As a dealer in contemporary art, Myrtis Bedolla, founder and director of her eponymous Galerie Myrtis, knows what it means to keep up with the new and the now. In that spirit, she formed a panel of jurists, composed of both local and international arts professionals, and tasked them and herself with putting their collective finger on the contemporary art pulse. And so they did. This fall, the gallery presents a wide-ranging exhibition of art made by 60 artists hailing from an equally diverse assortment of countries (among them United States, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Israel, and Finland), titled “Emergence 2014: International Artists to Watch.” And so we should.
Among the paintings, photographs, sculptures, videos, works on paper, and mixed media compositions on view is Ruth Pettus’ whimsical still life sculpture, Shoe III (2013). On a painted and weathered wooden plank sit a pair of black shoes, each one topped by a chunk of rock, and separated from each other by a line of dried lemons. At once playful and formal, this small but visually intriguing piece reads as a new take on the long still life tradition, in which everyday, often domestic, items are imbued with symbolism and suggestion. Alyscia Cunningham appears to align herself with the venerable genre of portraiture with her intimate close-up color photograph of an elderly African-American woman, Frances, Age 81 (2012). Viewers can read every line on this smiling woman’s warm face, alive and animated by a youthful glow. Abstraction is well represented in the exhibition, too, with works like Rotem Reshef’s acrylic-on-canvas painting, Inspiration (2012). Against a luminous background of hazy lavender, red, orange, yellow, and two spots of blue, sits a curling, golden form—an image of one artist’s inspiration, among many other inspiring contemporary works.