5 Artists on Our Radar This June
“Artists on Our Radar” is a monthly series produced collaboratively by Artsy’s editorial and curatorial teams. Utilizing our editors’ art expertise and our curatorial team’s unique insights 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, whether through online auctions, art fairs, viewing rooms, or sale inquiries through Artsy.
B. 1984, Accra, Ghana. Lives and works in Accra and Vienna.
Over the past two years, we’ve witnessed Amoako Boafo’s meteoric rise in the art world. Since Kehinde Wiley discovered Boafo’s work on Instagram a few years ago, the Ghanaian painter’s portraits of Black figures have become highly sought-after on the primary and secondary markets.
After showing at galleries and art fairs in 2019 with Roberts Projects and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, as well as at the Rubell Museum in Miami, Boafo started 2020 with a major auction moment. At a Phillips evening sale in London in February, his painting The Lemon Bathing Suit (2019) sold for £675,000 ($881,550)—more than 13 times its high estimate of £50,000 ($64,500). And this spring, a flurry of auction action has followed, including the $190,000 sale of Aurore Iradukunda (2020), which was part of the Museum of the African Diaspora’s online benefit auction, hosted on Artsy.
While navigating his recent success, Boafo has been busy at his Accra studio, creating new paintings for a solo exhibition this September with Mariane Ibrahim in Chicago. The show will debut his fresh new approach to portraying members of the African diaspora, this time employing photo transfer to apply European wallpaper patterns to his subjects’ clothing. The new technique came out of the artist’s desire to refresh his repertoire. “Most people know my work to be this expressive face or figure with complementing flat colors,” Boafo recently told Artsy Editorial. “I wanted to do something different.”
B. 1984, Tehran. Lives in New Jersey and works in New York.
Arghavan Khosravi caught collectors’ attention this past May when she was featured in Rachel Uffner Gallery’s booth at Frieze New York’s online edition. The gallery showed several of Khosravi’s most recent works: figurative mixed-media paintings that bring together Islamic motifs, slices of contemporary life, and surrealistic scenarios. The Balance (2019), for example, features a woman wearing paisley-printed athleisure. She attempts to do yoga, yet her legs have multiplied, ghostly hands take hold of her face, and another figure—perhaps a version of herself—gazes at her from behind glass. Khosravi had her first New York solo show at Lyles & King in fall 2019 and opened an exhibition in January at Stems Gallery in Brussels.
Prior to her art career, Khosravi pursued graphic design and illustration; she earned an MFA in the latter discipline in 2009. Through painting, Khosravi found a way to reflect upon and process the traumatic experiences she endured as a young woman growing up in Iran. She moved to the United States and earned her MFA in painting at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2018. She hasn’t left the U.S. since 2015 due to restrictions imposed by President Trump’s travel ban.
In Khosravi’s paintings, her personal conflicts, moods, and memories combine with visual markers of the East and the West, of past and present. Khosravi’s references range from Islamic design and classical and medieval European art to fashion photography and Instagram. She often incorporates and paints on found textiles, adding physical texture and tension that only enhances the dynamic storytelling at play.
B. 1927, New York. D. 2016, Chicago.
After Chicago-based painter Evelyn Statsinger died in 2016, her artwork was disbursed to museums and into a trust. Four years later, her private foundation has been established, and Richard Gray Gallery is able to show her lush, dynamic canvases. In the special Chicago Tribute section of Frieze New York’s online edition in May, the gallery mounted a presentation of Statsinger’s work, where verdant green hues and hints of nature prevailed. Several paintings, which ranged in price from $30,000 to $50,000, sold to collectors in Chicago and New York, while inquiries flooded in from around the world. Richard Gray partner Valerie Carberry said she thought the works’ “exceptional power and quality translated beautifully.…[Statsinger’s] meticulous craft, inventive color palette, and imaginative abstract compositions came through as a bold, fresh statement.”
Statsinger was a contemporary of Chicago’s Imagist and Monster Roster artist circles. Like many of them, she made Surrealist-informed work full of cartoonish forms that flutter on the border between abstraction and figuration. Forest Gift (1987), for example, features the titular greenery, while the bold orange disc at the center remains too strange to pin down. Perhaps it’s an eye—but then what are the red squiggles snaking out of it? Statsinger’s art, on the whole, evokes such uncanny questions and responses. Over the next few years, it’ll be a joy to learn more about her practice, as the foundation’s work unfolds.
B. 1984, Northampton, England. Lives and works in London.
At this year’s online edition of Frieze New York, Daniel Crews-Chubb’s solo presentation with Timothy Taylor was among the few booths to entirely sell out during the fair. In fact, most of the British painter’s textured canvases found buyers in the first hour of the fair’s VIP preview. Last November, Crews-Chubb boasted another sold-out booth with Vigo Gallery at the Shanghai-based art fair Art021. Again, the artist’s buyers represented the top echelon of collectors—the Long Museum acquired one work from the fair, while the co-owners of Art021, Kylie Ying and David Chau, snapped up another.
Crews-Chubb’s paintings are richly layered with references to art history. His floral still lifes are a nod to Vincent van Gogh; his totemic figures recall ancient sculptural artefacts; and his thick, gestural brushstrokes find inspiration in Willem de Kooning’s impasto technique. Up close, viewers can also revel in the subtle textures of his patchwork canvases: Crews-Chubb slashes into the fabric, uses staples to attach parts of other paintings, and showcases the stitched hemline of each canvas scrap. “In a way, I’m a reactionary—my surfaces are a reaction against the flatness of a digital image,” the artist has explained. “They corrode the boundary between sculpture and painting.”
This past April, Crews-Chubb was due to reach his next career landmark: his first institutional show and major public art installation, which had been commissioned by English Heritage for Wellington Arch in London.
B. 1969, London. Lives and works in New York City.
On May 10th, Cecily Brown’s Figures in a Landscape 1 (2001) sold for $5.5 million on Gagosian’s online viewing platform. The work is among the latest big-ticket sales that attest to collectors’ growing comfort with buying art online. The painting, an early example of the artist’s mature style, was billed as “one of the most desirable Cecily Brown paintings to ever come to market,” according to Gagosian director Deborah McLeod. The work is fleshy and visceral; peach-colored figures bend and break around one another in an idyllic landscape. Figures marries the supple figures of a Rubenesque bacchanal and the action-packed gestures of a Willem de Kooning canvas.
Brown’s paintings challenge the viewer to see many things at once: beauty and horror, abstraction and figuration, contemporary subjects and art-historical reimaginings. The British artist received early acclaim when she was taken on by Gagosian at 29, and she has since seen her fair share of commissions, solo shows, and sales. Her work belongs in the collections of esteemed institutions like the Guggenheim and the Tate, and collectors like Emily and Mitchell Rales vie for her sprawling canvases.
Earlier this year, Brown was scheduled to have a major exhibition at the U.K.’s Blenheim Palace, though it’s been postponed due to COVID-19. For the show, she created a series of new works inspired by the space, which reveal a change in tone and subject matter. With a palette of burgundy, hunter green, and chartreuse, Brown painted fresh, ecstatic reimaginings of the historical works that line the Blenheim’s halls—such as hunting scenes and aristocratic portraits by Frans Snyders and Anthony van Dyck. Brown told the Financial Times, “I like the way that I’m infiltrating.”