5 Artists on Our Radar in January 2023
“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. 1993, Wrexham, Wales. Lives and works in Manchester, England.
Long before tufted rugs spawned a viral pandemic-era hobby, Welsh and Ghanaian artist Anya Paintsil learned rug hooking from her grandmother. The technique, passed down through her family for generations, became the basis of her artistic practice. Paintsil’s exuberant, figurative textile works engage with the history of feminine-coded creative labor and reference the artist’s mixed heritage, mining everything from childhood memories of alienation to Welsh and Ghanaian folklore.
Hair is the unifying motif of “Proof of Their Victories,” Paintsil’s current solo exhibition at New York’s Hannah Traore, on view through February 4th. Rendered in shaggy, snagged acrylic and wool yarn, Paintsil’s subjects sport cartoonish features and bemused or aghast expressions. Many are engulfed by their own manes, which are adorned with colorful accessories. The inviting tactility of these works is explicitly referenced by Hate This But Love You 1 and 2 (both 2022), in which disembodied hands are tufted into mounds of synthetic hair. These textiles also evoke the intimacy of doing another person’s hair, their confluence of subject and medium suggesting parallels between fiberwork and hairstyling—two traditions routinely undervalued in patriarchal society.
Paintsil received a BA in fine art from the Manchester School of Art in 2020. She is represented by Ed Cross Fine Art, which presented her debut London solo show in 2022; she has also exhibited at Salon 94 in New York and Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea, Wales.
B. 1998, Isleworth, England. Lives and works in London.
Reimagining elements of the 17th- and 18th-century aesthetic trend known as “chinoiserie,” Hannah Lim’s art practice reclaims motifs from Chinese visual culture that were historically appropriated by European artists and designers. The breadth of Lim’s body of work—which spans sculpture, installation, printmaking, and drawing—is on view through January 21st in her solo exhibition “The Tiger’s Eye” at Huxley-Parlour in London.
Using jesmonite, polymer clay, chalk, and resin gloss, Lim creates elaborate sculptures in the style of snuff bottles, small glass vessels commonly used during the Qing dynasty. Her small-scale sculptures serve as both decorative and functional objects, and feature imagery of tigers, fire-breathing serpents, orchids, and more.
For Creature In The Glowing Window Snuff Bottle (2022), Lim applied soft lilac hues and playful eyeballs to her surfaces to suggest that an insect-like creature is enclosed in the bottle. Employing intricate decorative details and powerful symbolism to reflect on a complex history of exoticism, Lim contemplates ideas of cross-cultural exchange as an artist of Singaporean and British heritage.
In 2020, Lim received a BA in sculpture from the University of Edinburgh. She also holds an MFA from the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford. Her works have appeared in group shows at Delphian Gallery, Berntson Bhattacharjee, 180 The Strand, Saatchi Gallery, and more. In 2023, she will complete an artist residency at Pangolin London.
B. 1993, Shanghai. Lives and works in New York.
For New York–based textile artist Miranda Fengyuan Zhang, materials come first. With a focus on color and texture, she brings semi-abstracted scenes from her memory to life.
In Rice Field I (2022), one of the works on view in Capsule Shanghai’s group presentation at Art SG, Zhang employs contrasting textures to distinguish the varying layers of land in a rice field. Meanwhile, her use of color rhythmically draws the eye back and forth across the handwoven cotton surface, creating a sense of motion and depth. Though the composition is ostensibly flat, Zhang layers three plantlike forms over a horizontal swathe of lavender, forming a foreground, middleground, and background for a scene to emerge. It’s as if the viewer is standing on a hill overlooking an expansive field as it fades into the horizon.
Zhang earned a BFA in studio art at New York University. She has exhibited in solo shows in her home city of Shanghai at Capsule Shanghai and Half Gallery, as well as in New York at Halsey McKay Gallery and Dear Rivington, and São Paulo at Mendes Wood DM. In 2018, she participated in a residency at La Maison de l’Art Contemporain in Asilah, Morocco; and in 2021, she was an artist in residence at Arquetopia Foundation International in Oaxaca, Mexico.
B. 1972, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Lives and works in Minneapolis.
Employing animals as symbols for personal and societal experiences, Julie Buffalohead, an artist and member of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, offers a modern take on native storytelling traditions in paintings that feel wholly contemporary. Her latest body of work, in the recently closed exhibition “Noble Coyotes” at Jessica Silverman, is no different.
With horizonless, jewel-toned fields of oil paint on canvas, or sparse black ink on ivory paper, Buffalohead’s compositions have a dreamlike quality. Dogs and coyotes with rabbits and bears, anthropomorphic in their antics, converge around objects as lighthearted as a Monopoly board or as loaded as a feather headdress.
In some works, such as All Are Welcome (2022), Buffalohead’s creatures engage in social commentary. Created in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, the painting features a group of white ermine enclosed in a circular picket fence with conflicting signs: one reads “ALL ARE WELCOME HERE,” while the other says “PRIVATE COMMUNITY—NO TRESPASSING.” Other paintings are more personal: Isle of Dogs (2022) depicts a woman lying down among canines as a muskrat brushes her hair, a scene suggestive of the artist’s own experiences of caring for her mother.
Buffalohead earned a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1995 and an MFA from Cornell University in 2001. She has had solo exhibitions at the Denver Art Museum; the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Her work is housed in museum and university collections across the United States.
B. 1993, England. Lives and works in Cornwall, England.
“It’s very stereotypically English to be awkward about physical intimacy,” Nettle Grellier said in a 2019 interview. “I paint people who are at ease in each other’s presence.” Those depicted in Grellier’s work, such as the British artist’s friends and family, are suspended in states of joy, exploration, relaxation, and sensitivity. Often in enigmatic circumstances and situations, they engage with one another and the natural world around them.
Grellier concluded 2022 with a residency at London’s Eve Leibe Gallery, as well as a two-person show with fellow Briton Georg Wilson at Soho Revue. Titled “Even The Worm Will Turn,” the exhibition was Grellier’s second at the London space and one of six shows that presented her work over the course of the year.
After receiving a foundation diploma at the University of Kingston in 2012, Grellier earned a BA with honors in fine art painting at the University of Brighton in 2015. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at galleries across the U.K.—including Line Gallery, That Art Gallery, Delphian Gallery, and Huxley-Parlour—and in group shows throughout Europe and the U.S., at galleries such as Ground Floor Contemporary, Unit London, and Pang! Projects.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Nettle Grellier lives and works in London. She lives and works in Cornwall, England.