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The Artists on Our Radar in 2021

Art Market

5 Artists on Our Radar in October 2021

Artsy Curatorial and Artsy Editorial
Oct 1, 2021 5:33PM

“Artists on Our Radar” is a monthly series produced by the Artsy team. 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.


Emma Safir

B. 1990, New York. Lives and works in New York.

While completing an MFA in painting and printmaking at Yale, artist Emma Safir developed a complex artistic language of lush textures and disorienting patterns and prints. By masterfully manipulating textiles through weaving, stitching, scrunching, and pleating, Safir creates mesmerizing works that play with illusion and materiality, mimicking the appearance of digital glitches and moiré patterns.

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Just a few months out of graduate school, Safir has already been included in a flurry of exhibitions. In June, her work was featured in a group show curated by David Zwirner director Ebony L. Haynes at Lyles & King in New York. Titled “In Praise of Shadows,” the exhibition was a revisited iteration of Safir’s thesis show at Yale. Safir also received a solo show at New York’s Shin Haus last month, and currently has her work featured as part of Pentimenti Gallery’s presentation for Philadelphia’s 20/20 Photo Festival alongside pieces by MiMi Jung and Melissa Joseph.

—Shannon Lee


Emmanuel Massillon

B. 1998, Washington, D.C. Lives and works in New York and Washington, D.C.

Emmanuel Massillon
Latter to the Top , 2021
UTA Artist Space
Emmanuel Massillon
Death Diet, 2021
UTA Artist Space

Past and present are in animated dialogue in Emmanuel Massillon’s work. His paintings and sculptures—such as those featured in his current solo show, “Clear As Mud,” curated by ​​Tara Fay Coleman at Brooklyn’s Swivel Gallery—bring together found materials loaded with both historical and contemporary meanings. Massillon’s incisive juxtapositions underline the ways in which histories of domination and resistance continue today.

In the sculpture Superbowl Sundae (2021), for instance, an upside-down football helmet is filled with cotton balls and topped with a cherry and spoon. This absurdist work draws parallels between the U.S. cotton industry’s historical reliance on enslaved workers and today’s professional sports industry, which monetizes the physical and mental abilities of athletes who are disproportionately Black. The sculpture Undercover Fed (Irony of the Negro Policeman) (2020), whose title references a famous Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, features a wood figure in the tradition of historical West African statues adorned with a toy gun, handcuffs, and a police badge. It’s an extreme instance of the type of double-consciousness that Massillon explores throughout his powerful, poignant work.

—Benjamin Sutton


Giorgio Celin

B. 1986, Barranquilla, Colombia. Lives and works in Barcelona.

Giorgio Celin
La pequeña alcoba (sombras), 2021
Breach
Giorgio Celin
Ay, papi, 2021
Breach

Through fluid brushstrokes and vibrant colors, Giorgio Celin portrays a multi-faceted Latinx diaspora, one inclusive of queer, trans, Indigenous, and Afro-Latinx peoples. Last summer, the artist presented his first solo show in the U.K., “Las Olas,” which translates to “the waves.” In these paintings, friends and lovers, some with tears in their eyes, embrace under the full moon. On view at Eve Leibe Gallery in London, the exhibition served as a continuation of “Pájaros del Atlántico,” or “Birds of the Atlantic,” Celin’s virtual show with the gallery, which took place last February.

Giorgio Celin
Dilema del erizo, 2021
Breach

With titles such as Ni De Aqui Ni De Alla (2021), which translates to “neither from here or from there,” and Tan Largos,Tan Grises, Mis Dias Sin Ti... (2021), or “So Long, So Gray, My Days Without You…,” the works in “Pájaros del Atlántico” meditated on the melancholy and loss associated with Latinx migration. Having relocated to several cities in Europe before settling in Barcelona, Celin shares in the experiences of his painted figures. The artist’s most recent work is currently on view in the Ed Broner-curated group exhibition “Oh Baby” at Breach in Miami. Here, Celin’s figures continue to swirl around one another in the artist’s signature style, holding each other close.

—Harley Wong


Kirsten Deirup

B. 1980, Berkeley, California. Lives and works in New York.

Kirsten Deirup
Lost Cause, 2021
HESSE FLATOW

Picking up where Surrealists like René Magritte left off, Kirsten Deirup pairs unexpected objects with haunting landscapes in her dark, delightful paintings. In Star (2019), a Giuseppe Arcimboldoinspired face composed of fruit, a crushed can, and a lone Ritz cracker, has all the stillness of solemn Renaissance portraiture. Meanwhile, in Lost Cause (2021), a banana peel inches gingerly over a bone in a field of carefully rendered daisies. “I’m trying to reconcile that romantic, idealistic view of natural beauty with what we, as humans, are actually doing to the environment. I don’t mean them to be environmentalist in a pedantic way, but it is something I’m always ruminating on,” she has said.

Kirsten Deirup
Long Shot, 2021
HESSE FLATOW

Deirup graduated from The Cooper Union in 2002 and has since had her work shown widely, including at Pierogi Gallery, Amsterdam’s The Garage, and at a solo show at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery. In “Hyper Pastoral,” her current show at Hesse Flatow, Deirup debuts a new body of paintings that probes the uncanny boundaries between the natural and human-made in an era marked by capitalist overproduction and impending climate disaster.

—Leah Gallant


Shafei Xia

B. 1989, ShaoXing, China. Lives and works in Bologna.

Shafei Xia
La bocca, 2021, 2021
P420
Shafei Xia
Candles, 2018
P420

Rendered in watercolor, Shafei Xia’s lush, pastel-hued paintings on paper (and more recently, ceramics) put a surrealistic twist on the opulent stomping grounds of the wealthy. Set at the philharmonic, the circus, or at tea parties, Xia’s upscale environments are contrasted by rosy-cheeked, nude couples engaging in sexual acts or with tigers performing human-like activities while posh spectators casually look on. The artist has said that she is inspired by the playfulness that artists like Henri Matisse, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and filmmakers like Federico Fellini imbued in their work. Through the delicate rendering of the figure’s faces and poses, Xia combines elements of humor, erotica, and violence to explore the imagined relationships between people and animals.

Shafei Xia
Danza, 2020
P420
Shafei Xia
Dollhouse, 2020
P420

In 2019, Xia received the Talent Prize at the Fondazione Zucchelli per l’Arte, which awards scholarships to emerging artists studying at the the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna in Italy. Last year, Xia graduated from the academy with a degree in visual arts and, a few months later, received her first solo gallery show, which inaugurated Bologna-based P420’s new project space P420^2. The artist’s works were recently presented in two additional solo shows in Italy at Antonini Milano and Francesca Antonini Arte Contemporanea this past April and June, respectively.

—Kaylie Felsberg

Artsy Curatorial
Artsy Editorial

Thumbnail image: Giorgio Celin, “mienteme bien,” 2021. Courtesy of the artist and Eve Leibe Gallery.

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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019