5 Artists on Our Radar in February 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. 1981, San Diego. Lives and works in New York.
Crys Yin’s painted subject matter has ranged from packs of raw meat on supermarket shelves to ghostfaced dumplings served on soup spoons. But in her newest body of work, the artist meditates on the immeasurable amount of loss we’ve experienced in recent years. Yin’s current solo exhibition at Deanna Evans Projects in New York, titled “Nothing to Exclaim” and on view through February 19th, captures the ritual act of mourning, while softly wishing for reprieve, in quiet still-life paintings.
In Yin’s untitled series of 20 paintings, joss sticks burn in ceramic and glass vessels, emitting delicate plumes of smoke. Though the works are exhibited as one multi-panel piece, the individual paintings refuse to morph into a single image; where one vessel begins on the edge of a panel, it doesn’t continue onto the adjacent piece. These works may be best understood as individual moments of grief, which many of us have experienced since the outbreak of COVID-19. Yin’s work shows that, despite this, mourning is nonetheless a communal act.
Still, the works in the exhibition lack enough context to definitively signal a death. The muted and ghostly color palette in Yin’s “Offering” series, also on view in “Nothing to Exclaim,” can depict a felt absence, or alternatively, a different plane of existence. The half-eaten orange in Offering No. 1 can suggest not a sudden loss, but an accepted gift and a prayer heard.
Yin has exhibited in group shows at galleries and institutions across the United States, including LaiSun Keane in Boston, the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles, and The FLAG Art Foundation in New York. In 2019, Yin was a fellow at A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, where she would have her debut solo exhibition “Room for Salivation” later that year.
B. 1990, Ypsilanti, Michigan. Lives and works in Ypsilanti.
In her captivating photographs of Black women and girls, Ricky Weaver often incorporates surreal touches, like double exposures and obscured faces. As a result, her images are imbued with a powerful sense of mystery and spirituality.
In My First Mind Tells Me (2020), for example, the same woman is shown four times—looking out the window, sitting on the couch, contained in a circular form, and waiting in a doorway. Dressed in a robe and fuzzy slippers in each of her appearances, the figure is turned away from the viewer, completely immersed in her own world and denying our gaze. This work, along with Clothed in My Right Mind (2020) and Where Two or More are Gathered (2020), is currently on view through February 26th at David Klein Gallery in Detroit as part of the group show “Salon Redux.”
As a mother of three, Weaver is deeply invested in expanding and exploring the visual poetics of Black womanhood. “Black women, at large, are still very invisible in most arenas,” Weaver said in a 2017 interview. “Inside and outside of our communities, we are constantly organizing and advocating for social justice for EVERYBODY. Somehow still ignored by major organizations.”
In 2018, Weaver received an MFA in photography from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. That same year, she was awarded the Independent Scholar fellowship from the Carr Center and the Applebaum Fellowship. In addition to her photography practice, she teaches at Wayne State University and Washtenaw Community College.
B. 1987, Massachusetts. Lives and works in New York.
Sophie Stone has become known for works that double as both painting and rug—yet they’re far too technically impressive and aesthetically mesmerizing to be tread upon. The New York–based artist often combines found materials and textiles to form poetic assemblages that can be laid out on the floor, mounted on a wall, or hung from the ceiling like a room divider—assuming different roles in each scenario.
While Stone may toy with the notion of functionality, more interesting are her explorations into the passage of time and materiality, which surface through her process of deconstructing manufactured carpets, rugs, and mats, and adding paint, dye, bedsheets, and other items pulled from her surroundings.
Her latest work appears more painting than rug—even though some work can still be found on the floor. Featured alongside works by Gracie Devito and Annabeth Mark in the group show “Saragossa”—organized by Safe Gallery and on view at Halsey McKay Gallery in East Hampton—Stone’s new work incorporates sheets of cardboard, 1960s-esque floral motifs, scraps of fabric, wooden beads, and rope that acts like frames. Both elegant and rough, the works are no longer textile-bound, yet more compelling than ever in their use of material. In a crowded field of artists harnessing craft and textile, Stone stands out.
Stone earned a BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2009, and has been included in group shows at galleries across the United States, including Safe Gallery, Company Gallery, Nina Johnson, M+B, James Fuentes, Del Vaz Projects, and many others. Her work was included in the 2018 Eckhaus Latta exhibition at the Whitney.
B. 1996, Cape Town. Lives and works in Cape Town.
Weaving together intimate moments of everyday life, Talia Ramkilawan’s soft tapestries champion South Asian women. With light wool textures and playful color arrangements, her self-portraiture and still lifes subvert expectations of explicit, linear narratives. The Cape Town–born artist’s work is currently on view alongside artists Lakin Ogunbanwo, Mia Chaplin, Sthenjwa Luthuli, and more in the group exhibition “40 under 40” at WHATIFTHEWORLD in Tulbagh, South Africa.
Featuring acrylic nails, sneakers, and phrases from her iPhone’s Notes app, Ramkilawan’s traditional tapestries portray the artist’s contemporary experiences as a queer Indian womxn. At once confessional and humorous, her oeuvre reflects on and celebrates kinship, while offering fragments of past memories.
Employing rug-hooking, harnessing, and sewing techniques, Ramkilawan finds solace in textile art, reclaiming a medium that has historically been dismissed as “feminine.” The artist begins each piece by stretching hessian fabric across a wooden frame and outlining images with black marker. After applying wool with a small crochet needle, Ramkilawan threads together strips of fabric and hessian mesh to form her rich backdrops. For the artist, working with these materials provides emotional catharsis.
Ramkilawan has exhibited her work around the world, from Johannesburg to London. Just last year, Ramkilawan’s debut solo exhibition, “Oh, I’m definitely a dessert person,” at WHATIFTHEWORLD sold out.
B. 1989, Clarksdale, Mississippi. Lives and works in Petal, Mississippi.
Whether depicting couples lounging on a dock or scenes from Greek mythology, Nathan Mullins’s work has a quiet monumentality that lends even a painting of a succulent a cosmic weight. In his current two-person exhibition “The Beauty of Solitude”—on view at Adah Rose Gallery in Kensington, Maryland, until March 2nd—Mullins conveys a sense of muted but lyrical desolation on the wide expanse of the baseball field.
For this latest body of work, Mullins sourced imagery from baseball cards, sports videos, and personal photographs taken after the outbreak of COVID-19. “These baseball paintings often end up being, through the lens of the television camera, images of isolation, creating both icons of deified athletes and meditations on the loneliness of social distancing,” Mullins is quoted as saying in the press release.
Mullins earned an MFA from American University and currently teaches at the University of Southern Mississippi. His work has been exhibited at the New York Studio School, Vilnius Academy of Arts, and the Katzen Arts Center.