9 Artists to Watch at NADA Miami

Scott Indrisek
Dec 8, 2017 12:12AM

NADA Miami, 2017. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.

NADA celebrates its 15th year in Miami this week, returning to the venue—Ice Palace Studios—where its very first edition took place. The fair is a far cry from the blue-chip bustle of Art Basel in Miami Beach. Here, collectors hang out on surreal hammocks designed by Ioanna Pantazopoulou, and the indie-rock icons Superchunk played a Thursday afternoon set on the outdoor patio. Artsy walked the booths to highlight nine of the strongest talents to watch, with works ranging from Grateful Dead readymades to intricately layered abstract paintings.

Marie Herwald Hermann

B. 1979 in Copenhagen. Lives and works in Detroit

Reyes Projects, Booth 1.08

Installation view of Reyes Projects’s booth at NADA Miami, 2017. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.


“With clay, you have 10,000 years of history to work with, or against,” the artist tells me, describing a practice that mixes ceramics with mass-produced materials like thread, resin, and latex. This smartly curated solo booth is papered with a William Morris wallpaper that the artist grew up with in her grandmother’s Danish home. As Reyes Projects managing director Bridget Finn tells me, Hermann’s style grows partly from her upbringing: the “clean line, white-box aesthetic” favored by her architect-parents, and the more florid, ornamental spirit of her grandmother. Both divergent tastes combine in Hermann’s delicate, light hearted assemblages, which place elegant vessels alongside often humorous, thumb-imprinted forms on porcelain shelves. A few of the intimately scaled sculptures are on offer for around $3,000, with the largest piece here commanding $6,500.

Jessica Dickinson

B. 1975 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York

James Fuentes, Booth 1.05

Installation view of James Fuentes’s booth at NADA Miami, 2017. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.

At this point in contemporary art history, the mere phrase “process-based abstraction” might understandably have you running for the door. But reserve your judgement for this New York-based artist, who makes tactile, assiduously worked paintings—many of them oil on polymer—that have the sculptural feeling of reliefs. (A gallery representative tells me that Dickinson once studied abroad in Italy, where she became obsessed with frescoes.) Each finished work, priced here at around $75,000, takes about a year to complete, and comes with a sequential series of graphite rubbings—dubbed “remainders”—that the artist creates as she adds and subtracts layers of paint, sands down the surface, and rethinks her composition. A recent gallery show in New York presented one finished work with nearly 20 rubbings that charted its progress.

Mark A. Rodriguez

B. 1982 in Chicago. Lives and works in Los Angeles

Park View/Paul Soto, Booth 7.10

Installation view of Park View/Paul Soto’s booth at NADA Miami, 2017. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.

The artist’s diverse practice encompasses everything from ramshackle lamps to giant painted sculptures of flowers. In 2nd Gen (2010–17), he drills down on a very niche group: Grateful Dead fanatics who recorded, hoarded, and traded live concert tapes. As Paul Soto tells me, the artist made it his mission to source and collect around 2,800 of these cassettes, compiling them into what he thinks of as an “archaeological hippy relic.” The goal, in short, is to take “economics of desire or ego” and “bring them into art context.” Rodriguez’s piece could, of course, double as a usable music archive for any Jerry Garcia groupie who still owns a tape player. But as a sculpture it also becomes something of an unnerving monument, all those cassette spines reminding us that we’ll be DEAD DEAD DEAD someday, too.

Tracy Thomason

B. 1984, Gaithersburg, Maryland. Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York

Marinaro, Booth 8.01

Installation view of Marinaro’s booth at NADA Miami, 2017. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.

The abstract painter builds her surfaces up, and up, and up, painstakingly constructing lines out of pigment mixed with marble dust. Scratches, angles, and swooping curves occasionally converge into hints of figuration, but for the most part the main event here is the interplay of texture, color, and energetic shapes. Her inclusion at NADA comes in tandem with a solo show at Marinaro back in New York, on view through December 22nd. (Full disclosure: My own apartment-based gallery project, Teen Party, inaugurated with a two-person exhibition that paired Thomason with Peter Halley—the Day-Glo, Roll-a-Tex-favoring painter whose legacy she continues to be inspired and informed by, but to very different effect.) Smaller canvases are $3,300, with the largest available work for $6,600.

Scott Alario

B. 1983 in New Haven, Connecticut. Lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island

Kristen Lorello, Booth 5.02 (NADA Projects)

Installation view of Kristen Lorello’s booth at NADA Miami, 2017. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.

The handful of photographs (all dye-sublimation prints on metal) depict familial moments, many starring the artist’s three-and-a-half-year-old son, Marco. As Lorello tells me, Alario thinks of his wife and kids as active collaborators in his practice. Here, we see Marco wide-eyed, holding a lollipop; obscured by the neon-pastel netting of a hammock; or hiding behind a Star Wars cereal box. The underground art scene in Alario’s home base of Providence, Rhode Island, is “almost synonymous with an exuberant, colorful, almost psychedelic palette,” Lorello says, citing a tangential influence on these photographs from local collectives like Forcefield. New Yorkers not down in Florida for the fairs can check out Alario’s solo show “Soft Landing,” opening December 13th at Lorello’s Lower East Side gallery. The photos here are all in an edition of three, with tiered pricing between $2,800 and $3,200.

Amba Sayal-Bennett

B. 1991. Lives and works in London

Carbon 12, Booth 6.10

Installation view of Carbon 12’s booth at NADA Miami, 2017. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.

Using ink and marker, this Goldsmiths Ph.D. candidate makes schematic, playful drawings that can resemble buildings, jewelry, electrical diagrams, or anything in between. (Gallery director Nadine Knotzer calls them a “reduction of daily objects,” noting that the artist would rather their individual inspirations remain a mystery.) Complex geometries are enlivened by squiggly patterned passages that owe a lot to the Memphis Group. Each tiny—8 ¼-by-5 ⅞ inch—drawing is available for $700 each; larger compositions on gridded paper run $1,400. Sayal-Bennett also occasionally makes floor sculptures that bring the same formal concerns into three dimensions; an example is on view here, a unique MDF-and-automobile-paint installation with a price tag of $16,000.

Karen May

B. 1950

White Columns, Booth 1.03

Installation view of White Columns’s booth at NADA Miami, 2017. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.

May works with the NIAD Art Center in Richmond, California—a nonprofit dedicated to assisting artists with disabilities—and the drawings on view here are all done on repurposed Artforum ads. The artist marks up and augments the glossy, full-page endorsements—for the likes of Tony Cragg at Marian Goodman, or James Lee Byars at Michael Werner—using them as a structure upon which to build new compositions. White Columns director Matthew Higgs explained that May soon noticed how prominent each artist’s name loomed in the advertisements, so she began adding her own name to the front of her drawings, even bigger. (The same tactic certainly worked out well for Josh Smith.) They’re priced to move at a modest $200 a piece, framing included.

Cheyenne Julien

B. 1994 in the Bronx, New York. Lives and works in New York

LOYAL, Booth 2.09

Installation view of LOYAL’s booth at NADA Miami, 2017. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.

The buzzy Stockholm gallery only has a single canvas by this 23-year-old New Yorker, but it’s a winner. In Emerging Artist, an aspiring youngster upends a bucket of paint over her own head, looking simultaneously exuberant and befuddled. (It’s an expression that feels familiar after a week of Miami art fairs.) Julien’s other compositions are generally more colorful than this one, offering figurative scenes of domestic life. This large painting—a black-and-white departure from the artist’s typically colorful palette—is on offer for $8,500.

Elizabeth Atterbury

B. 1982 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Lives and works in Portland, Maine

Mrs., Booth 8.22 (NADA Projects)

Installation view of Mrs.’s booth at NADA Miami, 2017. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.

Atterbury apparently used to make compositions in sand, ephemeral drawings that she would then photograph. Since then she’s moved into a more sculptural mode, using wood, sand sourced from Maine or Florida, and mortar to create discrete objects and paintings, of a sort. Gallerist Sara Maria Salamone explains that the artist’s underlying system is built upon a hermetic, self-generated alphabet, albeit one that’s not legible to outsiders. Other forms are culled from unexpected sources (like a hairpin, or the tops of breast-milk storage containers). Each piece has its own distinct personality; when arranged in mixed company, they become “an ensemble, like a cast,” Salamone says. Mrs.’s pocket-sized booth arrays a number of individual pieces into a tableaux. A free-standing, painted-wood frame runs $1,800; mortar paintings are $1,500; a seductively simple “hairpin” form carved from wood will set you back a mere $800.

Scott Indrisek