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.
I was delighted to be included in Charlotte Urban Home this month for their Design Board feature. I am always preaching to my clients to start the design process with the art. It is a dream come true when it actually happens! For my favorite art collecting clients, I was thrilled to create the following scheme for a project we are currently working on.
In addition to the items above, we have also created a bar nook clad in antiqued mirror, and bejeweled with custom brass hardware for the finishing touches. The walls have been lacquered, the furniture and fabrics are on order and we install in a few short weeks. Of course, I am most excited to hang their works of art on the glamorous ebony backdrop to make the pieces pop even more!
Be sure to check out the entire issue featuring fabulous modern interiors by clicking here.
Breaking boundaries and pushing the limits of a medium requires an extraordinary amount of creativity and courage. Two mediums that blew my mind at the fairs this year were Photography and Paper Art. The way the artists manipulated their subject matter and used their craft in unexpected ways shows the pure genius of the artists seen below.
“Numbered Legs” John Baldessari through Gemini Gel Gallery
Initially a painter, Baldessari began to incorporate texts and photography into his canvases in the mid-1960s. In 1970 he began working in printmaking, film, video, installation, sculpture and photography.He has created thousands of works that demonstrate and combine—the narrative potential of images and the associative power of language within the boundaries of the work of art.
“The Rolling Stones, Sanibel Island by Hiro through Pace McGill Gallery
Hiro (Yasuhiro Wakabayashi), is a Japanese-American fashion photographer, born in China to Japanese parents who later returned to Japan. He moved to New York in 1954 and in 1956-7 assisted Richard Avedon. The years 1958-60 brought him to Alexey Broditch, whose personal assistant he became, and from whom he received both influence and encouragement. Combining simple but elegant design with sophisticated technique and striking colour, he opened his own New York studio in 1958, receiving commissions from Harper’s and other fashion magazines. Within only a few years, Hiro became a star fashion photographer in his own right. He made significant contributions as a staff photographer to Harper’s Bazaar from 1956 to 1975, and was named Photographer of the Year by the American Society of Magazine Photographers in 1969. One of his early celebrated photographs is a 1963 image of a Harry Winston diamond necklace placed on a bovine hoof. Surreal and unique, Hiro’s photographs are noted for their elegance and clean appearance. These qualities are established by the use of uncommon lighting, the juxtaposition of unexpected elements, and his signature use of color. Hiro is well known for his unique aesthetic, extreme originality, and the precision of execution of his vision. The trade magazine American Photographer devoted an entire issue to him in 1982. His work extends beyond fashion and advertising to personal explorations, including portraits, children, and landscapes
“Sikanders Entrance, Chandra Mahal, Jaipur City” by Karen Knorr through Danziger Gallery
Karen Knorr was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, raised in San Juan Puerto Rico, and educated in Paris and London. She has lived in England since the 1970s creating a large body of work that has developed a critical and playful dialogue with photography. Her themes range from investigating the patriarchal values of the English upper classes to addressing the role of animals and their representation in art. Using photography to explore cultural traditions, from the gentlemen’s clubs of Saint James to the luxuriant interiors of Indian palaces, Knorr’s work reaches out to engage conceptual art, visual culture, and feminism.
“Pineapple” by Liz Nielsen through Danziger Gallery
“Wonderland” by Liz Nielsen through Danziger Gallery
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. When she makes the work, 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. Nielsen’s work can also be found locally at SoCo Gallery.
“Tanzania Day to Night” by Stephen Wilkes through Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery
Since opening his studio in New York City in 1983, photographer Stephen Wilkes has built an unprecedented body of work and a reputation as one of America’s most iconic photographers, widely recognized for his fine art, editorial and commercial work. Day to Night, Wilkes’ most defining project, began in 2009. These epic cityscapes and landscapes, portrayed from a fixed camera angle for up to 30 hours capture fleeting moments of humanity as light passes in front of his lens over the course of full day. Blending these images into a single photograph takes months to complete. Day to Night has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning as well as dozens of other prominent media outlets and, with a grant from the National Geographic Society, was recently extended to include America’s National Parks in celebration of their centennial anniversary. The series will be published as a monograph in 2017.
“Colored Entrance, Mobile, Alabama” by Gordon Parks through Adamson Gallery
Gordon Parks was one of the seminal figures of twentieth century photography. A humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice, he left behind a body of work that documents many of the most important aspects of American culture from the early 1940s up until his death in 2006, with a focus on race relations, poverty, civil rights, and urban life. In addition, Parks was also a celebrated composer, author, and filmmaker who interacted with many of the most prominent people of his era – from politicians and artists to celebrities and athletes.
“Global Summer #36 by Yiorgos Kordakis through Voltz Clarke Gallery
Greek born “Burning Man” by Yiorgos Kordakis through Voltz Clarke Gallery.
Greek born Yiorgos Kordakis lives between New York City and Athens and has perfected a large format Polaroid photography method with Inkjet technology and fine Art Archival Paper. Kordakis’ popular Global Summer series has captured viewers across the US and Europe who are fascinated with his images of blurred people and structures creating complex abstract patterns. Since 1997 Kordakis has been working as a freelance photographer, concentrating on panoramic scenes that are wrought with great emotion and visual splendor. With regular exhibitions in Paris and work in several collections, he has presented his photographs throughout a number of European cities, including London, Athens, Paris, and Frankfurt. In his work, the artist gestures towards ephemerality and transience, and particularly, the underlying similarities revealed in different cultures.
“Lovely Six Foota” by Michalene Thomas through Yancey Richardson Gallery
New York-based artist Mickalene Thomas is best known for her elaborate paintings composed of rhinestones, acrylic and enamel. Thomas introduces a complex vision of what it means to be a woman and expands common definitions of beauty. Her work stems from her long study of art history and the classical genres of portraiture, landscape, and still life. Inspired by various sources that range from the 19th century Hudson River School to Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse and Romare Bearden, she continues to explore notions of beauty from a contemporary perspective infused with the more recent influences of popular culture and Pop Art. Thomas first began to photograph herself and her mother as a student at Yale. While working across multiple series, much of her photographic work functions as a personal act of deconstruction and reappropriation—both of images she has created herself and images she has singled out as influence.
Lenny Kravitz showed 50 of his photographs presented by The Leica Galleries and Reiner Opoku in the Design District. The exhibit is called “Flash” derived from the paparazzi. After a lifetime of paps bugging him and interrupting his photography hobby, Kravitz turned the cameras back on them. The result is a series of stunning high-contrast black-and-white photos that offer a never-before-seen perspective on fame from one of music’s most recognizable faces.
Lenny also showed off his skills as a DJ at the annual Aby Rosen fete extrordinaire.
Hassan Hajjaj through Taymour Grahne Gallery
Born in Larache, Morocco, in 1961, Hassan Hajjaj left Morocco for London at an early age. Heavily influence by the club, hip-hop, and reggae scenes of London as well as by his North African heritage, Hajjaj is a self-taught and thoroughly versatile artist whose work includes portraiture, installation, performance, fashion, and interior design, including furniture made from recycled utilitarian objects from North Africa, such as upturned Coca-Cola crates as stools and aluminum cans turned into lamps. Turning to photography in the late 80s, Hajjaj is a master portraitist, taking studio portraits of friends, musicians, and artists, as well as strangers from the streets of Marrakech, often wearing clothes designed by the artist. These colorful and engaging portraits combine the visual vocabulary of contemporary fashion photography and pop art, as well as the studio photography of African artist Malick Sidibe, in an intelligent commentary on the influences of tradition in the interpretations of high and low branding and the effects of global capitalism.
Jen Stark through Eric Firestone Gallery
Jen Stark is a contemporary artist whose majority of work involves creating paper sculptures. She also works with drawing and animation. Her work draws inspiration from microscopic patterns in nature, wormholes, and sliced anatomy. She studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a BFA majoring in Fibers with a minor in Animation. Stark’s ideas are based on replication and infinity, echoing patterns and intelligent designs found in nature. Since expanding her medium from paper to include wood and even mirrors, Jen Stark’s oeuvre of optically and methodologically baffling sculptures and drawings has enjoyed a renaissance of context. Her signature creations combine a variety of materials that have acted as a catalyst for more established spiritual proclivity as expressed through hypnotic mandala-like configurations. Click here to see more of her work.
“From the Empire State Building, 1960” by Thomas Witte through Davidson Contemporary
Thomas Witte’s work is fascinated with time. He begins with slides of family photographs (images captured in a millisecond, often by an absent-minded, amateur eye), and then, through a painstaking process involving myriad drawings, multiple stencils, and meticulous spray painting, he recasts a mundane moment from the past as a vivid experience in the present. Witte creates a collage of the past and the present in all aspects of his work. He takes vintage photographs, of people and moments long forgotten, and imbues them with fresh storylines and renewed vigor. The old and the new fuse in a burst of Witte’s creative energy. Watch the video below to see his process..
by Teresa Lancet through Galeria Espacio Mimimo
Confidence in the possibilities of paper as an artistic language has led to Teresa Lancet making a renewing work of this universal expression. Simultaneously has also researched their language codes, showing the connections and coincidences of their repetition structures and their use of color with textile traditions from around the world and with all derived from the abstraction of the twentieth century in reaching express primary forms of great spiritual purity.
“Sweet Dreams (are made of this) by Carlos Aires at Untitled
Carlos Aires lives at present time between Spain and Belgium, developing with his work his esthetic of ambiguity and analytic attitude toward our way of perceiving the reality surrounding us. From the collage to cutout, passing through photography, video and performance, Aires shows an open, provocative art, full of restlessness and skepticism. He plunges us in an upset and disputable reality, where regular myths lose their sense; history takes new nature and truth gives space to half lies. Carlos Aires likes to propose games to the audience, to discover how many and which could be the various ways to read a picture, a video, a performance, to interpret a situation. He works with association of ideas and stereotypes to disturb the perception and displace. These feelings are perceived by the audience because filtered through the cultural background.
Don’t miss Art Basel Miami 2015 Recap: Part 1!
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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!
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)
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.
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.
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.
Diana Vreeland and Eva Hesse
I have been fantasizing about a Louise Bourgeois sculpture and a Francis Bacon.
Riding bikes with my family. I am always happy when I ride a bike and my kids are the same!
“Happy” by Pharrell
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!
The Aspen Art Museum and The Sculpture Center in Queens.
The Whitney! They flat out nailed the new space in the west village.
Tough question – I guess I would like to be remembered as a great human, mom, wife, philanthropist and creative force.
SOCO Gallery is my new happy place and I love the Sacred Garden at Avondale Presbyterian on Park Road.
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.