5 Emerging Artists to Discover at the one x Artsy Exhibition

Cornelia Smith and Casey Lesser
May 27, 2021 5:50PM

This summer, Artsy is partnering with the new retail concept destination one in East Hampton to present the show “New York Rising.”

Featuring 16 New York–based artists, the exhibition offers a glimpse into the city’s emerging art scene—filled with a fresh, rejuvenating spirit that recalls the city’s energy at the onset of spring and summer.

This multigenerational group of artists includes breakout talents in the early stages of their careers and more established, familiar names who are steadily earning widespread recognition. The works on view represent prominent trends across contemporary art, including conceptually driven photography, collage and textile works, surrealistic paintings, and novel approaches to landscapes and still lifes. Here, we spotlight five of the exhibition’s promising emerging artists.

Alanna Fields

B. 1990, Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Lives and works in New York.


Across her multimedia work, Alanna Fields mines archival materials to examine and revisit the historical representation and obfuscation of Black queer people in photography, and culture more broadly. At one, the photographic artist and archivist presents the striking work Untitled (Blue) (2019), a black-and-white image of two people, their faces obscured, with strips of cobalt blue encaustic. The use of encaustic is not just an aesthetic choice. In her bodies of work “Audacity” (2019–present) and “As We Were” (2019), the artist used the wax material to “seal” images of Black queer people and frame their presence, in contrast to the historical concealment of their stories.

Now featured in her first solo show, “Mirages of Dreams Past,” at Baxter Street at the Camera Club of New York, Fields’s new works layer and repeat images of Black queer people from the 1960s and ’70s with wax, exploring notions of longing, memory, and sensuality. A 2019 graduate of the photography MFA program at Pratt Institute, Fields has also shown her work at MoCADA and the Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center. She is represented by Assembly.

—Casey Lesser

Anthony Olubunmi Akinbola

B. 1991, Columbia, Missouri. Lives and works in New York.

The Brooklyn-based artist Anthony Olubunmi Akinbola has recently gained acclaim for his dynamic retort to traditions of abstract painting. Akinbola’s best-known works, several of which are on view at one, are made from durags stretched across canvas. His choice of material offers a fresh, conceptually rich take on monochromatic and color-field painting.

Also known for his ready-made sculptures, Akinbola is quickly gaining esteem for his timely works that consider the divide and conflation of cultures between Black America and the African continent. The artist kicked off 2021 with a solo show, “by Fire by Force,” at the Long Island City–based gallery False Flag, which was named a “must-see” by Artforum, as well as an institutional solo show at the Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Akinbola is currently featured in his first solo show with Night Gallery in Los Angeles, titled “Market.” His works have also been featured at the Queens Museum and the Museum of Arts and Design, both in New York.


Johanna Robinson

B. 1985, Mt. Kisco, New York. Lives and works in New York and Portland, Oregon.

In her paintings, Johanna Robinson delves into the human tendency to share and embrace beliefs that conveniently make sense of the world around us—even if they clash with the hard facts of reality. “My paintings serve as an analogy for the ways in which the political is intertwined within areas of Western objective knowledge,” she told New American Paintings in 2018. “As an artist, I’m invested in the potential of creativity to rethink other ways of being in, and learning about, the world.”

Robinson’s paintings are dense with intrigue and imagination, relishing in whimsical scenarios and world-building. One of her pieces at one, Imagination is defined by what lies outside of it (2020), presents a riff on the famous medieval European “Unicorn Tapestries,” yet the legendary beast is missing, nodding to the history of myths penetrating popular culture. Both paintings in “New York Rising” were recently featured in the group show “The Symbolists: Les fleurs du mal,” curated by Nicole Kaack at HESSE FLATOW in New York. Robinson earned an MFA in painting from Virginia Commonwealth University; she has also recently been featured in exhibitions at Zevitas Marcus, Gaa Gallery, Crush Curatorial, and the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts.


Saskia Fleishman

B. 1995, Baltimore. Lives and works in New York.

Inspired by her upbringing on the Chesapeake Bay, Saskia Fleishman creates work that reflects the stillness and humidity of the wetlands and conveys the hazy nostalgia of her childhood memories. Her process begins with a landscape photograph—often one taken from her collection of family photos of the Bay—that she then abstracts into a carefully drawn-out geometric composition. Pieces of the landscape can be flipped, cut out, rotated, or duplicated, resulting in a collage-like appearance mollified by the shapes’ concise symmetry. In addition to acrylic paint, Fleishman often incorporates different textures such as sand, clay, burlap, and chiffon to enhance illusion and depth. Fleishman’s color palette frequently draws on the hues of sunrises and sunsets, and the arrangement of colors is directly influenced by the color compositions in Josef Albers’s The Interaction of Color.

In Western Sunset Flip (2020), featured in “New York Rising,” airbrushed blue, purple, and orange gradients melt together in blocks that are positioned in stark contrast to one another. Fleishman has honed her skills in several residencies throughout the U.S. and Portugal, and is represented by Cheryl Hazan Gallery in New York. Her work will be featured in the group exhibition “Crystal Symbol,” curated by Kate Mothes, at Tiger Strikes Asteroid later this year.

—Cornelia Smith

Pacifico Silano

B. 1986, Brooklyn. Lives and works in New York.

Pacifico Silano is a lens-based artist whose work examines the intricate histories of LGBTQ life. Silano has garnered critical praise for shedding light on the muted and forgotten lives of queer men during the height of the AIDS epidemic. For the artist, this subject is personal: His uncle died of complications from HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, and subsequently, Silano witnessed the erasure of his uncle’s memory by his family. He has dedicated his practice to making visible the beauty and grief that permeates queer history.

Silano’s work recalls the traditions of the Pictures Generation. Sourcing images primarily from gay porn magazines from the 1970s and ’80s, Silano collages body parts and errant articles of clothing against slices of the natural environment. Boundless Blue (2019) and You Shadow (2019), two works included in the one x Artsy exhibition that were also featured in Silano’s solo show “Speaking Little, Perhaps Not a Word” at the Bronx Museum in 2019, exemplify Silano’s distinctive eye for composition. Since graduating from the School of Visual Arts in 2012, Silano has had solo exhibitions across major cities including New York, London, and Moscow, and is regularly featured in group shows throughout the U.S. and abroad. Earlier this year, he had a solo show “Cowboys Don’t Shoot Straight (Like They Used To)” at the Houston Center for Photography, and he is currently included in the exhibition “Fantasy America” at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Browse the “New York Rising” show online and in person at one, 1 Main Street, East Hampton, New York.

Cornelia Smith
Casey Lesser
Casey Lesser is Artsy’s Associate Director of Content.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the title of Alanna Fields’s solo show at Baxter Street at the Camera Club of New York.