Posts Tagged: Contemporary Art


Perhaps it is the English major in me, but I have always been drawn to works of art that incorporate words. The use of language in art to evoke certain emotions can be incredibly powerful and subjective to the viewer. Since everyone has different feeling or connotations of words, using text forces the viewer to reflect. From the medieval illuminated manuscripts to the contemporary works of Mel Bochner and Barbara Kruger, text and art have been intertwined for centuries proving the power of language in art.

I was delighted to see the new works at The New Gallery of Modern Art of Aurora Robson that combine both abstract art with wordplay to express her viewpoint on the state of humanity and the environment today.


I was thrilled to see gallerist Marianne Boesky’s Chelsea apartment on the cover of the recent Galerie magazine. The fifth edition of the new magazine focuses on readers who have a passion for art and design curated by founder Lisa Fayne Cohen, editor at large Margaret Russell and creative director Matt Berman.  Getting a glimpse into how major collectors live, how the works of art are placed, how they are juxtaposed against other works and enhanced by their surroundings has always fascinated me. 


Every time I see an image of one of Elliott Puckette’s ethereal paintings, it stops me in my tracks. Whether I stumble across it on a gallery wall on the pages of a design magazine, or on an Instagram feed of a favorite designer, I am always enchanted by the duality of simplicity and complexity of the lyrical lines of her art. Her distinct hand can be seen in the motions of of her work that resemble musical notes or calligraphy. To complete these works, she either uses a razor blade etching into a prepared ground or drawing in ink on an expanse of paper. The works look effortless and as if there is absolutely no room allowed for error which I find fascinating. I am over the moon to see her work in person at the upcoming opening at SOCO Gallery next month.  


“You have to step over the boundaries sometimes just to find out where they are.” -Damian Hirst

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been mesmerized by the fantasy of lost treasure. It all began with a beach trip where my little brother and I found a “real life” treasure on one of the North Carolina barrier islands. To a 5 and 3 year old, we could not believe our luck. After hearing the stories of pirates, shipwrecks and buried treasure from our cousins, we were convinced this dilapidated box was indeed pirate booty. An ancient treasure map of the island fell out as we opened it along with old coins, rusted nautical instruments, and other items from the “ship.” It was not until years later we discovered that our fun-loving mother had concocted this adventure with the help of aunts, uncles and older cousins to make our summer unforgettable.

I was incredibly intrigued to read about Damian Hirst’s “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” that he had spent over 10 years working on for this year’s Venice Biennale. Lauded as the most expensive exhibition ever created, the show has created much fanfare and controversy in the art world….as only one of Damian Hirst’s can. Always pushing boundaries, the artist’s concept for the show is pure fiction….created in Damian’s imagination and brought to life in a palazzo on The Grand Canal in Venice.

As luck would have it, I happened to be in Venice the opening weekend off the show and got to see the mind-blowing exhibition first hand.  Special thanks to artist and curator Brad Thomas for letting me know about the opening date. See below for the show notes and more details about this imaginary treasure…


When you enter the world of Stephen Wilson’s studio, it is like stepping into a contemporary art factory. The tools he uses to create his intricate works are perfect merger of technology and his creativity. he says that “The medium is the message.” He uses fabric, thread, sculptural 3D printing, laser engraving, and painting to create his unique pieces. Each line and element is created with thread on top of luxurious fabrics. Some of his pieces contain millions of embroidery stitches and take hundreds of hours to create. Fashion influence is prevalent in his pieces. The fabrics used include Hermès silk, Chanel wool, fabrics by Marc Jacobs, Oscar De La Renta, Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Dolce & Gabanna, and Brunello Cucinelli. He is influenced by contemporary art, pop art, street art, graffiti, and iconography, as well as traditional quilting and handicrafts. 


The mesmerizing new work of Cristina Toro is on view at LaCa Projects. Her exhibition, Strike a Match to Hear My Sound  is up through April 7, 2017. Pictures do not come close to doing these brilliant works justice. The indescribable vibrant colors, rhythmic imagery, and impressive scale can only be fully appreciated in person. 

The works represent the artist’s ongoing dialogue with humanity and the natural world. Toro addresses natural and supernatural phenomena related to fire and light. The inspiration for the works began in the artist’s kitchen, where she experienced the phenomenon of luminous plasma from static electricity creating a glowing light, or Saint Elmo’s Fire. This exhibition shares a number of examples related to energy and luminosity: ritual bonfires, polaroids, candles inside of kettles, phosphorescence, human energy fields, and the various properties of light, real and imagined, that come from the sun and the moon in relationship to one’s body.


Rounding out the Charlotte galleries showing at Untitled, Art in  Miami next week is SOCO Gallery which has become a leader in our arts community for their programming, lectures and events representing artists working locally, nationally and internationally at the highest levels. SOCO Gallery excels at connecting artists with their viewers. Getting to know the artists makes experiencing their work that much more personal. I have had the pleasure to meet some of the artists they are bringing to Miami and could not be more excited to see their dynamic works hang alongside one another. 


Untitled, Art is an international, curated art fair founded in 2012 that focuses on curatorial balance and integrity across all disciplines of contemporary art. Untitled, Art innovates the standard fair model by selecting a curatorial team to identify, and curate a selection of galleries, artist-run exhibition spaces, and non-profit institutions and organizations, in dialogue with an architecturally designed venue. Since 2014 the curatorial team has consisted of Artistic Director Omar López-Chahoud with curators Christophe Boutin and Melanie Scarciglia. The next edition of Untitled, Miami Beach will take place on the beach at Ocean Drive and 12th Street, November 30 – December 4, 2016.

SOCO Gallery is a contemporary art space based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The gallery specializes in assisting private collectors, institutions, and corporations to build their collections with museum-quality artworks, from emerging to established artists. Community engagement and education are central to the mission of the gallery. Each exhibition includes artist talks, book signings, and related programming. SOCO Gallery is located in a renovated 1920’s bungalow in historic Myers Park in Charlotte.


It is almost that time of year where the art world flies south for Art Basel Miami Beach. I could not be more excited that this year, not just one, but four, Charlotte galleries will be showing at various satellite shows in Miami. The variety of internationally renowned artists that each of the galleries are bringing to Miami is exceptional. From embroidery and collage to painting and photograms, there will be something for every art collector to experience. 

The New Gallery of Modern Art will be showing at the 16th edition of SCOPE Miami Beach returns to the sands of Ocean Drive and 8th Street. Featuring 125 International Exhibitors from 22 countries and 57 cities, SCOPE Miami Beach will welcome over 50,000 visitors over the course of 6 days. Amidst an unprecedented outpouring of critical acclaim from press, curators and collectors, and a digital and social media outreach campaign garnering over 450 million impressions, SCOPE Miami Beach’s is once again poised to lead the charge for emerging contemporary art market. _dsc0122

The New Gallery of Modern Art offers a range of artwork that educates, supports local endeavor, builds collections and importantly, introduces the Southeast to new aesthetics.



Chandra Johnson is a lady of many talents. Not only was she a past dancer, gymnast, and model, but she has also played a major role in the arts and philanthropic communities of Charlotte. Chandra’s authenticity (along with her husband Nascar legend Jimmie Johnson) shines through in everything they support. They launched the Jimmie Johnson Foundation in 2006. To date, more than $6.7 million has been contributed to various organizations. The foundation currently focuses on funding K–12 public education, primarily through the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Champions Grants program. Champions Grants have been awarded to 63 schools located in California, Oklahoma and North Carolina, where the Johnsons grew up and currently reside.

Chandra’s latest endeavor, the founding of SOCO Gallery, brings a much welcome addition to the local gallery scene and raising the bar for creative talent in the Queen City. Her passion for supporting artists and cultivating their careers is extraordinary as seen in our latest Creative Minds interview…

When did you know you wanted to pursue opening SOCO gallery?

Collecting contemporary art brings me so much joy and I wanted to share it with my community. I also love helping artists further their careers and connecting collectors to their work. SOCO is a natural extension of this passion to provide a platform for the artists I believe in.



How did you get started?

I started with doing pop-up exhibitions and was hooked. Ironically, SOCO Gallery is now a permanent space, but will continue to have a pop-up feel with a revolving exhibition schedule. It will always feel fresh with each new show.

Do you have a process for how you select artists for the gallery?

Absolutely. The mission of SOCO is to bring relevant artists and artwork to our program. A lot of time, travel and research goes into the global conversation of art world happenings, and we want to bring all of that back to Charlotte. At the same time, I hope to push out great, southern work into the world as well.


What about how you select art for your own personal collection?

I collect slowly and thoughtfully. I have to really love the artwork and the artist. I have learned, over time, how important it is to support the careers of artists you believe in. I have a connection with every single piece in my home. Once I started surrounding myself with really great work, I became addicted.










Tell us about your current exhibitions.

‘A Fluid Journey’ is our current group show featuring Mona Kuhn, Will Adler, LeRoy Grannis, Massimo Vitali, Karine Laval, Ken Van Sickle and Xavier Guardans. This is the first time all of these international artists have been exhibited in Charlotte. The work selected for this show builds on our qualitative state around water and all images evoke a feeling of leisure. Perfect for summer!


Can you give us a glimpse of what to expect from SOCO in the future?

Liz Nielsen is opening a great show with us in September. She had two solo exhibitions in NYC earlier this year and is slated to exhibit with Danziger Gallery (NYC) next year. We are thrilled to be included in her circuit.( See more below about upcoming exhibitions)

How has the south influenced your taste in art?

All of my surroundings influence my taste in art. Our daily experiences shape us and Charlotte has been a big part of my life for the last 11 years.

How did you start your art collection?

I started my collection with a lot of research and a lot of looking. I would frequent shows in major cities, mostly NY, and travel to art fairs. You definitely start to see a pattern of what you are drawn to and exposure is the best way to train your eye, learn and grow.

Do you have any advice for budding collectors?

Collecting is so much fun and something you can do for a lifetime. It should be a completely different thing than just a decorative piece for your house. My advice is to build slowly and invest in pieces that you love.



Whose work (artists, creatives, etc) do you admire?

Diana Vreeland and Eva Hesse


A painting by famed British artist Francis Bacon sold for $142,405,000 on Tuesday, breaking the record as the most expensive piece of art ever auctioned, according to a statement from the auction house.  	The artwork---titled Three Studies of Lucian Freud--- was sold after 6 minutes of bidding in the room and on the phone at the auction house, Christie???s, in New York City, according to Elizabeth Van Bergen, spokeswoman for Christie???s.   	 	Painted in 1969, it is known as one of Bacon???s most iconic, as it features Lucian Freud at the apex of his relationship with Bacon, according to the auction house???s statement.  	The 3 panel piece of art, known as a triptych, features Freud sitting on a wooden chair in varied positions, the statement said.  	The previous record for a work of art sold at an auction was Edward Munch???s The Scream, painted in 1895, for over $119 million dollars in 2012 at Sotheby???s New York, according to the statement. 	Bacon???s previous record for his work was over $86 million for another triptych painted in 1976 and sold in 2008 at Sotheby???s New York, according to the statement.

What would be your fantasy work of art to own?

I have been fantasizing about a Louise Bourgeois sculpture and a Francis Bacon.


What is your dream vacation?


What is your secret vice?

My Iphone


What is your idea of bliss?

Riding bikes with my family. I am always happy when I ride a bike and my kids are the same!


If you had a theme song, what would it be?

“Happy” by Pharrell




100fountcovers flattedWhat do you collect?

Photography, works on paper, canvas, sculpture, mid-century furniture, Line Vautrin compacts, books, vinyl, cocktail napkins, pickle forks, and antique china…just to name a few!



What has been your most recent art trip/ or adventure?

The Aspen Art Museum and The Sculpture Center in Queens.


What is your favorite museum outside of Charlotte?

The Whitney! They flat out nailed the new space in the west village.

What do you want to be remembered for?

Tough question – I guess I would like to be remembered as a great human, mom, wife, philanthropist and creative force.




What is your favorite space (interior/ architecture/ garden) in Charlotte?

SOCO Gallery is my new happy place and I love the Sacred Garden at Avondale Presbyterian on Park Road.

UPCOMING EXHIBITIONSNielsen_Forest-Tree_2015

Southern Comfort (SOCO) Gallery is delighted to present its upcoming exhibition, Night Garden. An exhibition of unique photograms by the New York based artist, Liz Nielsen. The exhibition will run from September 9th through October 31st, 2015. The opening reception will be held on September 9th from 5 to 8 PM. Additionally, there will be an artist talk on September 12th from 10:30 AM to 12 PM. This will be the artist’s first exhibition with SOCO Gallery, and her first time exhibiting in North Carolina.


Liz Nielsen’s unique, jewel-toned photograms take photography in a new and unexpected direction. She uses handmade, transparent color gels and filters to create complex and layered compositions. The photograms are made using handmade negatives, experimental light and darkroom techniques that she developed over the past decade. Her studio darkroom becomes a  stage for an unseen performance; she skillfully shines lights through blocks of color and whizzes flash bulbs and candles past the light-sensitive photo paper. The resulting works teeter playfully between representation and abstraction; blurring the lines between photography, painting and collage.

In this new body of work, Night Garden, layered shapes of bright colors create fantastical, organic forms that pop from dark, glossy backgrounds. The layers of intersecting lines, shapes and color reveal her analog process, and push the limits of what a photograph can be.


Liz Nielsen​ ​studied Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she received her B.F.A., and attended University of Illinois at Chicago for her M.F.A. Nielsen’s work has been exhibited extensively in Chicago, New York, and Berlin; her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Schalter Gallery (Berlin), Benrimon Contemporary (New York), Interlochen Center for the Arts (Interlochen, MI) and in 2015 at Laurence Miller Gallery (New York) and Denny Gallery (New York) as well many group exhibitions including David Zwirner Gallery (New York), and Rawson Projects (New York). Nielsen’s work has been reviewed in the New Yorker, New York Times, Artslant, Hyperallergic, and the Wall Street Journal. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.



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Instead of your typical Valentine’s Day flowers which only last a few days, why not consider flowers that lasts forever like works of art from Voltz Clarke? I have been a longtime fan of Blair Voltz Clarke’s curated eye and the artists she represents including personal favorites Ann Sophie Staerk, Mark Boomershine, and Natasha Law (just to name a few!)

For the past eleven years, Blair Clarke has filled private residences, galleries and alternative spaces with a wide range of emerging contemporary art.  Her unique formula varies from the traditional white box gallery. Clarke looks after a roster of talented artists and the business model is executed through private appointments, pop up exhibitions, studio visits, artist lectures, and fashion collaborations. Mrs. Clarke’s vernissages have the feeling of a perfect dinner party, with the right mix of uptown sophistication and downtown verve. The space where the work is exhibited can be every bit as interesting as the artwork itself. 

In Clarke’s own words, the 41 year-old Columbus, Georgia native has “worn many hats” in the art world, holding positions as Director of Galerie Timothy Tew in Atlanta and Exhibition Director at Sanford Smith & Associates in Manhattan. “Perhaps it is her unique combination of southern charm and New York savvy that has led to Clarke’s success,” comments collector Beth DeWoody. “She excels at connecting identities and ideas that wouldn’t have otherwise come together.” 

Blair Clarke is a member of Art Table, Save Venice, Young Collectors of the Guggenheim and The Young Friends of the Louvre. She volunteers her free time with various non-profit arts organizations in addition to gallery hopping with her daughters Poppy and Georgina alongside her husband, Head of Sotheby’s European Furniture, Alistair Clarke.
See below for some of  Blair’s favorite pics for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day…
Dan Bennett


Gardens have always held a special place in my imagination. Budding with colour, texture and form, they become ever-changing living sculptures, within which one can hide, play, relax and dream. Having tended gardens for over half my life, I have built up an intrinsic understanding of how plants bud, grow, bloom, whither and die. I no longer use reference material to produce my images, and instead rely solely on my inner eye and visual memory. It is this intimate knowledge that I attempt to capture and express in my paintings. My love of pattern making has led me to appropriate artwork from across the world, and across the ages. Aboriginal patterns have always had a strong influence in my work, reflecting the land and a spiritual connection with it. The spiral, for instance, suggests to me; dreams, re-birth, the snake, wind and the labyrinth. This connection between land and art has always been a fascination of mine, from simply arranging stones on the beach, through to attempting to understand the vast Peruvian geoglyphs . I find Islamic art useful when considering patterns, and appreciate the meditative process of producing more intricately detailed work. Japanese art from the Edo period influences my compositions, especially when working on several panels, as in a triptych. Body decoration from around the world has always informed my patterns, such as mehndi hand painting, Maori tattoos, and African body art. 20th Century Western art is a wealth of inspiration from which I take most of my mark making, such as action painting and ‘taking the line for a walk’. My principle material (acrylic paint) is also deeply rooted in the 20th Century, both in terms of its production and its qualities of plasticity and versatility.
Christina Burch

The work of Christina Burch has been exhibited internationally and has been represented by Voltz Clarke, in New York City since 2000. Her work is held in major private collections, most notably the Mugrabi collection in New York. She has done special projects for Swarovski, Bazaar, Salvatore Ferragamo and others. Most recently her work has been on view at The Armory Show, Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Philip de Pury, the Watermill Center in the Hamptons, and is listed on Artnet. Burch’s major artistic influences include Contemporary art, Italian art, Japanese aesthetics, and Tantric painting. Born in New York in 1972, Christina grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and began oil painting at age 8. She went on to receive a B.F.A. in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994 and was a participant in the RISD European Honors Program in Rome, Italy. She traveled extensively in Europe and Japan and completed her Masters in Painting at New York University in 1998. Years later, pursuing her interest in energy and the body, she studied Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at the Swedish Institute in New York from 2006-2009. The eastern view of energy and embodiment has been very influential in her recent works which contemplate the sensual, poetic dimension of figuration in painting. After fourteen years in New York City, Christina relocated to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2008 where she currently lives and works. 

Bradley Sabin
An avid gardener and sculptor, Bradley Sabin finds inspiration through the nature around him. He describes his work as a metaphorical equation to the care and time which is needed to have a healthy garden to human relationships that also require nurturing and protecting to flourish.
Prices start at $7,500.  For inquiries, please contact Voltz Clarke

Be sure to check out our Valentine’s Day Pinterest Board for more ideas.