At Code Art Fair, Copenhagen, Steve Turner will present works by Ekta Aggarwal (Delhi & Los Angeles), Laylah Ali (Williamstown, Massachusetts), Hannah Epstein (Toronto), Claire Milbrath (Montreal), Paige Jiyoung Moon (Los Angeles) and Altoon Sultan (Groton, Vermont). This is the gallery’s second appearance at Code.
Born in Delhi, Ekta Aggarwal earned an MA at Central Saint Martins, London before moving to Los Angeles get an MFA at CalArts. She maintains active ties to India where she runs a sustainable design project that supports artisanal hand-weaving. That connection continues in her art practice as she uses Indian Khadi cloth (hand-spun cotton) instead of canvas and natural pigments from India instead of acrylic. For her textile paintings, she sews together scraps of silk that are left over from her design enterprise. Labor, time and meditative repetition are important aspects of Aggarwal’s works. In one series, she creates a small-scale drawing every day beginning at 6 pm out of respect for Gandhi’s call for village people to weave Khadi cloth every day for one hour.
Laylah Ali has been active in the international art scene for the last twenty years, having had numerous museum solo exhibitions as well as inclusion in the 2004 Whitney Biennial. She creates highly distinctive paintings and drawings that depict people who are racially and gender ambiguous. While her paintings are executed with tremendous precision, her drawings can be looser and more expressive. In both instances, they have a conciseness that makes her fanciful subjects seem more real.
Hannah Epstein grew up in remote Nova Scotia before going to college in even more remote Newfoundland where she studied folklore and learned how to hook rugs. After getting her MFA at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, she added conceptual rigor to her practice and became, as she calls herself, “a feminist folklorist of the internet age.” Her hooked textiles of monsters, internet memes and historically-inspired creatures are both humorous and threatening.
Claire Milbrath grew up in Victoria, British Columbia before moving to Montreal to study history at Concordia University. Soon after graduating, she founded Editorial Magazine, a print journal on contemporary art, partly so she would have a venue for her own art. In her paintings and drawings, she depicts a character whom she calls “Poor Gray”, an aimless, wealthy, melancholy gay man. In so doing, Milbrath questions traditional concepts of masculinity by depicting Gray as vulnerable, effeminate and idle. Milbrath has had two solo exhibitions at Steve Turner, Los Angeles and will have a solo booth at Artissima, Torino in November 2018.
Paige Jiyoung Moon was born in Seoul and moved to the United States to study at Art Center, Pasadena from which she earned a BFA in 2012. In the ensuing years, she has created an impressive body of small and intricately detailed paintings. Though they are small in scale, they are packed with content. All are created from memory, whether they be scenes of daily life, excursions to the mountains, hotel rooms or portraits of family and friends. They do not always follow rules of perspective or scale, but that does not diminish them. Their strength is their intimacy, each an illustrated diary by a new resident of Los Angeles who seems to be recording the wonder of every new experience.
Altoon Sultan has had a long and interesting career with work ranging from representational painting to reductive abstraction. She started exhibiting her work in the 1970s and had long associations with such New York galleries as Marlborough and Tibor de Nagy. At Code, Sultan will present a group of hooked textiles that are made with yarn that she hand-dyed. Sultan lives in rural Vermont where she seeks humility in her daily life and in her studio. To that end, she works in her garden every day and makes art every night.