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The Artists on Our Radar in 2022

Art

5 Artists on Our Radar in March 2022

Artsy Editorial
Mar 4, 2022 7:26PM

“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.


Theodora Allen

B. 1985, Los Angeles. Lives and works in Los Angeles.

Theodora Allen’s paintings conjure mythical and celestial forms. At times evocative of 19th-century cyanotypes, Allen’s paintings straddle the line between the tangible and mystical, if not outright majestical, in terms of representation and content.

Allen recently concluded her third solo exhibition with Blum & Poe, entitled “Syzygy.” The exhibition culls Allen’s interest in the esoteric, poetic, musical, and mythological—translating them into minimal figurative motifs of plants, flowers, and stars across a largely blue and white palette of oil on linen. Allen finalizes her pieces through the application and removal of several coats of translucent oils to weather her work and reveal the materiality of her process.

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Allen received an MFA in painting from the University of California, Los Angeles. She recently exhibited in the 2021 Dallas Art Fair, and had featured booths with Blum & Poe at Art Basel in Hong Kong in 2020 and Art Basel in Miami Beach in 2019. She is represented by Blum & Poe and Kasmin.

—Ayanna Dozier


Chechu Álava

B. 1973, Piedras Blancas, Spain. Lives and works in Paris.

Through misty, ethereal portraits, Chechu Álava investigates the roles of women in ancient and modern mythology. In her debut U.K. solo exhibition, “A Timeless Story,” which opened at Cob this month, Àlava depicts iconic writers and artists, such as Clarice Lispector and Lee Miller, and the Three Graces—figures from ancient Greek mythology. Juxtaposing the deified Graces with celebrated modern-day women, Álava celebrates her subjects’ artistic achievements.

In The Writer’s Table (Virginia Woolf) (2021), Álava shows a desk with an open notebook, a cup of water, and a vase of fresh flowers. The tableaux looks as if Virginia Woolf has stepped away for a moment. By using Woolf’s tools as an entry point to her genius, Álava provides the viewer a privileged glimpse into the author’s world. It’s important to note that such veneration of artists has a long history—though the artists celebrated are often men, as seen in Raphael’s The School of Athens (1509–11), which is full of male philosophers, artists, and mathematicians. Since Woolf herself is not pictured, she’s completely removed from the view of the male gaze and cannot be judged by her appearance. This way, Álava both elevates her subjects—with an emphasis on their talents—to the level of myth, and critiques the patriarchal lens through which they are often viewed.

Álava earned a BFA in fine arts from the University of Salamanca. Her works have appeared in solo and group exhibitions across Europe, the United States, and elsewhere, including at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Spain and SMAC in South Africa.

—Isabelle Sakelaris


Padma Rajendran

B. 1985, Klang, Malaysia. Lives and works in Catskill, New York.

Padma Rajendran
Pomegranates, 2021
Taymour Grahne Projects

Padma Rajendran’s paintings transverse borders of being, both in space and in body. Rajendran has described her practice as a collision of patterning and structure that invokes seamstress design and production. Her dye-on-silk pieces range from reflecting the mundane of domestic interiors, like a dinner plate, to the spaciousness of geographic landscapes, like a mountain range. The bright pinks bleed into one another to create a graphic display of intense color that is distinctively haptic due Rajendran’s use of silk. Her work was recently featured in the group exhibitions “Notes from the Motherland” at Aicon Gallery in New York and “Still Going” at Taymour Grahne Projects in London.

Rajendran received a BFA in fine arts at Bryn Mawr College and an MFA in printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design. She has had solo shows at BRIC and Ortega y Gasset Projects, and has a forthcoming exhibition at SE Cooper Contemporary. Rajendran’s work has been featured across over 30 group shows at galleries like C24, Wassaic Project, and September Gallery, among others. Rajendran is a 2021 Erie Arts & Culture Resident.

—Ayanna Dozier


Gherdai Hassell

B. 1991, Paget, Bermuda. Lives and works in Manchester, England.

Gherdai Hassell
Zones of interaction, 2019
Black Pony Gallery
Gherdai Hassell
On Midsummer's Eve, 2021
Black Pony Gallery

Gherdai Hassell uses archival materials to create dazzling collages of Black women that reflect her own diasporic experiences growing up in Bermuda and educated in China. Heavily influenced by Afrofuturism, Hassell culls and remixes the past to generate images of the future. Eyes and lips are cut out of the pages of a magazine and framed by watery swatches of ink influenced by Chinese calligraphy. Sunglasses, hats, and clothes are fabricated from a patchwork of found textures. By piecing together disparate fragments, Hassell affirms an expansive, multifaceted existence where the sum is greater than its parts.

Gherdai Hassell
Permanently together, 2019
Black Pony Gallery

Hassell’s work is currently on view at TERN Gallery in the group exhibition “Stick It,” which highlights the collage-based practices of Hassell, Cydne Jasmin Coleby, BBird Ronald Cyrille, and Steven Schmid. Hassell received an MFA in fine arts from the China Academy of Fine Art. This past January, the artist was shortlisted for the Manchester Open Awards and was also selected to participate in the 13th edition of the African Biennial of Photography.

—Shannon Lee


Jacopo Pagin

B. 1988, Italy. Lives and works in Brussels.

Jacopo Pagin
Gallant Shadows for Extended Pleasures, 2021
Everyday Gallery

In a given canvas by Jacopo Pagin, one may find a mélange of a Hollywood starlet, Surrealist photography aesthetics, and a delicate Murano glass goblet. In these ethereal works, the rising Italian artist employs art historical techniques and tropes while imbuing his own fresh mastery of color and form in thin, elegant veils. Pagin is becoming increasingly known for his psychedelic paintings that bring together figures and objects in almost spiritual compositions that remarkably envision the notion of illusion.

Jacopo Pagin
Untitled, 2022
Make Room
Jacopo Pagin
Boiling Point, 2021
Make Room

In his current exhibition at Make Room in Los Angeles—his first solo show in the United States—Pagin considers fata morgana, a phenomenon from Italian folklore whereby dreamy visions of castles, conjured by fairies, appear on ocean horizons and dangerously tempt sailors towards their demise. The show, titled “Fata Morgana,” embraces the notion literally and metaphorically through enigmatic objects and figures; brilliant colors that recall where sea meets sky; and the undeniably alluring, enigmatic nature of this body of work.

Pagin studied painting and decoration at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice before finishing his MFA in fine arts at the LUCA School of Arts in Brussels. In 2021, he was featured in a solo show at Everyday Gallery in Antwerp, and his work was included in group shows internationally at galleries including Woaw in Hong Kong and Matèria in Rome. In 2020, he exhibited in Manifesta 13 in Marseille.

—Casey Lesser

Artsy Editorial