5 Artists on Our Radar in March 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. 1992, Manchester, England. Lives and works in London.
Charlotte Edey’s transcendent textile works serve as portals into other worlds, navigating between the political and the spiritual. The British artist’s practice often begins with soft pastel or pencil drawings, which she transposes to tapestry using a digital jacquard loom, then adds detail with hand embroidery, beading, and satin stitching. The resulting compositions weave together celestial motifs and personal mythologies to explore ideas of race, gender, and selfhood.
With In Cold Water, Her Curls Became Liquid (2021), Edey touches on her mixed Caribbean heritage. Using embroidered silk and freshwater pearl, she depicts tangled strands of curly hair immersed in a teardrop—the shape of which is emphasized by the work’s sculptural walnut frame. By incorporating markmaking techniques, Edey creates a textured surface reminiscent of natural hair.
In 2011, Edey received a diploma in visual communication and illustration from the Chelsea School of Art and Design, and she graduated from the Royal Drawing School in 2021. Featured in publications from Elle to Dazed, Edey’s work is currently on view through March 4th as part of a group show, “Eternal Reverie,” at 1969 Gallery in New York. Her upcoming solo exhibition “framework” will be on view from March 18th through April 22nd at Ginny on Frederick in London.
B. 1989, Los Angeles. Lives and works in Kansas City.
At first glance, Kevin Umaña’s bold paintings are flat geometric abstractions; on closer inspection, they are rich investigations of color, materiality, pattern, and place.
In “Wayfinding,” Umaña’s recent solo show at Sperone Westwater, he presented a new series of “hybrid paintings” that incorporate glazed ceramics into painted canvas compositions. Inspired by his upbringing in El Salvador, the pieces are imbued with visual references to fragmented memories. Playing with our inclination to seek recognizable forms within abstraction, Umaña’s vivid titles—like Arms Through the Button Up Shirt or Mom’s Birds in Los Angeles (both 2022)—suggest narratives that may not be immediately evident to the viewer.
In addition to his personal history, the work featured at Sperone Westwater is informed by collective history—namely, that of the Pipil people, a Mesoamerican Indigenous group to whom Umaña has ancestral ties. The artist’s exploration of his roots is grounded in geography: “I want my materials to talk back to me, so I often incorporate materials from those locations,” he said.
Umaña received a BFA from San Francisco State University in 2014 and has had recent solo exhibitions at Greg Hardwick Gallery in Columbia, Missouri; Praise Shadows Gallery in Boston; and David Richard Gallery in New York. He co-founded the Kansas City–based, artist-run gallery The Ekru Project, which focuses on emerging talent.
B. 1993, Madrid. Lives and works in Madrid.
Environmental factors are Violeta Maya’s principal collaborators on her spare, elegant paintings. In a process recalling Abstract Expressionist artist Helen Frankenthaler’s soak-stain method, Maya works on wet canvas laid out on the ground and allows the surface to diffuse her pigments into soft, colorful contours. Humidity and temperature influence the final outcome, making the canvas a record both of the artist’s hand and of the place in which it was painted.
In “A Site,” a group show on view at Madrid’s Alzueta Gallery through March 25th, Maya presents work that collaborates with the environment in additional ways. Delicate paintings on silk, like Mujer de pocas palabras VIII (2023), hang loosely from the wall, fluttering in response to the movement of viewers through the space. The artist considers painting to be a meditative process; with their gentle motion, balanced compositions, and soothing pastel palettes, these works cultivate quiet contemplation in the viewer, too.
Maya received a BA in design from Central Saint Martins in London. She has exhibited widely in her native Spain, including at Carrasco Art Gallery and Galeria De Arte Rodrigo Juarranz.
B. 1982, Valladolid, Spain. Lives and works in London.
Spanish artist Saelia Aparicio highlights the body, folklore, and women’s agency through sculpture, murals, and textiles. Inspired by mythological beings, artists, and figures from pop culture, her functional sculptures work as both portraits and design objects, capturing their female subjects in moments of repose while offering a seat on which viewers themselves can rest.
One such work, included in the current group show “The Fine Line,” on view at Gallery FUMI through March 11th, is Harpy (2023). Beginning in ancient Greek art and literature, “harpies”—half-bird, half-woman creatures—were made out to be ugly pests. But unlike the characters in Homer’s poems, Dante’s Inferno, and Shakespeare’s Tempest, Aparicio’s harpy is beautiful and calm, her eyes closed as if in sleep or meditation. She is not a creature to be avoided, but one whose presence is inviting and playful, as evidenced by the smiley faces that adorn her toes and neck. Here, Aparicio asks the viewer to consider whether this traditionally monstrous female figure must always incite fear or annoyance.
Salia Aparicio earned her MFA in sculpture at the Royal Academy of Art in 2015. She has exhibited internationally at Friedman Benda in New York, carlier | gebauer in Berlin, and elsewhere. In 2019, she won the Fundación Montemadrid’s prestigious Generaciones award for emerging artists.
Caleb Hahne Quintana
B. 1993, Denver. Lives and works in New York.
Figurative drawings and paintings in soft, transcendental colors are Caleb Hahne Quintana’s calling card. Snapshots of boyhood and hazy summers are seen through recurring motifs: interlocking hands, a boy on horseback, or a glass of water, held up reverentially. Quintana’s delicate portraits often conceal their subjects’ faces—they turn away from the viewer as they wade through shallow seas, or are obscured by a book while lounging in the sun.
In December, the artist mounted “AURORA,” his first solo presentation at Anat Egbi, featuring paintings depicting haunting, luminous scenes of suburbia alongside the drawings with which his process begins. Third Bridge (2022), for example, depicts a teenage boy sitting confidently on the hood of a car, the moon rising above mountains in the background. The study for this painting is small-scale, a rough outline of color and texture, yet brought to life by faithfully rendered details. Quintana calls the drawing side of his practice “liberating,” compared to “the more arduous act of painting.”
Quintana received a BFA from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, and has exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, and the Denver Art Museum.