Inside this issue we look at artists and curators who are initiating change, and bringing important and critical works to light. We’re keen to survey these shows and bring the widest possible points of access to the works.
To begin, we look back on the legacy of Palm Springs Modernism – how it has proliferated throughout culture from the 1940s to the present-day, from Hockey’s pool paintings to the most popular photograph in the Getty Archives. In a sequence of self-portraits, shot throughout the pandemic, Russian-born Kristina Varaksina) sits against stark white backdrops, shrouded by materials – with subtle variations suggestive of time passing. In one image, plastic packaging obscures the artist’s face. In another, painted words sit sharply on the skin, manifestations of doubt.
Mue Studio (Minjin Kang and Mijoo Kim) specialises in “visual escapism” – through three-dimensional image design, art direction and photography. The studio creates digital non-places that exist between fantasy and reality, exploring how artificial places might still offer refuge and solace. These serene compositions quiet the mind through rippling pools and soothing sunsets. Meanwhile, we speak with South African artist Robin Rhode about his wide-ranging practice. He is best-known for large-scale public wall drawings, in which figures interact with objects, vehicles and architecture, or abstract geometric patterns.
Matthew Shlian is an artist and paper engineer, innovating in the field of contemporary origami through folds, compressions and extrapolations. His work extends from drawings and large-scale installations to collaborations with leading researchers and scientists, including macro level paper-folding structures, which are then translated to the nanoscale.
In Underexposed: Women Photographers from the Collection at High Museum of Art, Atlanta, more than 100 images, many which have never been on view, are brought out for audiences to enjoy. The artworks highlight the contributions of women throughout the history of photography, spanning from innovators to present-day practitioners who investigate the intersections of image-making, representation and identity.
Andrea Grützner’s compositions deal with the emotional and visual perception of spaces. These images seek both familiar and disconnected subject matters, and ask questions about the memory of places and our orientation of designed interiors. New Color in the Times of Slow Coffee is a series from stylist Michelle Maguire, painter Kristin Texeira and photographer Kelsey McClellan. The results are beguiling: with utilitarian objects held in states of diversion and interpretation.
Kristin Bedford’s new photo book, Cruise Night, pulls back the curtain on LA’s Mexican American lowrider car culture, tackling misconceptions and celebrating the uniqueness of this community through its modes of expression. Finally, we feature Natalie Christensen, whose 25-year career as a psychotherapist informs her photographic practice, blending an analytical sensibility with colourful aesthetics. The Santa Fe-based artist is influenced by the theories of Carl Jung, particularly the three interacting systems of the ego, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious.
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1. Image courtesy Toniton: @toniton_colours (2020). Photography: Tekla Severin and Gabriel Söderbladh. Retouch: Tekla Severin and Retuschor.se.
2. Desert Bel Air Estates, Indian Wells, California, 1961–64.
3. Kristina Varaksina, Self-Portrait #2 (2019). Courtesy of the artist.
4. Kristina Varaksina, Selt Talk (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
5. Mue Studio, The Pantone Colour of the Year 2021 (2021).
6. Robin Rhode, Principle of Hope, 2017 (detail). C-print. 10 parts, each: 22.05 x 27.56 inches / 56 x 70 cm;
overall: 48 x 150.5 x 1.5 inches / 121.9 x 382.3 x 3.8 cm. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London.
7. Unholy (Stagger), 152.5 × 152.5 × 10 cm, 98 lb (160 gsm) indigo Canson paper, (2017) © Matthew Shlian.
8. Unholy 62 (detail), 122 × 122 × 10 cm, 80 lb text (120 gsm) iridescent sapphire paper (2018) © Matthew Shlian.
9 & 10. Jill Frank, everyone who woke up at the yellow house, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.
11. Andrea Grützner, Hive, Showcase, 2019, framed digital collage, 133 x 100 cm. Courtesy of the artist.
12 & 13. Kelsey McClellan and Michelle Maguire, Cobalt Teal 2, from the series New Color in the Time of Slow Coffee (2021).
14. Kristin Bedford, Gypsy Rose, Imperials Car Club, July 12, 2015 (detail). Courtesy of the artist.
15. Natalie Christensen, A Good Day (2017).
16. Natalie Christensen, Surveillance (2017).