5 Artists on Our Radar in August 2022
“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.
B. 1991, Honolulu, Hawaii. Lives and works in New Haven, Connecticut.
Bhasha Chakrabarti, Devil's Blue Dye, 2021. Courtesy of the artist and M+B.
Bhasha Chakrabarti, To be so Black and Blue (Alani as Krishnaa), 2021. Courtesy of the artist and M+B.
A recent Yale MFA graduate, Bhasha Chakrabarti uses textiles and mixed media to, as she puts it, “mend” relationships between society and the feminine self. In a recent artist statement, Chakrabarti explains, “by pulling a thread from this literal form of domestic repair to suture frays in the public domain, I attempt to rethink societal wounds, darns, and scars as liminal spaces that can transpose us into futures without erasing the past.” The practice of darning—a form of mending in which the repair to the fabric or garment remains visible—is important here. With the darning metaphor, Chakrabarti calls attention to both the need for social repair and the act of reparation itself.
In other works, such as Ōlelo pā‘ani (Playful Banter) (2019–22), Chakrabarti focuses on intimacy and togetherness. In this double-sided composition, the artist renders two figures against strips of fabric, sewn together in such a way that they act as both the medium for and setting of the scene, a kitchen with colorful wallpaper and a counter, perhaps. The figures stand close together—toes touching—as one scolds the other, who turns, embarrassed, from the viewer. With playful banter, there must be a sense of mutual trust and comfort between the two parties such that the tormentor doesn’t truly insult the tormented, who is empowered to tease back. It’s easy to imagine Chakrabarti’s turning figure smiling, thinking of the best retort for her friend or family member.
Bhasha Chakrabarti’s work is currently on view in the two-person show “Heartbreak Picnic” at Grove Collective in London, and the group exhibition “Vibrant Matters” at Jeffrey Deitch in New York, curated by Melanie Kress. Her work was also recently featured in “Fiber of my being” at Hales Gallery in New York.
B. 1981, Brooklyn, New York. Lives and works in Los Angeles.
In her new solo exhibition “Duplex,” Samantha Roth grapples with oppositions such as interior versus exterior, lightness versus darkness. Featured at L.A.’s Tyler Park Presents, her eerie, narrative drawings, each rendered in black gesso and vibrant colored pencil on paper, suggest elements of life during the COVID-19 lockdown.
In Head to Head (2021), the show’s centerpiece, Roth delves into the experience of living in a duplex apartment during the early months of the pandemic, just a thin wall away from the strangers next door. The work depicts a pair of bedrooms on either side of the neighborly partition. Neon blue hues clash with the inky black background, creating a sense of confusion, mystery, and disorder. Meanwhile, Eavesdropper (2021) portrays a figure with an ear pressed against a wall, ostensibly listening to the neighbors on the other side. A ghostly, translucent arm reaches around the eavesdropper’s body.
By exploring such spatial and conceptual boundaries, Roth communicates a sense of being trapped and isolated. Her spare interiors are full of tension.
Roth holds an MFA from the University of Southern California and a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University. Her works have previously been shown at various Los Angeles galleries, including La Loma Projects, Human Resources, 356 Mission, and Klowden Mann, among others.
B. 1980. Lives and works in Walden, New York.
Alessandro Keegan’s transcendental abstract paintings unite science and mysticism as they capture the essence of the natural world. The New York–based artist takes inspiration from technology and the environment, depicting complex systems of connecting lines and geometric forms that evoke molecular structures.
Keegan’s detailed process begins with quick preliminary sketches. The artist then selects a color palette, primes his wood or canvas surface, carefully draws a final image, and applies oil paint. With alluring color arrangements, meticulous brushwork, and shapes that resemble crystals and liquid droplets, Keegan explores light and space.
In Dream Pot (2022), for example, Keegan blends blue and green pigments against a wood board to create a glistening, jewel-like effect. In Under the Psychic Moon (2022), the artist gives depth to simple shapes, transforming them into floating pyramids and spheres. The work portrays a moon with oval eyes, suggesting the symbiotic relationship between art and nature. “I think art becomes beautiful when it tries to steal some of nature’s perfection, and I feel art becomes poignant when it fails to live up to nature’s perfection,” Keegan shared in an interview with Masthead Magazine.
Keegan earned an MFA in painting and drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MA in art history from Brooklyn College. Over the past few months, his work has been featured in group exhibitions at Asya Geisberg Gallery, Unit London, PRIOR Art Space, and Waterhouse & Dodd.
B. 1993, Stirling, Scotland. Lives and works in London.
Daily realities and social norms undergo funhouse mirror distortions in the large-scale paintings of Sophie Vallance Cantor. Postures become exaggerated and house cats morph into snarling tigers. In THE FIGHT (2022), a pair of tumbling, rotund felines gnaw at each other. Though their bared teeth are intimidating, the painting embraces a playful atmosphere.
Cantor, a neurodivergent artist, makes self-portraits charged with both a sense of knowing performance and an unsettling hint of voyeurism. In Self Portrait with Blue Swimsuit (2022), for example, the artist sits at the center of the image but crosses her legs, staring shyly to the side. A similarly flame-haired figure strikes a confidently muscular pose in LIFE’S A PARADE (2021). Yet a cheetah watches from the background, forcing us to wonder if the predator is just passing through or more nefariously eyeing up its next meal.
Educated at the Camberwell College of the Arts in London, Cantor was a finalist for the 2019 Hopper Prize. Her most recent solo show, “Tiger Stripes and Smoke,” was on view at London’s Guts Gallery last month. She has also mounted a solo show at Aleph Contemporary in London and participated in two-person or group exhibitions at Union Gallery in London, NBB Gallery in Berlin, Arusha Gallery in Edinburgh, and Breach in Miami, among others.
—Brian P. Kelly
B. 1989, Toronto, Canada. Lives and works in Toronto.
Employing the stylization and precise staging of editorial photography, Jorian Charlton captures moments of confident self-presentation. Her subjects, predominantly Black women, gaze directly into her lens. In one 2021 portrait, Toronto-based DJ and producer Bambii crouches on a clear surface, her environs illuminated in swaths of red, pink, and green. The dramatic angle and lighting create a riveting sense of power: Bambii seems poised to press her go-go-booted foot into the viewer’s neck.
Other portraits are infused with tenderness and connection, such as Sydné & Keverine (2020), whose subjects hold each other close. The intimacy of the family photo album inspired Charlton’s exhibition at Art Gallery of Ontario—her first solo museum show—in which she presented her own portraits alongside decades-old photos taken by her father. As she united this intergenerational trove of images, Charlton examined and archived Black diasporic experience—a consistent preoccupation throughout her artistic practice.
Charlton earned her bachelor’s degree in photography at Sheridan College in Ontario and has participated in group exhibitions in Canada and France, including at Patel Brown in Toronto and Les Rencontres d’Arles. She is newly represented by Cooper Cole, following the gallery’s presentation of her solo exhibition “I Am Woman” earlier this year.