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The Artists on Our Radar in 2023

Art

5 Artists on Our Radar in July 2023

Artsy Editorial
Jul 5, 2023 8:28PM

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


Alma Berrow

B. 1992, London. Lives and works in London.

Alma Berrow
Smashed it, 2022
Galería Hilario Galguera

In the height of the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, Alma Berrow began to create her now signature ceramic sculptures. Working in her mother’s studio in Dorset, England, she developed her own playful, intricate approach to the still-life genre, creating satirical scenes of excess—from scallop shells filled with condoms and discarded pistachio shells to kitsch platters of prawns and oysters—that recalled convivial, pre-pandemic gatherings. Each work, unique and entirely made by hand, is as relatable as the next.

Now wildly popular, Berrow’s work has landed her several notable solo and group exhibitions. Recently, she was included in Unit London’s group show “London Calling.” Her exhibited work, Fried (2023), depicts a fry up, an English breakfast staple, cheekily framed with her trademark ceramic cigarette butts.

Alma Berrow
Dadda, 2022
Galería Hilario Galguera
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Berrow studied art and textiles at Falmouth University. She has exhibited at galleries including LAMB and Sapling Gallery in London and Galería Hilario Galguera in Mexico City, and was part of Sotheby’s “(Women) Artists” auction, where her work sold for 824% above its high estimate. In October, she will present her third solo show at LAMB.

—Rose Crosthwaite


Murray Clarke

B. 1992, London. Lives and works in London.

A cozy wool sweater, a relaxed plaid button-down—so often, clothes are visual cues that explain something about the person wearing them. In Murray Clarke’s recent solo show at Moosey, the London-based painter zoomed in on these sartorial choices, depicting fabrics and outfits in magnified, photorealistic detail. The work titles, too, reveal the artist’s focus, referencing commercial product descriptions, like Extra Fine Checked Oxford (2022), where the soft checked fabric of a long-sleeved shirt takes up most of the canvas. The wearer is visible only by their hands, shown carefully tugging the edge of the sleeve to meet the wrist.

Entitled “S01.E01,” a nod to his early career stage, Clarke’s show also featured several paintings using imagery from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz (the artist noted that the exhibition could also have been titled “Emerald City”). The works on show are sincere yet shallow, reminding the viewer of the discrepancy between outward appearances and what lies beneath.

Clarke is also featured in the current group show “STRIPES” at Madrid’s La Causa Gallery and was previously included in “Well Hot” at Dubai’s Volery Gallery. He holds an MFA from Kingston School of Art.

—Josie Thaddeus-Johns


Lou Escobar

B. 1986, Ris-Orangis, France. Lives and works in Paris and Marseille, France.

French photographer Lou Escobar creates surreal, dreamlike portraits that blur the line between truth and imagination. Shooting her subjects against backdrops of motels, diners, and vast deserts, she creates images that evoke the nostalgia of cult cinema, with narrative elements that explore intimacy and sexuality.

In Fatima and Khadim, Dakar (2020), for example, Escobar depicts a serene moment between a couple standing in a radiant sea of water. Similarly, in Untitled (2023), a couple share an embrace on shimmering satin sheets, their naked bodies intertwined. Both works deploy warm palettes and striking textures, with each visual recalling scenes from classic films such as The L-Shaped Room (1962). Escobar uses this stylized staging to bring out the interior lives of her subjects: “I would say that I like depth, strength, emotion, and intensity—at least that’s what moves me. So that’s certainly what I’m trying to capture in my portraits,” she shared in an interview with Fisheye Magazine.

Escobar has exhibited at the international art fair Photo London with Nil Gallery, which represents her. She has collaborated with major brands including Gucci, Nike, and Coca-Cola, and created visuals for leading publications from Vogue to GQ.

—Adeola Gay


Liqing Tan

B. 1994, Qingdao, China. Lives and works in Shenzhen, China, and London.

Liqing Tan
Ecological bathtub, 2022
Taymour Grahne Projects

In Liqing Tan’s enchanting paintings, the Earth and the body fold into one another, suggesting a mystical connection between the two. With soft, gauzy brushstrokes and radiant colors, the Chinese painter alternately renders human forms as stand-ins for natural topography and uses the landscape to reflect the interior lives of her subjects.

These strategies are on view in Tan’s latest body of work, shown by Taymour Grahne Projects in a recent online solo exhibition. Titled “Innermost Things,” the show is flush with tenderness and intimacy: Hands reach for another, couples embrace, animals appear in pairs. In the bittersweet Rainy Day (2022), one figure holds another close against a background of raindrops suspended in the sky like tears rolling down a face. The backdrop and the body merge in Like Mountain Like Sea (2022), where a scene of two mountains bisected by a river also resembles the perspective of a person observing her own torso and legs while lying down.

Liqing Tan
Like mountain like sea, 2022
Taymour Grahne Projects
Liqing Tan
Rainy day, 2022
Taymour Grahne Projects

In suggesting such sublime connectedness, Tan dreams up alternatives to our present moment, when the relationship between humans and the natural world is historically fraught. Occasionally, though, that fantasy is punctured by shards of violence, as with the mysteriously lacerated body that appears in Mark (2022).

Tan received her MFA at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. She has mounted solo exhibitions in Milan and Fukuoka, Japan, and appeared in numerous group shows around her native China.

—Olivia Horn


Margaret R. Thompson

B. 1990, Washington, D.C. Lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Margaret R Thompson
Dusk (Venus), 2023
Tyger Tyger Gallery
Margaret R Thompson
Pink Room, Dawn (After Monet, Bonnard), 2022
Tyger Tyger Gallery

Margaret R. Thompson’s misty, narrative paintings offer a sense of balance—between fantasy and reality; landscape and interiors; figuration and abstraction; calm and excitement. The Santa Fe–based artist’s soft, entrancing scenes are painted in wispy washes of color, built up from an array of materials including oil paint, wax, sand, turmeric, raw pigments, and earth, among others. In the resulting works, figures melts into their environs or a natural landscape hums with life, conveying the artist’s interests in the sacred, dreams, and otherworldly life.

“In my paintings, enigmatic beings, like phantoms, protect boxes holding mysteries, ride motorcycles by Eden’s gates in a blue canyon, ascend to outer heaven above a flaming staircase, and dive for pearls in a half human half moon body,” Thompson wrote in her artist statement. Her works are imbued with her background in anthropology and hints of magical realism and Symbolism, as well as her experiences living in Northern California, the Yucatán, and the New Mexico desert.

Margaret R Thompson
Pilgrimage In Deep Time, 2023
Wilder Gallery

The artist described her latest works, now featured in a two-person exhibition titled “Eidolon” at Tyger Tyger Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina, as being “about sanctuary—hideaways and refuge, moments of concealment, protection… sanctuary as a place, a way of life, a disguise, a state of being.”

Thompson is also currently featured in a group exhibition, “Reverdie,” at Arusha Gallery in Edinburgh, and will be in a three-person exhibition at its London location this November. The artist has been featured in dozens of other exhibitions across the world in the past two years, including at Red Arrow Gallery, Wilder Gallery, and Duran Mashaal.

—Casey Lesser

Artsy Editorial