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5 Artists on Our Radar This October

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 through new gallery representation, exhibitions, auctions, art fairs, viewing rooms, or sale inquiries on Artsy.

B. 1952, Nyack, New York. Lives and works in Wilmington, Delaware.

Over the past four decades, the American painter Peter Williams has created a body of work that’s vibrant and deeply personal. A true master of his medium, Williams is known for his multi-layered works that blend styles (from pointillism to abstraction), unbear histories of racism, and challenge viewers to uncover the meanings behind the many references that fill his canvases.
Peter Williams
Peter Williams
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Williams works in series, exploring themes such as mass incarceration, police brutality, a superhero named “The N Word,” the black women of the Black Power Revolution, an imaginary Afrofuturist universe, Ferguson, and more. Most recently, he presented a powerful triptych depicting the arrest, death, and burial of George Floyd. “As I go further into the backstory of my work, I feel that it is all about the strength to cross a middle passage, to endure centuries of slavery, and find some place to exist that is not just on the physical plane,” he has said. “I’m trying to find that world inside my painting.”
Critical recognition for Peter Williams’s work has gained momentum in 2020, with an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, co-curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah and Rebecca Mazzei, and the Cressman Center for Visual Arts at the University of Louisville. This past September, he received the prestigious Artists’ Legacy Foundation’s 2020 Artist Award.
—Sarah Gottesman

B. 1990, San Francisco. Lives and works in Berlin.

Rindon Johnson has increasingly been garnering attention for his poetry, writing, and artistic practice over the past five years. In recent months, however, there has been a flurry of interest around the artist: He was shortlisted for this year’s Future Generation Art Prize; and in 2021, he will have solo shows at SculptureCenter, New York, and Chisenhale Gallery, London. The newly commissioned work, which will be presented in differing configurations at both institutions, will incorporate large-scale sculpture and immersive installations. Typical of his multidisciplinary practice, the work explores themes of identity and global socio-environmental concerns.
Rindon Johnson
Rindon Johnson
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Johnson works largely in media art and VR, which he studies as an Associate Fellow at the Universität der Künste Berlin. Works such as the single channel video I First You (11/11) (2018), commissioned by Daata Editions, and the VR work Meat Growers: A Love Story (2019), commissioned by Rhizome and Tentacular 2019, navigate the space between the physical and digital worlds, the imagined and the real. Notions of the self are cast through the lens of romance, nostalgia, and science fiction to create a radical new world that is both dystopian and utopian.
—Gemma Rolls-Bentley

B. 1985, Selangor, Malaysia. Lives and works in London.

London-based artist Mandy El-Sayegh’s process-driven practice investigates systems of order, be they linguistic, bodily, political, or other. She combines unexpected imagery using silkscreen, painting, and collage to create heavily layered canvases. El-Sayegh begins each piece with found fragments, such as clippings collected from newspapers, advertisements, and notebooks. She then, in her words, “sutures” these parts together on the canvas, superimposing disparate materials to construct new narratives.
Mandy El-Sayegh
Mandy El-Sayegh
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El-Sayegh received critical acclaim last year for “Cite Your Sources,” her first institutional solo show at the Chisenhale Gallery in London. For the specially commissioned exhibition, El-Sayegh plastered a section of the gallery with pages from the Financial Times—a newspaper she uses frequently, both for its subject matter and flesh-like color. The show also included her “Net-grid” paintings, an ongoing series of grids painted over silkscreened layers that are meant to symbolize the limitations and confines of language.
Most recently, El-Sayegh has garnered attention for her inclusion in the 2020 Busan Biennale. Her work is currently on view in “A Focus on Painting,” a group show at Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, and will be shown with Lehmann Maupin at Frieze London 2020. The artist is also slated for a solo show this year with Andersen’s gallery in Denmark.
—Juliana Lopez

B. 1995, Accra, Ghana. Lives and works in Accra.

The 25-year-old Ghanaian visual artist Prince Gyasi takes bold, striking images—with his iPhone. Gyasi sets himself apart from many other contemporary photographers not just through his unconventional choice of camera, but also his bold use of color. His images are often digitally altered to create stunning juxtapositions between his subjects’ skin and their coastal surroundings. Gyasi is inspired by the inhabitants of his hometown Accra; he poses them against bright walls and purple skies, emphasizing the beauty of Black skin and challenging dominant Western beauty ideals.
Prince Gyasi
Prince Gyasi
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“The reason why I play with colors a lot is because most visual artists tell African stories in a negative way,” Gyasi said at a social entrepreneurship forum in 2019. He strives to capture joyful images that instill hope and highlight the resiliency of his subjects, but also capture the realities of living in a city where there is a lack of access to food and education. In photos like Agony of an Orphan (2018) and The Wait 2 (2018), Gyasi hints at some of the struggles found in the fishing village of Jamestown where many children don’t know where their next meal will come from. Through both his photographs and the non-profit organization Boxed Kids, which he co-founded with fellow artist Kuukua Eshun, Gyasi raises awareness and aims to provide education to children in Jamestown.
The up-and-coming photographer has recently collaborated with major brands like Apple and GQ and has been showing in Paris with Nil Gallery since 2018. Since joining the gallery’s roster, he’s exhibited internationally at fairs like 1-54 and Sydney Contemporary.
—Sarah Dotson

B. 1985, Seoul, South Korea. Lives and works in New York.

GaHee Park’s recent paintings and drawings feel like voyeuristic glimpses into enigmatic fantasies. Her current show at Perrotin, New York, “Betrayal (Sweet Blood)” features several canvases portraying entangled couples and solitary nude women with perky breasts and pointy fingernails. Often set in domestic spheres, her subjects are frequently sipping aperitifs, indulging in fanciful foods, and accompanied by plants and animals. These lush interiors are laced with strange details—limbs are too long or disembodied; a stray, watchful eye hovers; a shrimp cocktail appears to be crawling with living crustaceans. These slick, seductive canvases are matched by Park’s drawings—detailed studies for her paintings that are beguiling works in their own right.
GaHee Park
GaHee Park
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Park’s early work was informed by her strict Catholic upbringing in Korea: Her days were consumed with bible readings, church, school, and playing the organ. Art became a way to rebel against her patriarchal, sexually repressed surroundings—she drew erotic visions of the body in her notebooks. And though she always knew she wanted to pursue art, women were discouraged from doing so in Korea. During college, she transferred to the Tyler School of Art and Architecture in Philadelphia, where she felt free to explore sexuality in her work, but also discomfited by the way the male gaze objectified women across art history. “At the same time, a lot of students and professors were questioning this, which was inspiring,” Park said in a recent interview. “I wanted to find a way that reflected my experience and my own gaze in my work.”
While her early work was more overtly erotic, over time, Park has addressed sexuality with greater nuance. Her latest works are imagined narrative scenes, at times informed by daydreams, that consider the boundaries between public and private. Windows, mirrors, and other visual interventions are opportunities for subplot, Park has said, though they’re also means of fragmenting the body. “In a single image, I’m trying to express the multiple ways we inhabit our bodies,” Park has said, “physically, psychologically, sexually, socially, and so on.”
—Casey Lesser
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