5 Artists on Our Radar in July 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. 1989, Castro Valley, California. Lives and works in Oakland.
Bursting with vivid color and playful nude characters, Jeffrey Cheung’s figurative works celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community. From paintings to prints to collaged images, Cheung’s works also serve as vehicles for self-expression and self-discovery. The Oakland-based artist draws from personal narratives, exploring his identity as a queer person of color.
Cheung’s paintings, which are currently on view in a solo show, “River,” at Bim Bam Gallery in Paris, feature lively androgynous figures. His subjects are joyful as they flock together, exuberantly embracing each other. Combining fluid brushstrokes with clean lines, Cheung’s works challenge the traditional male gaze, examining notions of freedom and intersectionality.
Cheung’s talents extend beyond visual art. In 2013, he launched Unity Skateboarding, a queer skating collective that champions inclusivity. That core message is also present in Cheung’s artmaking as he continues to evolve his practice, discovering novel ways to portray the human body. Through empowering depictions of gender and body diversity, Cheung finds beauty in representation.
B. 1975, Athens. Lives and works in Athens.
In his current show “Blinded by choices” at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery in New York, Panayiotis Loukas presents a series of strange and whimsical oil paintings. The Greek artist’s narrative, brightly colored compositions feature a cast of recurring figures and motifs: A cat holds a guitar, lounging at the foot of a tree below a psychedelic sky; a Pan-like figure bathes, lies in bed, and dives into a couch as if searching for loose change. Loukas’s work is playful but has darker undercurrents, too, with elements drawn from folklore, horror, fantasy, and popular culture. He has said he finds inspiration while asleep, mining many of his compositions from dreams.
“Blinded by choices” is Loukas’s first North American solo show, though he has participated in a number of notable exhibitions abroad, including the 2019 show “The Same River Twice,” which was organized by DESTE Foundation and the New Museum for the Benaki Museum in Athens. He has also exhibited at international institutions such as the Onassis Cultural Center in Athens, Kunstraum Innsbruck in Austria, and Palais de Tokyo in Paris.
B. 1995, Bellevue, Nebraska. Lives and works in Detroit.
Gisela McDaniel’s striking figurative paintings are embedded with real stories of violence and trauma. Inspired by personal experience, the indigenous Chamorro artist seeks out female-identifying and nonbinary survivors of sexual assault and violence to interview them, learn their stories, and honor them. McDaniel works closely with her subjects—often indigenous people and immigrants—on each of her indelible, deftly painted works, to decide how they are portrayed. And to ensure that their stories are not forgotten, each painting is accompanied by an audio recording of the interview she conducted with the subject. Through such works, McDaniel amplifies the voices and realities of marginalized individuals, upending dominant power dynamics that have historically silenced them. In the process, she aims to facilitate healing.
McDaniel gained representation with Pilar Corrias in spring 2020, and presented her first solo show with the gallery shortly thereafter. She was recently commissioned to create a new mural and soundscape at the Los Angeles art space The Mistake Room. The work, Sakkan Eku LA (2021), on view through December 2021, was inspired by interviews with L.A. locals about societal injustices that were only heightened by the pandemic. This year, McDaniel is also featured in shows at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. And in 2022, she will have another solo show with Pilar Corrias and will be included in group exhibitions at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.
B. 1990, New York. Lives and works in New York.
In her distinctive, impressionistic portraits of Black women, Dana Robinson uses a technique akin to pulling prints, wherein she presses wood panels directly against a layer of wet paint. The results are seductive and color-drenched images that render figures into blurred abstractions.
Through these works, Robinson aims to demonstrate the way society’s insistence on Black excellence often flattens and reduces the everyday realities of Black life. “By this Excellence becoming an expectation of not just Black success but often survival, we take on a burden that rarely allows us rest, and the generosity of just being basic people who can be wonderfully ordinary,” Robinson wrote in a press release for her show this past spring, “In Celebration of Excellence and The Ordinary,” at the New York–based gallery Selenas Mountain.
“In Celebration of Excellence and The Ordinary” was Robinson’s first solo show, and almost immediately after, she opened a second at Specialist Gallery in Seattle, Washington. The New York artist’s momentum is poised to continue into 2022: Robinson already has solo shows scheduled at Fuller Rosen Gallery in Portland, Oregon, and Haul Gallery in Brooklyn, making her one to watch.
B. 1994, United Kingdom. Lives and works in London.
Hands are central to William Brickel’s figurative paintings. In his current show “I’d Tell You If I Could” at Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles, Brickel depicts male figures alone or contorted around one another, their bodies interwoven in embraces that are at once intimate and withdrawn. The figures’ hands, though startlingly large, are delicate and tender, and reveal the artist’s intent to “evoke empathy.” Brickel has said, “If the hands are wrong, then the whole painting doesn’t work.”
The distorted qualities of Brickel’s subjects reflect the artist’s process of working from memory. Forgoing photographs or any recorded material, Brickel employs his imagination while translating past experiences onto canvas. His works are filled with bits and pieces of personal recollections, filtered through the inevitable fog of human memory. This practice results in meditative compositions that are solemn, beautiful, and captivating.
Brickel’s work will be featured in the upcoming group exhibition “IRL (In Real Life)” at Timothy Taylor in London. The show, which explores tensions between digital interactions and physical experience, will showcase Brickel’s warped yet familiar representations of intimacy among a rich selection of works that encourage viewers to reflect on the isolation of this past year.