Sunday, April 14, 2024

Artomatic: The Seventh Floor (Partial Review)

Last night I spent only about 90 minutes on the 7th floor, and was thus unable to get to all of the rooms - I will be back to expand and finish this look at this floor.  I was accompanied by my wife on this trip, and below I will include her very savvy observations, fine tuned over decades of both practicing, teaching and being a strong voice for nearly every facet of the art scene on a worldwide scale.

As with all my previous floor visits, this floor proves again the unique and singular ability of ARTOMATIC to deliver on a scale that it is impossible to deliver in any other model but this one! The mind-overwhelming variety of subjects, skill levels, ideas, room-changing work and presentation forms is simply impossible to replicate unless the hive workforce and leadership of this kind of show is there.

First impression from the partial walk on the 7th floor? There is a lot of love with black light on this floor and also a lot of artists whose presentations include a wall assembly of a multitude of small, well-crafted and presented work!

My first recommendation comes for the work of Jenny Kanzler in room 7031.  I am always seduced by artists who are able through their work marry the subject with unusual and unexpected, and this very talented artist delivers all of that and more with gusto and skill.

Jenny Kanzler in room 7031 at ARTOMATIC
Jenny Kanzler in room 7071 at Artomatic

In room 7006, Greg Skrtic offers an impressive array of large paintings which can best be described as brilliant rediscovery and modernizing of the traditional. In these works the artist subjugates the focus of the work to be recreated in a canvas of multi surfaces and images that force the eye to examine each minute details of the surface individually and them re-assemble them to deliver forms that seems to step out of medieval times and onto the 21st century.

Gregory Skrtic in room 7006 at ARTOMATIC
Gregory Skrtic in room 7006

Skrtic notes on his website that:
I take inspiration from many sources, both natural and man-made. I use patterns from patchwork quilting, carpet or wallpaper designs just as readily as from a seashell, leaf, or seed pod. Incorporating these patterns into the overall composition in a way that they can co-exist in harmony is a recurring theme in my work.
It results in one of the more impressive "new-to-me" artists discovered so far at the event!

In room 7041, both my wife and I liked the somewhat "retro" work of Jeremy Arn. I note "retro" more in the sense of the muted palette, rather than just the subject, which is composed of interesting mechanical forms.

Jeremy Arn in room 7041 at ARTOMATIC 2024
Jeremy Arn in room 7041

I also want to highlight the powerful drawings of Ricardo Mavin in room 7128, full of energy and zest which only a talented artist with a mission can accomplish. 

Also memorable are Christian Tribastone's explorations of the most humble of materials (cardboard) to deliver impressive works (room 7072) as he jumps the tracks in a very cool way.

In room 7078 Cory Oberdorfer showcases some of the impressive new takes on his fave subjects - Oberdorfer took these to NYC a couple of weeks ago to the Affordable Art Fair in Chelsea.

Cory Oberndorfer
Cory Oberndorfer

In room 7063, Andrea Cybyk's elegant abstracts dominate the room - I've discussed Cybyk's works many times over the years, as her work has always been amongst the top at various previous incarnations of ARTOMATIC over the decades.

In room 7144, the flower paintings of Michal Hunter once again demonstrate the breath-taking painting gifts of this artist - the subject is new to me, as previously I've spent decades drooling over Hunter's figurative work. In that same room, the hardworking gift to the Greater Washington art scene that is Jack Rasmussen surprises with an elegant, almost obsessive display of collaged monochromatic works that are both interesting and immensely intelligent! 

Close by in 7061 we find the immensely intellectual works of the collaboration between wife and husband team of Lync Prince Harris and David Allen Harris. This brainy duo has created a series of works dubbed at the Wa PaPo series. She notes:
With the Wa PaPo project, launched in 2021 with my husband David Allen Harris (photographer), there’s an effort of revitalizing holistic histories and lore through reintroducing African-inspired elements with our own personal flair. This is a homage, rather than an ethnographic survey that accurately depicts any one place or culture. Instead, we hope to infuse new life and meaning into the ways of showing and retelling Black and Western folklore. 
Over the course of the Wa PaPo project, I’ve explored stories about different figures of the African diaspora through prose, art, and reenactments on film, using creative license to change details for more original and interpretive artistic effect. I’m an interdisciplinary artist with ties to social practice art, writing, bodypainting, muraling, and assemblage; David is similarly equipped as a photographer and software engineer/computer scientist. Together, we use traditional and new media to fully tell the tales we weave. 
Lync Prince Harris and David Allen Harris at ARTOMATIC
Lync Prince Harris and David Allen Harris

See a cool video about the series here.

Over is space 746, I must highlight the printmaking of Cecily Abram, which is not only pleasing to the eye, but also showcases a clearly talented printmaker. These gorgeous prints tease the viewer by assembling both recognizable forms, but married to deliver a somewhat abstracted delivery.  They are also a great example of professional presentation: pH-balanced, acid free museum mats, etc. At $325 for the large monoprints, they are also one of the great steals of the show!

Cecily Abrams at ARTOMATIC 2024
Cecily Abram in area 746

In room 7070, John Grunwell's colorful abstracts just about jump of the wall with the huge amount of energy that Grunwell manages to pop out of the painting surface.

Detail of a John Grunwell painting at ARTOMATIC
Detail of a John Grunwell painting

By now it was getting a bit late as we had to pick up the son unit from a Caps' game - on this floor we also liked (again) the African-influenced works of the ebullient Shiri Achu in room 7059.  Achu was one of my top 10 Artomatic picks a few years ago and since then she has continued to deliver impressive works influenced heavily by her upbringing in Cameroon and then London.