Saturday, November 03, 2018

Superfine! DC: The Review

Yesterday I gave you my thoughts on the Superfine! DC art fair currently underway at the District's historical Union Market. You can read those opinions here.

Today the crew and I visited the fair, and spent a few hours enjoying the artmosphere that any major art fair brings to any city, and chatting with a lot of old friends while making some new ones.

Bottom line: Apparently Superfine! art fairs has already announced that they'll return next year - that by itself is a major success in view of the DMV's past attempts to entertain and host a major fine arts fair such as the ones that routinely take place in many other world capitals as well as in Miami each December for the art world's big dance.

Upon entering the fair spaces, and as a veteran of nearly 100 art fairs all over the nation and overseas, I immediately noticed two things: (a) Zenith Gallery - which has my work at this fair - has the primo spot by the entrance, and (b) this fair's booths are superbly well designed and spaced, and unlike any other art fair that I've ever seen!

That's a good thing.

Why do I say that? Because every other fair on this planet has one mission in mind when designing their floor plan: maximize the number of booths, because the more booths that you can squeeze into a floor, the more Samolians that the fair organizer stands to make.

Kudos to Superfine! DC management for their booth arrangement.

Another important thing separates this fair from your typical New York or Miami art fairs: Artists can have individual booths. This is both a positive (especially in the DC art market) and a negative impact... but that's a story for another column.

In yesterday's preview, I mentioned how impressive Martin Swift's chiaroscuro portraits looked online - they look even better when closely examined! Swift's works are with Monochrome Collective and are a delight to the eyes. I also liked the giant poster that he created on one of the side exits of the fair... that's a close up below.

Martin Swift Mural outside Superfine! DC
Note the enviable agility with the brush and the mastery of the paint application! This artist is really good.

We visited several DMV gallerists, admiring the works by Gregory Ferrand and Jessica Drenk at Adah Rose Gallery. This art dealer is one of the hardest working gallerists in the area and her booth look superb! Drenk's work was one of my son's early favorites for best in show.

Gregory Ferrand at Adah Rose

Jessica Drenk at Adah Rose Gallery
My son was also mesmerized by Matthew Langley's hypnotic wall of color paintings in Susan Calloway's booth.

Matthew Langley at Susan Calloway
Yesterday I also mentioned how an impressive artist like Scott Hutchison can remain largely ignored by museum curators in this area - mostly because DMV museums think of themselves as "national" museums, rather than regional or local. In person Hutchison's new series of works are even more impressive. Check some of these gorgeous works here.

Imaginary Grasp by Scott Hutchison. 19x24 inches, oil on aluminum
Imaginary Grasp by Scott Hutchison. 19x24 inches, oil on aluminum

I soon lost the family, as a decent crowd was packing the fair's well-designed floor, but I quickly found them admiring the work of Baltimore artist Daniel Stuelpnagel.  His elegant geometric work hides the extraordinary amount of compositional planning and work that it takes to deliver these intelligent pieces.
Campello clan chatting with artist Daniel Stuelpnagel

Work by Daniel Stuelpnagel
We then spent some time chatting with the hardworking art dealer Gabriela Rosso of Potomac's RoFa Projects - I was astounded to find that this is Rosso's 9th fair this year! All over the globe, by the way, not just the US.

Gabriella Rosso of RoFa Projects
RoFa's booth was full of impressive work, the output of this gallerist's focus on Latin American artists (mostly). I was taken by the photographs of Jesús Chacón, which (of course) remind me of my own work.

Jesús Chacón at RoFa Projects
After chatting a little with DC uberartist Anne Marchand, we set out to "discover" some new artists...

Campellos talking with artist Anne Marchand
Yesterday, when  I did my online preview, I thought that the work of Gaithersburg artist Hannah Sarfraz was fabric based, and essentially fabric design or painting on fabric... but they were in fact really well executed, hyper realistic water media paintings!

Hannah Sarfraz
Anderson soon made a straight line for Rogelio Maxwell's booth and was fascinated by his works and received a really nice reception and explanation of Maxwell's talented handling of color.

A picture of Mom taking a picture of Anderson being educated on Rogelio Maxwell
While I was there, I was quite impressed by the sculptural work that Maxwell brought to the fair - see some details images below.

Detail of sculpture by Rogelio Maxwell
Detail of Sculpture by Rogelio Maxwell
From there I found my way to the refined works of Wayson R. Jones, whose technique and presentation just keeps getting better and sharper! This is a key DMV artist deserving of more attention by the curatorial cabal of our area.

Drift II by Wayson R. Jones
Not too far from Wayson, this gorgeous wall of painted metal chairs, where the artist has kidnapped the substrate and made it into a work of high art, caught my attention.

It is the work of Dr. Bob, who is represented at the fair by the DMV's Gallery O on H... this piece below (detail) was my favorite and it was really bustin' loose.  This work needs to be acquired by the DC Arts Commission for the collection of the city.

Detail of Chuck Brown by Dr. Bob. Acrylic on metal chair, c.2015
Detail of Chuck Brown by Dr. Bob. Acrylic on metal chair, c.2015
Another artist who caught the eye of the young critic was Dennis Crayon, who was gracious enough to spend a lot of time discussing his techniques with an admiring 9-year-old fan!

Dennis Crayon at Superfine! DC
Dennis Crayon at Superfine! DC
But no artist fascinated this young mind more that the Ft. Lauderdale artist known as Aliguori... see below.

His fascination was in large part driven by the 3D effect delivered by this painter's focused genre of monochromatic works that tickle the eye's ability to separate depths based on color warmth and position.

Looking at Aliguori's 3D paintings
The fact that the very nice artist was also kind enough to spend a lot of time discussing his art and technique with a young admirer is also a great lesson in art fair niceness! Thank you!

By now we had spent a few hours at the fair, and towards the end I discovered the booth of New York's Lori Cuisinier, whose Ariadne series of works were not only elegantly hung in the minimalist style preferred by the art fair management set - not only did she have the best hung booth at the fair - but was also the singularly sexiest booth in the entire fair and stood out in prudish Washington.

Ariadne bride cake by Lori Cuisinier. UV pigment on dibond, 55x54 inches
My overall impression of the fair was very positive, and I sincerely hope that the rumors that the organizers have already made the decision to return next year are true. This is a kick in the creative arse of the DMV, and it helps the capital's artistic juices in not only a seminal way, but also in one that helps our art foot print.

Tomorrow is the last day to visit Superfine! DC - the fair runs to 8PM... details here.