In an era where the term “emerging artist” is popular to the point of overuse, it’s worth considering what it means in any given case—emerging from where, and emerging onto what? In the case of several of the Colombian artists currently featured by Beatriz Esguerra Art at CONTEXT Art Miami, the word “emerging” only applies within a broad context. Santiago Montoya, Max Steven Grossman, and Pedro Ruiz are well established in their native country, only lately breaking onto the international scene and helping to put Colombia on the map as a cutting-edge art center among curators and collectors in Europe and the United States.
Beatriz Esguerra Art specializes in exactly this—promoting Colombian artists, along with a selection of artists carefully chosen from other locations across the globe. At CONTEXT, the gallery’s booth represents five Colombian artists, plus the Iranian artist Hadi Tabatabai and the Uruguayan sculptor Carol Young. What ties all the works together? Clever concepts and playful expressions of creativity, whether the subjects be political or pedestrian. Case in point: Montoya’s colorful critique of global capitalism in SOSOSOS IV (2014) (the medium: “paper money on paper money.”) Santiago Uribe-Holguín, considered one of Colombia’s greatest abstract artists, takes inspiration from the Spanish Informalism movement. His focus on deep geography and closed textures is on display in his mixed media works like Blue Figure on Black Background (2013). Meanwhile, romantic-looking pieces from Ruiz’s “Desires” and “Love is in the Air” series, like In Love... (From the Desires Series) (2014), were actually inspired by dark events in Colombia’s recent history—namely the fumigation of heroin-producing poppies, a process that produced devastating side effects in local populations.
On a lighter level, but exhibiting equal attention to conception, are selections from Grossman’s famous series of fantastical “bookscapes,” like Art V4 White (2014), and dreamy urban photography from his “On the Road” series, captured with low shutter speeds in cities across the world. Together with Tabatabai’s sculptural paintings, Young’s ceramic installations, and Elsa Zambrano’s dioramas, incorporating found objects from gift shops and museums, the works form a temporary collection that’s varied and fascinating—a rich representation of artists who, though they might be considered “emerging” in the US, have been creating art for decades.
Visit Beatriz Esguerra Art at CONTEXT Art Miami, Booth E61, Dec. 2–7, 2014.