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The Artists on Our Radar in 2023

Art

5 Artists on Our Radar in April 2023

Artsy Editorial
Apr 4, 2023 5:27PM

“Artists on Our Radar” is a monthly series produced by the Artsy team. Utilizing our art expertise and access to Artsy data, we highlight five artists who have our attention. To make our selections, we’ve determined which artists made an impact this past month through new gallery representation, exhibitions, auctions, art fairs, or fresh works on Artsy.


Olivia Jia

B. 1994, Chicago. Lives and works in Philadelphia.

Olivia Jia’s jewel-box paintings teem with mementos of personal and shared histories. Described by the artist as a form of psychological self-portraiture, they depict Jia’s consciousness via the objects she studies: open books, photographs, and creased bits of paper that accumulate on the canvas. A consistent blue palette brings a moody, moonlit quality that unifies this body of work, as seen in “Perimeter,” a solo exhibition on view through April 22nd at New York’s Margot Samel (which is announcing its representation of the artist this week).

In person, these compact canvases foster a sense of intimacy. Invited to look closely, we discover photos of the artist’s mother; pictures of Chinese ceramics and Huaniaohua-style imagery; and glimpses of the moon and stars. These assemblages of ephemera speak to a search for context, both cultural and cosmic: Jia, a daughter of Chinese immigrants, situates herself in the world through objects that recall her heritage, and by gazing upward towards the night sky.

Olivia Jia
My grandmother's vanity (Neolithic amphora, jasmine flower, garden window), 2022
WORKPLACE
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Jia received her BFA in painting from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She has exhibited there and in Chicago, New York, and London, including a 2022 solo show at Workplace, which will continue to represent her alongside Margot Samel. Later this year, Jia will participate in the esteemed Fountainhead Residency program in Miami.

—Olivia Horn


Sarah Faux

B. 1986, Boston. Lives and works in New York.

Sarah Faux
Days like this, 2022
Hales Gallery

Following several years of extreme fervor for figuration, perhaps the most interesting painting happening today embraces both figuration and abstraction. Sarah Faux has been working this way for years. Indeed, the New York–based painter is known for bold, expressive canvases that deftly combine fragments of the body with gestural marks and swathes of color. Her works often recall landscapes as much as intimate portrayals of the human form.

Sarah Faux
How do you know what love is, 2022
Hales Gallery
Sarah Faux
Voices carry, 2022
Hales Gallery

Faux’s current solo show with Hales Gallery in New York, “Sweetbitter,” opened in late March. The show features dauntless, sensual canvases that give the viewer a first-person perspective on carefully cropped scenes portraying not just sex, but their subjects’ perceptions of self and the sensations of living in human skin. The latter are amplified through the artist’s palette, including deep jewel tones and bright shocks of color, as well as through urgent drips and sweeping pours of paint.

Faux graduated from Yale’s MFA program in 2015, and since then, she has steadily shown at galleries worldwide, including at the three galleries that now represent her: Capsule Shanghai, Hales Gallery, and M+B.

—Casey Lesser


Matthew Eguavoen

B. 1988, Edo State, Nigeria. Lives and works in Lagos.

Through compelling representations of African identity, Matthew Eguavoen’s portraits challenge societal and political narratives of Blackness. The Lagos-based artist’s large-scale acrylic and oil paintings capture sitters in everyday environments, examining human experience via the relationship between community and mental health.

Eguavoen’s vibrant color palette accentuates the skin of his subjects, bringing them to life. In paintings like Red bucked hat and The tree of life (both 2023), the intensity of the hues is matched only by the intensity of the subjects’ gaze, which—along with the domestic spaces in which they are presented—conveys a sense of intimacy. “I have a need for facial representation and I am fascinated by its power to evoke an emotional response from my viewers,” Eguavoen shared in an artist statement.

A self-taught painter, Eguavoen earned a BS degree in civil engineering and structures from the University of Port Harcourt. His works have appeared in group and solo shows at PM/AM, Afikaris, and OOA Gallery, and he has exhibited at international art fairs such as Art X Lagos and 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair. This month, Badr El Jundi Gallery will show Eguavoen’s paintings in a solo presentation at the 10th edition of EXPO Chicago.

—Adeola Gay


Jess Xiaoyi Han

B. 1997, Dalian, China. Lives and works in New York.

Jess Xiaoyi Han
Stardust, 2023
Ross+Kramer Gallery

Jess Xiaoyi Han’s expressionistic works depict tangled explosions of form, contained in fields of sherbet pastel tones. Although her paintings seem to burst outwards, Han’s latest body of work expresses her interior world, as emphasized by the title of her current show, “Implosion,” on view at New York’s Ross+Kramer Gallery through April 15th.

Abstraction is wielded suggestively in these paintings. As the eye unravels luminous flurries of form, hints of figuration emerge. Each composition contains a common motif: an orb, which shifts in appearance from one canvas to another. In Stardust (2023), it is like a rose-colored pearl; in Entropy #2 (2022), an egg; in Sandstorm (2023), a moon. In Han’s imploding interior landscapes, the spheres provide a stabilizing center of gravity. This force is felt by viewer and artist alike: “It was pulling me in like no painting has ever done,” Han said of the first painting in the series, Entropy #1 (2022).

Han holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, where she specialized in illustration. Currently based in Brooklyn, she has shown extensively in her native China, including at Bridge Gallery in Sanya and Fir Gallery in Beijing, as well as Sens Gallery in Hong Kong.

—Isobelle Boltt


Jen Hitchings

B. 1988, Lincoln Park, New Jersey. Lives and works in Los Angeles.

Jen Hitchings
Super Flower Blood Moon (Plum Canyon), 2022
Taymour Grahne Projects

In Jen Hitchings’s paintings, the natural world becomes as mesmerizing as clockwork: mysterious, yet satisfyingly neat. With the imagination of sci-fi film posters and the precision of M.C. Escher prints, her landscapes in oil and acrylic conjure geometric, mystical worlds of swirling clouds and distant mountains.

Following her recent inclusion in Anat Ebgi’s booth at Felix Art Fair in L.A., Hitchings will open a solo show, “Cycles,” at Taymour Grahne Projects in London on April 15th. There, recent paintings, often in a monochromatic color scheme, draw on her experience living in the drought-ridden California desert. Her works imagine a reprieve where water is everywhere; rivers, lakes, and waterfalls ripple throughout these paintings.

Jen Hitchings
AS, Coral Bay, St. John Virgin Islands (Aquarius), 2023
Taymour Grahne Projects

A new series of smaller works also uses spiritual and celestial imagery to further explore the pleasing symmetry of the natural world, as in AS, Coral Bay, St. John Virgin Islands (Aquarius) (2023), where the titular zodiac constellation hovers above streaks of clouds in the night sky.

Hitchings holds a BFA in painting and drawing from SUNY Purchase College, and has exhibited at Pierogi in New York, Tiger Strikes Asteroid in L.A., and PROTO Gallery in Hoboken, New Jersey, among others.

—Josie Thaddeus-Johns

Artsy Editorial