Saturday, May 07, 2011

AAFNYC: The Friday report

Yesterday there were good crowds again; and once again they picked up at night. Mayer Fine Art sold my largest drawing in the show, plus another sculpture by Norfolk artist Christine K. Harris and a painting by Russian painter Alexey Terenin.

Eve, Agonizing Over The Sin

Eve, Agonizing Over The Sin.
Charcoal on Paper. 13 x 49 inches.
Now in a private collection in New Jersey

Highlights from the Affordable Art Fair New York City

Founded 12 years ago by London gallerist Will Ramsay (who also does the Pulse Art Fair), the Affordable Art Fair New York City holds fairs not only in New York and London, but also Amsterdam, Bristol, Brussels, Melbourne, Milan, Paris, Singapore, Sydney and for the first time later this year, Los Angeles.

I've been attending this fair (the New York version) since 2006, and it has never disappointed me. With a price ceiling of $10,000 USD, the term "affordable" is relative in more ways than one, but one can find a lot of art in this fair which starts as low as $75!

This year there were quite a few European galleries (see the exhibitors' list here) as well as a variety of American galleries, including two from the DMV.

Giuseppe MastromatteoIn walking around the fair, I particularly liked the photography of Giuseppe Mastromatteo at New York's emmanuel fremin gallery.

They are subtly surreal without being overtly commercial, as a lot of this sort of photography tends to be. This NYC gallery has a whole host of photographers that share this sensibility, and they all work together in a very elegant booth display.

Britain's Fairfax Gallery also has a standout in the technically breath-taking work of Mary Jane Ansell, who manages to capture a sexy Lolita feel to her portraits of young women with a play on stares deeply submerged in psychological innuendos.

Another European gallery with super work, in this case by a photographer, is Spain's Villa de Arte Gallery. The minimalist work of Marc Harrold.
Marc Harrold
Louise Lawton at New York's Stricoff Fine Art also fits within the same minimalist niche occupied by Harrold, but this brilliant work is charcoal on gesso board.

Nefertiti by Michelle MikesellFinally, Michelle Mikesell's paintings, with Dallas' DeCorazon Gallery, get my vote for best in show.

Mikesell's work spans an interesting narrative offering full of hidden clues within her paintings. They are superbly well painted, and as a devoted fan of technical skill, that always becomes attractive to me.

Technical skill alone does not a great artist make, say the Yodas of the art world, and they are right.

That is why that hard to describe ability to marry technical mastery with intelligent composition and the magic to grab a corner of our minds, is such a key component of what makes an artist's work go beyond well executed to begin to reach the first steps of the ladder to being a true visual art gem that stands above the rest; Mikesell is way up that ladder.

The fair runs through Sunday.