Art

11 Newly Represented Artists from Tastemaking Galleries around the World

For many artists, gaining representation with a prominent gallery is a game changer. It’s a vote of confidence in the artist’s work and longevity; a flag that a consequential solo show is on the horizon; and a signal to collectors and art institutions that an artist is “one to watch.” Artsy’s new online show, “Newly Represented,” spotlights the work of a group of these artists, all of whom have recently joined the rosters of esteemed, international galleries.
Here, we share the stories and works of 11 newly represented artists, ranging from promising recent grads to more established artists who are now earning due recognition, and hailing from Beijing to Karachi to Los Angeles. Some met their new gallerists through other artists and mutual friends, while others garnered attention through impressive shows. But all of them create bold, striking work that speaks for itself.

B. 1984. Lives and works in Atlanta.

Gallery 1957, Accra and London

Portrait of Patrick Eugène in his Atlanta studio by Eric Dargan. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1957.

Portrait of Patrick Eugène in his Atlanta studio by Eric Dargan. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1957.

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Patrick Eugène’s striking figurative paintings are glimpses into the everyday lives of Black Americans, infused with his own experiences as an American man born to Haitian immigrants. His color palette, use of form, and subject matter bring together his ancestral roots in the Caribbean; his present life in Atlanta, Georgia; and the abstraction of ancient African art. His expressive style speaks to his prior abstract work, as well as the masterful Black artists he admires: , , , and , among others.
Eugène’s “Moun” series (2019–20)—moun translates to “the people” in Haitian Creole—is based on the artist’s recent trips to Haiti and the photographs he took while there. “Humbled by my trips to Haiti, the resilience displayed by the people who often struggle economically, I was able to draw parallels to the oppression we see here in the U.S.,” Eugène said. “Many of these works were painted at a time where escalating protests were occurring in Haiti in response to corruption and scarcity of basic goods. Concurrently, the Black Lives Matter protests were being fuelled by the corruption of the U.S. legal system and the killings of innocent Black men and women. The work is meant to display pride, resilience, strength.”
One particular work, You Ask About the Scars (2020), confronts the viewer with stories of trauma and oppression through references to Kunta Kinte from the 1977 film Roots, who had his foot cut off for trying to escape slavery four times, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. “The grey color, made from a mixture of paper pulp, acrylic, and a gypsum dust compound, is a reminder of my trip to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, in 2010 after the devastating earthquake,” Eugène said. “The streets filled with broken concrete for years after the initial event. Similar themes make their way throughout the series.”

B. 1987, Beijing. Lives and works in Beijing.

de Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong

Portrait of Zhong Wei. Courtesy of the artist and de Sarthe Gallery.

Portrait of Zhong Wei. Courtesy of the artist and de Sarthe Gallery.

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There’s a very current, frenetic energy in Zhong Wei’s paintings. The rising Chinese artist is able to convey on canvas that overwhelming feeling you get when you have too many tabs open, or you’re quickly scrolling through apps, or you realize you’re using your phone and your laptop and watching a show at the same time.
Hong Kong’s de Sarthe Gallery started representing Zhong just before the COVID-19 outbreak. Willem Molesworth, director of de Sarthe, noted that the gallery had been in conversation with Zhong for quite some time, but that his recent work sealed the deal. “He went through a period of intense introspection that resulted in a powerful new visual language,” Molesworth said, “one that unpacked and spoke to some of the key issues of our times from his position in Beijing.” Zhong will open a solo show at de Sarthe on May 15th.
Zhong’s paintings are explosions of color and form inspired by the onslaught of imagery that we see on the internet every day. “In this newest body of work, he has taken a decidedly personal approach to using this visual language,” Molesworth said. “He describes the feeling in these works as leaving home with a dead battery in your phone, on the hunt for a charger but unable to find one—left with only a lingering anxiety. It’s a new sort of very specific, 21st-century angst to which we can all relate.”

B. 1986, Laredo, Texas. Lives and works in San Antonio, Texas.

Unit London, London

Portrait of Mauro C. Martinez. Courtesy of the artist and Unit London.

Portrait of Mauro C. Martinez. Courtesy of the artist and Unit London.

Mauro C. Martinez’s bold, irreverent approach to painting makes his work particularly memorable, and often funny—not unlike a good meme. Take, for example, the new work Block Chain (2021): We see a college-aged white man wearing a popped collar surrounded by the words, “Ok, who the fuck is chain and why are y’all tryna block him??” plus two “thinking face” emoji. Like much of his work, it’s a playful jab at our relationship to the internet and technology, in this case imagining the collision of NFT hype and American “bro” culture. Much of his work might be described as memes realized through classical painting techniques.
Unit London recently began representing Martinez, drawn to the “directness and sharp, dark satirical humor” of his work, said Joe Kennedy, the gallery’s co-founder and director. “As a young man, Mauro’s life experience has been far from easy and filled with tragedy—but his positive outlook and his ability to articulate complex cultural narratives within his work is astonishing.” Martinez had his first solo show with the gallery, “Big Mood,” in September 2020.
For his “Sensitive Content” series, Martinez paints works that mimic the censorship of Instagram’s “sensitive content” warning; his “Cursed Images” amp up the drama of viral imagery; and “People with Paintings” shows scenes from museums and galleries where the art is replaced by memes to poke fun at the way people interact with art. Unit London describes his work as “crude, critical, quickly made and inherently humorous, Martinez uses the qualities of viral imagery, meme culture and cursed images to tap into a collective feeling of familiarity to disarm and challenge his audience.”

B. 1989, Auckland, New Zealand. Lives and works in New York.

Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London

Portrait of Angela Heisch. Courtesy of the artist and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery.

Portrait of Angela Heisch. Courtesy of the artist and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery.

It’s hard not to get swept up in the motion of Angela Heisch’s abstract paintings. Deep blues and warm taupes swirl together in bold spirals of light and dark, hard edges and soft gradations. Heisch’s enigmatic forms resemble slices of plants, flowers, living beings, and even the cosmos; they vibrate with energy that’s both familiar and otherworldly. “Responding to observation of the natural world, her visual language seeks to capture emotional states in all their transience and ambiguity,” explained Katharine Higgs, exhibitions director at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery.
Pippy Houldsworth Gallery began working with Heisch in 2020 when she was one of the first artists to participate in its online “Insight” project—a series of weekly viewing rooms featuring new work made during the COVID-19 lockdown. “We were drawn in by the playful, psychological pull of her compositions, combined with an expansive sense of movement,” Higgs said.
After earning her MFA from the University at Albany, SUNY, in 2014, Heisch is now garnering acclaim for her delectable use of oils. She also often creates a small pastel drawing alongside each painting. Heisch has already had a string of solo shows at galleries including Projet Pangée and Davidson Gallery, among others. In September 2021, she will open her first London solo show at Pippy Houldsworth.

B. 1969, San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago. Lives and works in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

Various Small Fires, Los Angeles and Seoul

Portrait of Che Lovelace by Shaun Rambaran. Courtesy of the artist and Various Small Fires.

Portrait of Che Lovelace by Shaun Rambaran. Courtesy of the artist and Various Small Fires.

Che Lovelace’s vivid, vital paintings are glimpses into the cultural expressions of his native Trinidad. The popping colors and tropical vistas we see in his work are his visions of the island and its people, heightened by his own emotional, spiritual, and intellectual experiences. “From the Edge of the Rock,” Lovelace’s first solo show at Various Small Fires in Los Angeles, held earlier this year, featured palm tree–filled views from his studio in Port of Spain and effervescent portraits of dancers inspired by Trinidadian Carnival traditions.
Various Small Fires began representing Lovelace in 2020, drawn to “the color and movement that his paintings present,” the gallery noted. “As he is based in Trinidad, our first studio visit was done fully virtually over Zoom. We were moved by the lushness of his subject matter and color, which is achieved by layered dry pigment—a process relatively unique to this artist.”
Lovelace’s portrayals of Carnival are linked to his longtime participation in the annual celebrations. Some of the works are drawn from photographs and video of the artist himself and others while masquerading, though rather than making portraits, he seeks to capture the characters and performance of Carnival. Broadly speaking, his thoughtful use of color and gesture speak to the ethnic diversity of Trinidad and the array of cultural traditions that its people celebrate.

B. 1970, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Lives and works in London.

Simon Lee, London and Hong Kong

Portrait of Donna Huddleston by Ben Westoby. Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery.

Portrait of Donna Huddleston by Ben Westoby. Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery.

Donna Huddleston is known to use soft, muted pastels for her very precise drawings and paintings that convey elements of the dramatic arts. Her works, featuring performers, costumes, and stages, trace back to her studies in theater design. Her early career in film and theater and fascination with set design and performance is evident in her deftly rendered, carefully staged drawings. One featured work, WD3 (2012), inspired by expressionist dancer Mary Wigman, was commissioned for London’s Sadlers Wells Theatre.
Gallery owner Simon Lee noted that he and his team have long admired Huddleston’s work, though a pivotal moment came upon seeing her exhibition “The Exhausted Student” at the Drawing Room in late 2019, which was her first institutional solo show in the United Kingdom. “The atmosphere of this show, which distilled the pageantry, the theater, and ritual inherent to her practice led to a dialogue with Donna that resulted in announcing representation in May 2020,” Lee said. “For me, Donna’s works, whether colored pencil, metalpoint, watercolor, or graphite, are lavish with detail and entirely subject to the act of mark-making, while at the same time evoking a sense of the ephemeral in their surreal, sometimes quite eerie narratives.”
Lee notes that Huddleston’s works in the “Newly Represented” show are “something of a survey, fundamentally exploring color, texture, and gesture in the evocation of memory,” he said. “Nowhere is this more succinctly captured than in TD 1 (2020), which is the first in an ongoing series of individual color variations of a nostalgic shorts motif that is articulated repeatedly throughout Donna’s practice and speaks to her adolescence, growing up in Sydney.”

B. 1984, Lima, Peru. Lives and works in Amsterdam.

GRIMM, Amsterdam and New York

Portrait of Arturo Kameya. Courtesy of the artist and GRIMM.

Portrait of Arturo Kameya. Courtesy of the artist and GRIMM.

Arturo Kameya’s works are filled with objects that bear witness to history. His nostalgia-tinged paintings, many of which appear sun-bleached or timeworn, are inspired by personal memories and experiences, though they convey critiques and commentaries on politics and history (particularly of his native Peru), with a focus on indigenous cultures. Kameya uses a range of materials—including clayshay, wood, and found objects—and distinct pieces often come together as multifaceted installations.
GRIMM began representing Kameya in 2020 after the team encountered his work at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, where he is currently a resident and will have his final presentation in June. “He distinguished himself as a talented young artist for his direct approach to complex subject matter, linking disparate aspects of Peruvian identity in works that point to an authentic new voice,” the gallery noted. Kameya has exhibited widely in Lima and was the focus of GRIMM’s online Art Basel in Miami Beach presentation in December 2020. In 2021, he will be featured in the New Museum Triennial in New York in October, and he will also have a solo show at GRIMM in New York.
In recent paintings, Kameya portrays elements of Peruvian pop culture from the 1990s, when he was coming of age in Lima. We see the decade’s leading musicians, TV shows, and cartoons sprinkled through his works, which become like time capsules, reflecting the artist’s identity while preserving specific moments in time.

B. 1991, Montclair, New Jersey. Lives and works in Los Angeles.

Night Gallery, Los Angeles

Portrait of Marisa Takal by Nik Massey. Courtesy of the artist and Night Gallery.

Portrait of Marisa Takal by Nik Massey. Courtesy of the artist and Night Gallery.

Marisa Takal’s practice delves into the ways that we understand and organize the chaos of everyday life. Her latest exhibition “Euphoric Recall,” on view at Night Gallery in Los Angeles through May 1st, takes its title from the psychological term that describes our tendency to remember past experiences in a positive light and relinquish the negative parts. Her vivid paintings feature contrasts of color and shape that coalesce as a sort of visual compartmentalizing. Her works reflect on the rhythms, rituals, and spontaneity that structure our day-to-day lives.
Davida Nemeroff, founder of Night Gallery, first met Takal when the artist was assisting fellow Night artist on a mural for an exhibition at the gallery. Nemeroff then saw Takal’s 2015 exhibition at Sade Gallery in Los Angeles (which was located in Night Gallery’s original Lincoln Heights space) and was instantly taken by the artist’s “unique sense of color and unexpected iconography.” The following year, Takal mounted her first solo exhibition at Night Gallery.
“The work that I have made this past year is about connectivity through our behavior and patterns,” Takal told Artsy at the end of 2020, “how we relate to one another, how we can feel less alone and disconnected, how we organize ourselves, systems of organization on micro and macro scales, deep investigation into the self, into otherness, into the other, the viewer, people, fear.”

B. 1969, Columbus, Ohio. Lives and works in Los Angeles.

Various Small Fires, Los Angeles and Seoul

Portrait of Glen Wilson by Nicola Goode. Courtesy of the artist and Various

Portrait of Glen Wilson by Nicola Goode. Courtesy of the artist and Various

Glen Wilson’s powerful photographic works are both visually and conceptually striking. With a background in street photography, Wilson captures the people of his neighborhood—Oakwood in Venice Beach, Los Angeles. He often prints his photographs on giant sheets, slices them into strips, and weaves them through segments of chain-link fence. He harnesses the symbolism and ubiquity of the fence, a marker of division and ownership, to confront the United States’s systemic racism and marginalization of Black Americans.
Wilson gained representation with Various Small Fires in 2020 and had a show at the Los Angeles gallery from late October through December. “We were incredibly interested in the materiality of the work,” the gallery noted. “We find this process to be unique, immersive, and powerful in its representation of Black communities in the U.S.”
Wilson’s 2020 show at Various Small Fires, “Slim Margins,” reflected on communities of the African diaspora, particularly his own. “On the hottest weekend of the summer,” he told the show’s organizer Jill Moniz, “Venice Beach is the most democratized space in L.A., maybe the whole nation, and yet the moment you wade out into the water, you cross an invisible line and leave it all, and become fully present.”

B. 1992, Karachi, Pakistan. Lives and works in Karachi.

Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London and Berlin

Portrait of Rabia Farooqi. Courtesy of the artist and Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery.

Portrait of Rabia Farooqi. Courtesy of the artist and Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery.

Rabia Farooqui creates crisp, enigmatic figurative paintings with gouache and wasli paper, the traditional substrate that is known for its use in Mughal miniature painting. Her works, which often picture finely rendered people atop brilliant, monochromatic backdrops, explore tensions between contemporary society and cultural traditions.
Gallerist Kristin Hjellegjerde discovered Rabia Farooqui’s work through another artist in the gallery’s program, , who has been mentoring Farooqui in Karachi. “I think she depicts dreamy and magical settings that we all can feel ourselves transfixed by,” Hjellegjerde said.
Farooqui’s first solo exhibition at the gallery will take place later this year. Titled “Two adults and an Attachment,” the show explores “a metaphorical take on primary learning models that set the stage for intimate relationships,” Hjellegjerde said. “Touch is used as a learning language, played out through performative roles in displaced positions, with voyeurism being explored as an inspiration.”

B. 1990, London. Lives and works in London.

Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

Portrait of Holly Hendry by Jan Weisebrod. © Holly Hendry. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Portrait of Holly Hendry by Jan Weisebrod. © Holly Hendry. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Holly Hendry is known for her sleek, pared-down sculptures that delve into the structures of the human body without giving the viewer an obvious sense of what, exactly, they’re looking at. Visually and conceptually, she goes beneath the surface of her subject matter, looking to portray the inner workings of the body, industrial machinery, or subterranean spaces. Her recent works, some of which have kinetic elements, reflect on anatomical diagrams.
“Holly’s unconventional approach to materials is incredibly compelling,” said Jonathan Horrocks, associate director at Stephen Friedman Gallery. “Casting is central to the artist’s process; her sculptures incorporate an array of materials including steel, jesmonite, silicone, ash, charcoal, lipstick, soap, foam, marble, aluminum, and grit.”
A 2016 graduate of the Royal College of Art, Hendry gained representation with Stephen Friedman Gallery in early 2020, following her solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) that ran from 2019 to 2020. For that show, she created The Dump is Full of Images (2019), her first kinetic piece, which saw a sheet of materials processed through giant rollers and considered the role of skin as a container for the body. Last October, Stephen Friedman Gallery featured Hendry in a solo project for Frieze London. This May, Hendry will be featured in the forthcoming show at YSP, “Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women since 1945” (which opens May 29th) and will open a solo show at De La Warr Pavilion.
Casey Lesser is Artsy’s Associate Director of Content.
Header image: Angela Heisch, “Final Act,” 2021. Courtesy of Pippy Houldsworth Gallery.