by Maria Dubrovskaia
In December 2018, Agora Gallery is thrilled to participate for the first time in the Spectrum Miami, a premier destination for exhibiting, viewing, and buying contemporary art. Now in its eighth year, Spectrum will open its doors to visitors from around the globe from December 5 – 9, at the iconic Mana Wynwood: an expansive, six-acre venue in the heart of Miami’s dynamic Wynwood Art District.
The fair will highlight Miami’s thriving art scene by including numerous Special Programs, Art Talks, Art Labs, site-specific installations, as well as a Spotlight Program for Florida’s emerging or unrepresented artists.
Spectrum’s 2018 curatorial theme is ALLURE. More than 160 participating galleries will showcase some of their most progressive, exciting work that interprets this theme in engaging and innovative ways. The question at stake is how does contemporary art exercise its undeniable power to seduce fascinate, tempt, appeal and captivate?
Agora Gallery is proud to present 21 artists, whose work responds to this challenge. These internationally recognized painters, sculptors, photographers, digital and mixed media artists hail from around the world, from Japan to Argentina, and from Hungary to the United States. Their portfolios represent an array of innovative aesthetic and conceptual approaches to figuration, abstraction, and all that falls in between.
On display in Agora’s booth #127 will be painters: toNi Altenstrasser, Jerry Anderson, Osvaldo Bacman, Raul Mariaca Dalence, Marianne Durach, Israel Feldmann, Ignatius, Garese, Georges de Groot, Iva Milanova, Patricia Queiruga, Hiroko Saigusa, Bo Song , and YeonSoo Kim.
These artists interpret ALLURE in a variety of visually exciting and thought-provoking ways. In the painting “La Dolce Vita,” the Bulgarian painter Iva Milanova invites to take a decadent bite out of life. This tapestry-like still life features a giant pear that dominates the rest of this decorative composition. There are intimations of Léger-esque abstraction, but Milanova’s hues are softer and more saturated, and her curvilinear lines are organic rather than mechanical. The American painter Jerry Anderson creates organic abstractions in the spirit of Georgia O’Keeffe. His sensual, luminous paintings suggest a correspondence between landscape and the female form, which he views as the ultimate source of universal creativity. The paintings of the French-Israeli painter Israel Feldmann manage to be both austere and voluptuous. This artist restricts his compositions to two-three horizontal bands of color and his palette to just two-three muted colors. But within this narrow framework, the artist explores a wide range of tonal variations with admirable subtlety and elegance. Feldmann also pays a great deal of attention to pigments, rendering their materiality immediately evident. Soil as the literal, physical stuff of which landscape is made is also the material component of his paintings. The supple surfaces he creates are as inviting to the touch as well as the eye. Seductive, subtly ironic landscapes of the French artist Garese play on the sensuality of French 18th century painters like Watteau, Boucher, and Fragonard. In her painting “Crique” (“Cove”), for example, she lures the eye into an intimate space that seems to be created for pleasure. Rather than classical representations of an idealized place of delight and safety, this painting recalls its 18th-century variations, such as Watteau’s “The Embarkation for Cythera.”
Photography and Mixed Media
Among the photographers represented by Agora at Spectrum Miami will be
Art Golacki, Cynthia Chace Gray, Danny Johananoff and Gottfried Roemer. These artists’ body of work demonstrates a multifaceted approach to the problem of representation as seduction.
For Danny Johananoff, ALLURE is synonymous with the mystery. His camera accompanies him on his encounters with it in faraway destinations. The subjects of his photographs always face away from the viewer, but this act of concealment contributes to their seductive appeal. Not so in the work of Gottfried Roemer, whose “Just the Moment” represents a complete disclosure of mystery and a head-on confrontation with seduction. In his work, truth reveals itself to the camera directly. The blurring of contours, present in almost all of Roemer’s photographs, adds a painterly quality and sensual appeal of the image. Art Golacki’s still life photography engages the problem of allure conceptually as well as visually. Golacki builds his still lifes in the tradition of the Flemish masters. One must look carefully to discern signifiers of contemporary culture—cameras, soda cans, jelly beans, etc.—embedded within these intricate compositions. The artist paints these compositions almost entirely in either black or white paint, leaving only a few color accents. These provocative pieces reframe the problem of vanitas traditionally addressed in still life paintings. Golacki introduces objects emblematic of Western consumerist values, perhaps to suggest that our culture strives to defy the normal cycles of life and death and assert perpetuity at the very same time as it wastefully devalues and discards its own products.
The oeuvre of Patricia Olguín embraces mischievous sensuality. Works like “Untie my Bonbon Colored Lips” are brashly sexual. They irreverently suggest that the art object is a fetish in more ways than one. Nora Pineda is a ceramic artist, who creates sculptural stoneware, which she also paints. These colorful vessels symbolically connect the earth and the female form as the source of creativity, resonating with the paintings of Jerry Anderson, discussed above as elaborating the same theme. Finally, Attila Mata creates sculptures that recall Cubist, Futurist, and Constructivist compositions. In pieces like “Female Torso” and “Head” Mata represents the human body as geometric forms and structures in motion. In his bronze piece “Love,” however, the material attains a flowing, serpentine quality of an embrace.
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In our first year exhibiting in Miami, we look forward to presenting this curated selection to the exciting Art Week audience. Agora Gallery’s 2018 Spectrum Miami exhibit offers a number of ways to be seduced by art. There is no point trying to resist!
Maria Doubrovskaia is a visual artist and scholar. She moved to New York from St. Petersburg, Russia, when she was a kid. The Chelsea Hotel was seedy, and the Limelight was still a club back then. Maria loves cities and prefers slightly dangerous cities to glossy shiny ones. Some favorites are Naples, Palermo, Dakar, and Brooklyn before 9/11. If Maria was not a visual artist and a scholar, she would be an anthropologist.