March 1, 2024  Carlota Gamboa

7 Artists to Watch at Frieze LA

Created: Fri, 03/01/2024 - 12:08
Author: rozalia
Courtesy Anat Ebgi

Installation view of Anat Ebgi's booth at Frieze LA, 2024 featuring work by Meeson Pae.

Frieze LA returns to the Santa Monica Airport from February 29 to March 3 bringing together more than 95 domestic and international galleries. Originating in 2003 in London, the fair has since expanded abroad, from New York to Los Angeles, and most recently Seoul, South Korea. This is its fifth year in Los Angeles.

“Frieze Los Angeles 2024 will be a destination for an international audience to celebrate the continued growth of the Los Angeles art scene," said Christine Messaino, Frieze's Fair Director of the Americas during the press conference. "Both visitors and exhibitors will benefit from our expanded footprint, centralized layout and redesigned exterior spaces." 

Essence Harden curated this year's Focus section, which features a single presentation by an artist in a U.S. gallery that has been in operation for twelve years or less. Themed around the topic of “ecologies," this year's Focus showcases twelve galleries. “Ecology, not in the sense of biology and the natural sciences," explained Harden, "but the relationship between organisms, humans and their environments."

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Courtesy Quinn Harrelson Gallery
Ser Serpas at Quinn Herrelson's booth at Frieze LA
1. Ser Serpas at Quinn Harrelson Gallery

Quinn Harrelson Gallery, a first-timer at Frieze LA, brought artist Ser Serpas. Born and raised in Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights neighborhood, the mixed-media artist and poet debuted two recent oil paintings and a single sculpture. The earth-tone works hang without stretcher bars and the largest, at 8 x 12 feet, illustrates the outline of a nude figure’s torso. Between the paintings is a chair on its back with two steel pipes configured over it, evoking the image of a body splayed out on the floor.  Previously recognized as a “ready-made” artist for her found-object sculptural work, Serpas’ multi-dimensional practice examines the meaning of value in tension with inevitable collapse. Through assemblage, she transforms everyday objects into metamorphic examples of transience.


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Courtesy of Make Room
Yeni Mao at Make Room Frieze LA
2. Yeni Mao at Make Room

Sculptures and screen-prints by Mexico-based Chinese-American artist Yeni Mao are a standout at Emilia Yin’s gallery, Make Room, which returns to Focus for its second year. The sculptor’s series of scale models entitled “Freemartin” are miniatures of the tunnels used to house Chinese-Americans during the Mexican-American war. The sculptures are then adorned with organic objects like volcanic rock, porcelain and leather to reimagine nature within the metal structures. His earlier work, two black and white screen prints on gray felt from 2017, are digitized images of lightbox displays from Chinese restaurants in New York City. “Felt is an industrial dampener, it dampens noise and vibration,” Mao told Art & Object, “so I’m thinking about this resonance, the dampening of resonance paired with this image of a fantasy landscape and how far we are from these landscapes. What territory we’re really wanting to belong to.”


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Courtesy Hannah Traore Gallery
James Perkins at Hannah Traore Gallery
3. James Perkins at Hannah Traore Gallery

Los Angeles-based Hannah Traore Gallery's presentation of the work of James Perkins is a continuation of “Burying Painting,” the artist's 2022 solo exhibition with the gallery. Engaging with Robert Smithson’s lineage of the non-site, the viewer engages with contemporary examples of earth art. Perkins’ unique process involves physically burying his silk wrapped canvases and leaving the textile to be conditioned by natural elements. The cured canvases, representing a human form, are occasionally adjusted over the course of months to create the distinct patterns that emerge from the exposure. The four sculptures that accompany the ten paintings, all of which he refers to as “post-totem” structures, are conjurings of ancestral spirits.

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Courtesy Anat Ebgi
Meeson Pae, Seep, 2024
4. Meeson Pae at Anat Ebgi

Meeson Pae might not be a part of Focus, but her work on view at Anat Ebgi marks her Frieze debut. The abstractly intimate oil-paintings use 3D modeling and VR sculpting to achieve a reminiscence to internal cell structures. The process begins with an amalgamation of sounds and images that is then rendered into a tangible body as a reference for what manifests on the canvas. This multi-step process of translation travels from the sensorial world into the computer space and is then pulled out again, compressing Pae’s interest in a relationship between the physical body and the machine body. There is a kind of romance to the oil paintings, which are highly saturated in color, dramatic and elaborate, which gives the pieces an awe-inducing feel. 


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Courtesy the artist and Gallery Hyundai
Kim Sung Yoon, Flowers in the Neo-White Porcelain Jar with Cloud & Dragon Design in Underglaze Iron Brown, 2023. Oil on linen, 1.9 × 1.1m. Courtesy the artist and Gallery Hyundai
5. Kim Sung Yoon at Gallery Hyundai

Pae isn't the only one taking a digitized approach to oil painting. Hyundai Gallery’s Sung Yoon Kim creates his still lifes via digital flower arrangement, gathering flora from mis-matched regions and discordant seasons all in the same vase. He then uses graphic design tools to introduce strange elements. A little quail egg in a corner, a balloon-animal flower camouflaged in the arrangement, petals seemingly shattering like glass. The vases in the paintings are also visually striking in and of themselves, and are all depictions of existing ceramic works by fellow artist Yoo Eui Jeong.


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Courtesy Welancora.
Debra Cartwright at Welancora.
6. Debra Cartwright at Welancora

Debra Cartwright’s solo show of oil paintings and watercolors at the New York Gallery Welancora is an essential stop. With paintings that draw immediate comparison to J.M.W Turner’s depiction of the Zong slave ship massacre, Cartwrights' amorphous depictions of Black women create an immense and immersive narrative. The entanglement of a constant history and the imagination is a living force in Cartwright’s work. Daughter of a gynecologist, she sources inspiration from a combination of inherited memory, and lived experience to create her psychological landscapes. Her work takes on subjects found in the scholarship of feminist and afro-pessimist Saidiya Hartman sublimated with the reality of a fractured healthcare system. 

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Courtesy Art Production Fund
Cynthia Talmadge, Class Gift, 2022
7. Cynthia Talmadge with Art Production Fund

As part of non-profit Art Production Fund’s on-site public program, Set-Seen, in partnership with Frieze LA and the City of Santa Monica, Cynthia Talmadge's sculptural installation, Class Gift (2022) is on view at Airport Park. With this work, the New York-based artist has reimagined the public sculpture usually found in civic settings like college campuses. As a "gift" from a previous college class, Talmadge's algae-tinted installation, is decorated by the remnants of collegiate activity: sticky notes, crumpled posters, unmelted snow and an abandoned scarf (all made from resin), give the sculpture a nostalgic attitude in the face of youth and institutional promise. Though the fair will close on March 3, Talmadge’s work will remain on view through April 7. 

About the Author

Carlota Gamboa

Carlota Gamboa is an art writer based in Los Angeles.

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