5 Artists on Our Radar in August 2021
“Artists on Our Radar” is a monthly series produced collaboratively by Artsy’s Editorial and Curatorial teams. Utilizing our art expertise and access to Artsy data, each month, 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.
B. 1987, Merida, Mexico. Lives and works in Merida.
Through women posed with fruits, plants, and objects such as piñatas and ceramic vessels, Yucatecan photographer Alexa Torre’s portraits explore femininity within the context of Mexican culture. She frequently places a single woman as the central subject, taking care to obscure her face while her body remains on display. In Torre’s photographs, women wear brightly patterned, traditional Mexican huipiles, blouses, and skirts in an array of colors that contrast nicely against an equally colorful backdrop.
In her 2014 work Luchadora, a woman stands under a tiled portrait of the Virgin Mary embedded into the pink and gray building behind her, while donning a luchador mask and championship wrestling belt over a sequined red and green ankle-length skirt. With one fist clenched near her face and the other next to her waist, she assumes a fighting stance, exuding strength through anonymous, ultra-feminine performance. Torre’s work is currently featured in “Utopía Mexicana,” an online-only exhibition curated exclusively for Artsy by Mexico City art and design space Apartaco MX, on view through August 15th.
B. 1984, United Kingdom. Lives and works in London.
Existing between the chaotic, the beautiful, and the absurd, London-based artist Rhiannon Salisbury’s paintings explore the history of female representation in popular media. The winner of the 2019 Delphian Gallery open call, Salisbury recently returned to the London gallery with a solo show titled “femininity.”
Salisbury’s art practice begins with source material culled from mass media ranging from hypersexualized images in contemporary fashion magazines to images of domesticity found in vintage publications. Her fluid compositions combine expressive mark-making with poured paint, resulting in richly textured canvases. By building narratives that confront depictions of women in Western culture, her works offer a critique of patriarchal society.
Blending glossy hues of bubblegum pink with deep pigments of blood red, Salisbury mirrors the alluring yet disturbing reality of the global beauty industry. With blank expressions and exaggerated proportions, her subjects parody the often unrealistic portrayals of women in advertising campaigns. With an anarchic visual language and sharp wit, Salisbury dismantles the feminine beauty ideal.
B. 1992, Copenhagen. Lives and works in Düsseldorf.
In the recently closed group show “Genius Loci IX - Strikes Back” at Setareh in Germany, Emma Løkke showcased a series of dynamic and striking monotypes. Made from a variety of materials such as cotton, chiffon, and metal, the Danish artist’s works emphasize the labor-intensive process of both painting and printmaking.
The semi-translucent pieces included in the show, like Memory is a poet and To begin a time (both 2021), hint at the influence of the Art Informel movement through swathes of bursting color and sweeping, gestural brushstrokes. Yet even with the recurring abstract imagery, the artist’s distortive paintings have a distinctive materiality and composition.
At the Art Academy Düsseldorf, Løkke studied under renowned Austrian artist Martin Gostner and is currently in the class of German painter and sculptor Thomas Scheibitz. In 2018, she was an artist in residence at the Oslo-based transnational arts and culture catalyst PRAKSIS. Last year, Løkke received the Young Positions NRW prize—an annual award given to an early-career artist from the German state North Rhine-Westphalia—which led to her first-ever solo exhibition at the Künstlerzeche Unser Fritz.
B. 1974, Lisbon. Lives and works in London and Lisbon.
For Bruno Pacheco, painting is an act of “neutralization,” as the Portuguese artist has described. Rendered in luminous pastel washes, Pacheco’s subjects become detached from context. The resulting images are flattened, ghostly, and impressionistic, toeing the line between representation and abstraction. Under Pacheco’s brush, all subject matter—be they contemporary, historical, landscape, or figural—are rendered in a transient, ephemeral haze.
This past April, Pedro Cera opened “Borrasca,” Pacheco’s first solo exhibition at the Lisbon-based gallery. “Borrasca,” named after the Portuguese word for “storm,” showcased a series of works created within the past year. Looking to dismantle the hierarchies of traditional gallery viewing, Pacheco mounted his canvases back-to-back on rearrangeable, freestanding support structures. Instead of being individually hung on the gallery wall, pairs of paintings became a singular object to be read in relation to one another. “The show is about the unfolding of possibilities,” said Pacheco in a video accompanying the exhibition. “Sometimes there is a relation more with the image. Sometimes there’s more of a relation with the way it’s painted. All of those things are an unfolding of associations that can be created.”
B. 1992, London. Lives and works in London.
For British artist Paloma Proudfoot, who earned her master’s in sculpture from London’s Royal College of Art in 2017, the body has been a recurring motif throughout her ceramic practice. From busts fashioned out of otherworldly mesh to glove-like shapes with rippling, scale-like surfaces, her forms are at once surreal yet deeply familiar. Her wide-ranging practice, which often involves collaborations with artists working in other disciplines and media, has been in overdrive this year.
In February, Proudfoot opened “Project for an Overcoat,” her first solo show at the gallery Editorial in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. Works in the exhibition deconstructed the many meanings and ritual functions of dress and the act of getting dressed. In addition to her characteristic stoneware pieces, the show included ambitious hanging works made from resin, thread, and other materials. Two months later, she and frequent collaborator Aniela Piasecka opened “Ensemble” at Soy Capitán in Berlin. With sculptures mounted on animatronic supports mimicking the body’s natural rhythms, the exhibition was a timely and poignant rumination on human frailty. Proudfoot kicked off the second half of the year with “Ferine” at London gallery TJ Boulting, her first collaborative show with Spanish artist Saelia Aparicio. With this busy string of shows and a stint at Glasgow’s Tramway Residency, 2021 looks likely to figure as a launchpad taking Proudfoot’s career up another notch.
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated Emma Løkke’s educational background. The text has been corrected.