simple, mostly circular shapes,” he writes. “The shapes are painted using stencils which allow the forms to be laid down in a quick and definitive way. I place them so that they are roughly symmetrical left and right, responding to a sense of balance as well as a perception of compression and expansion between forms. I’ve worked with these shapes on and off for a number of years but wasn't able to happily find the depth in the simplicity until recently.” Below is Here In (Eye-See No.0117), 2017, acrylic and fluorescent acrylic on canvas, 20-5/8 by 17-7/8 inches.

Several Vasari21 members have been selected by their galleries for shows at the Art on Paper extravaganza at Pier 36 in New York, from March 2-5. Congratulations to all! And here’s a sampling of what you’ll see if you’re lucky enough to attend.

Several months ago, I described Annell Livingston’s work as “not so much interested in playing visual tricks as in conveying the passage of light and a feeling of transience. They may recall, for instance, the journey of late-afternoon sun across a wall or floor; their poetry finds its antecedents in Agnes Martin, not in Bridget Riley.” Her gouache on watercolor paper Fragments, Geometry & Change No.171 (2017) is 30 by 30 inches, and will be at Gallery Sam, Booth B16.

Margaret Evangeline says her images from her “Time Bomb” series are “analogs of my own interior life as an artist and as a citizen of the world. I came across a 1945 photo of the atom bomb being guarded, hiding in New Mexico. It seemed desolate. The wires and detonation parts were all visibly draped around in a sort of madman disorder/order, much like the drawings and paintings I had been creating.” Her works will be at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, Booth D-3. This one's oil on paper, and dates from 2017, 25.25 by 18.75 inches.

Arlene Rush knows a thing or two about rejection and channeled her sentiments into a smart and sharp series about art-world brush-offs, described more fully in the link posted here. This is Cheim & Read 1998 (2016), archival museum board, resin, acrylic, metal leaf, polyurethane, and colored wax, 17-1/4 by 22-1/4 by 3 inches. You can catch it at AHA Fine Art, Booth G17.

Tm Gratkowski is showing with Walter Maciel Gallery from Los Angeles (Booth D1). His Free Dumb (2016, paper on paper, 32 by 20 inches) doesn’t need much explanation beyond its title and internal references.

That’s it for now, my friends. If I’ve missed anyone, drop me a line and set me straight.

Top: Jeremy Thomas's steel sculpture in the garden of Louise and Walt Rosett's home in Albuquerque, NM..

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