Looking Back: Art Palm Springs 2017
By Jacqueline Bell Johnson
Art Fairs are a very peculiar beast. It is a great way to see new work -a whole bunch of it- in one place, with one admission fee, and in one day. It’s a chance to see (and with a little courage) meet gallerists in person and talk about their artists and backstories of the pieces they are showing. Walking through any art fair you are bound to witness the cruel objectification that comes with seeing price tags next to work while overhearing conversations about the market and an artist’s “performance.” There are those in attendance that wish to be seen as artists, artsy, or walking pieces of art. You can see them parading around squinting and trying not to make eye contact with passersby. Other such displays of wealth, connections, or popularity occur regularly. But ultimately, it is about the art.
As art fairs go, Palm Springs is a comfortable size, ensuring you will see everything in one visit, and giving you enough time for a second walk through before closing. We found plenty of opportunities to talk shop with the gallery reps and owners. There was even a row of publishers with copies of their latest issues to browse. There were many things to see this year, but here are a few favorites:
A lovely convergence of function, form, craftsmanship, and classic beauty. The booth displayed several different artists from Japan using wood, caning, and bamboo woven into contemporary basketry forms. These pieces reveal form through the layering of line and simultaneously create movement and flow from one curve to the other, creating a meditation for the eye to follow.
Lorene Anderson at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts
Lorene Anderson’s Bioacoustics and Wavelets interprets abstract patterns as a way to create depth, layered and suspended in acrylic paint. The result is a mesmerizing image like looking through geometric foliage.
Booth Display of Decorazon
The galleries can set their booth up as they wish and often there is a little back room or niche, rewarding those who take their time in each booth. For example this hidden spot in the booth of Decorazon.
Beliz Iristay at Artspace Warehouse
Lovely and collectible, these raku ceramic horns evoked other-worldly terrains. Each piece is unique in pattern and color, most with a velvety matte finish. The grouping of the pieces not only demonstrate the skills of artist Beliz Iristay in her ability to produce such a range in surfaces, these forms become animated and anthropomorphic.
Kristen Stingle at OKAY SPARK
A hauntingly provocative figurative work from Kristen Stingle was right at the front of gallery Okay/Spark. The piece consists of two torsos, one of a young girl and one of an adult woman breathing into each other through the same apparatus, fueling both innocence and knowledge into their beings. The sculpture is primarily porcelain, with touches of lace and ribbon.
Mauricio Garrido at Sergott Contemporary Art Alliance
Mauricio Garrido’s large and intricate collages were on display, of particular note was Calypso. The piece features a female torso as the setting for a chaotic mesh of flowers, sprites, insects and birds both beautiful and threatening.
Mathew Hawtin at Scott White Contemporary Art
Mathew Hawtin’s shaped canvases are a study of light and shadow on color. These graceful constructions create a tranquil spot amidst the hustle and bustle of the art fair.
Karen Margolis at Garis & Hahn
Circles are burnt into this already delicate abaca paper, transforming the works from paper to a fragile lace. The surfaces are built up again with thread, paint, and bits of maps. The bright colors spread out from points on the plane in an organic, almost viral fashion. On the wall, Margolis’ works appear quite substantial due to the phenomenal layer of shadows underneath.
For an Angelino, heading to the Palm Springs Art Fair is a nice break. While you may need to consider a hotel for the night, the size of the fair, the parking, and the nightlife of Palm Springs make it downright relaxed, allowing you to focus on the important stuff: the art.
Palm Springs Art Fair 2017,
February 16-18, 2017
Palm Springs Convention Center