British artist Freya Douglas-Morris crafts vibrant, dreamlike landscapes and spaces drawn from the artist’s memories and imagination. The artist’s figuration recalls the work of Milton Avery, while the organic line and shape of the paintings can be seen as a contemporary adaptation of 19th century aesthetics like Art Nouveau or Arts and Crafts. Her bold and decisive color schemes and flowing brushstrokes of each painting lend them a contemplative, meditative air that invite prolonged looking.
Douglas-Morris graduated from Brighton University with her B.F.A. in 2002, and the Royal College of Art, London, in 2013. Though her work has been represented previously in group shows with Alexander Berggruen, this will be Douglas-Morris’s first solo with the gallery, as well as in the U.S. The exhibition will coincide with a publication, produced by Hurtwood Press Limited, London, in association with Alexander Berggruen, as part of the Hurtwood Contemporary Artist Series.
On the other side of the floor stood Alexander Berggruen’s booth, this year reserved entirely for the artist Gabriel Mills. Berggruen hosted a solo show for Mills last fall, where the best work on display consisted of massive triptychs. The canvases of each triptych in the fall show alternated between thinly painted depictions of airy subjects, such as clouds, and canvases covered in inches of thick impasto. The idea, which is to generate a balance between the lightweight and heavy elements, was interesting then, but Mills has since taken it to another level.
At the Armory, Mills’s Glass and the Ghost Children (2023), a massive diptych, served as the gallery’s centerpiece. It’s electric. In his prior work, Mills conjured interplay by juxtaposing heavy canvases against light ones. Now, that interaction occurs as well within each frame. Weightless currents of oil swirl and stream through their dense counterparts, the former lifting the canvas, the latter bringing it down; an equilibrium is achieved that makes the piece appear to float, suspended in midair. The smaller Ohenguai (2023) and Thira (2023) prove potent too.
There are major design echoes in Sets, a new body of work by the Houston-based artist Paul Kremer for the New York gallery Alexander Berggruen — vintage Marimekko sheets and Milton Glaser Bob Dylan vibes chief among them. And although Kremer’s practice is firmly rooted in painting, he has a tinkerer’s spirit, often customizing technologies to suit his whims, like a rotating easel; “more recently, with the help of artist and programmer Leander Herzog, Kremer built what he calls ‘a personal master tool to manipulate previously drawn shapes and specific color palettes into rapidly changeable randomized compositions.’ In a feedback loop of his own artistic practice, Kremer has stated that some of his works ‘influenced the tools, while the tools themselves informed other works.’”
Responding about her use of water in her painting process, Guzmán stated: “I like that you say the word alchemy because it begins with the water, but then it solidifies the pigment into these different shapes and things that are beautiful to me. It’s different when the water conducts the materials instead of just the brushes or myself. I feel like it’s another participant—aside from myself—working on the paintings.”
In an interview with Emily Watlington, Madeline Peckenpaugh stated: “Lately I’ve been starting with the background, then working my way to the surface of my paintings. I like making the background look like it was the last thing that happened, even though it was first. I’m often building up thick paint, then wiping it away, and the wipes leave marks. But I change the process up from painting to painting—I always want to stay surprised and spontaneous.”
Yuri Yuan, one of the gallery’s represented artists, has so far had two solo shows there: 2022’s Dark Dreams and 2021’s River Flows in You. Alex Berggruen has admired Yuan’s work since her graduate school days at Columbia, and his enthusiasm is palpable. “Yuri is someone we’re fortunate to represent…it’s been a pleasure to work with her,” he says. “Something that was apparent to me from first getting to know her work, and something I’ve really enjoyed following, is that she has a keen understanding and eye toward art history, an appreciation for that, and a desire to make her own mark within that realm. And I really appreciate the look into the human psyche that Yuri makes with her work.” Alexander Berggruen will be bringing two of her recent paintings.
With returning favorites, such as local Dallas gallery 12.26 as well as Night Gallery and The Hole from Los Angeles and New York respectively, alongside new exhibitors like Barcelona-based gallery Polígrafa Obra Gráficia and Alexander Berggruen from New York, the fair promises to feature an incredible breadth of modern and contemporary art and artists.
Chicago Gallery News: You have talked about choreographing color – what does that mean to you?
Anna Kunz: I always feel like I understand dance, poetry and music better than painting. Choreography and dance use the body as material and turn ritual actions into a kind of poetry. It is very similar to the way I approach my process. Colors are stand-ins for relationships I observe in nature’s structures, or even the social sphere. I think of color as a body that generates forms and creates relationships and movement. My approach to choreography in painting means I pay attention to time and space on the surface to generate compositions. There is a word choreographers use–kinesphere–the arena or the space around the body. I translate this in painting to be the canvas or architectural space (in the case of my installations).
The art magazine HypeArt for Hypebeast named Sholto Blissett an “up-and-coming artist” in their announcement of the gallery’s solo show. Zoe Leung writes: “The show is made up of an intimate collection of paintings featuring Blissett’s signature Impressionistic yet dream-like sceneries that envelop fictional monuments.”
Nature isn’t something awesome, awful, and “other”; we can’t look from a near-yet-removed precipice at it, for we are within it, together. Hence, my paintings place the manmade architectural features within the landscape by literally putting them within the painting, in the mid-ground & center. This is not to suggest that humans are the center of attention; rather, that we are subsumed by & should be working with to be part of the natural world. Indeed, despite the lavish architectural designs, “nature” is creeping in, as topiary.
I’m currently working on paintings that will be exhibited at Alexander Berggruen in New York in January 2023, this will include my largest-scale painting yet.
Who Tells a Tale Adds a Tail is topical, addressing themes like technology, gender, immigration and, most prominently, the lingering impacts of colonialism. The artists, born from 1981 to 1996, have a generational connection, though Mr. Fonseca assembled a lineup with varied ideas and art-making approaches to show U.S. audiences the diversity of the region’s creativity. […] There is traditional painting, including the Dominican artist Hulda Guzmán’s series of lush, acrylic landscapes that examine connections between the human body and nature.
An electric fragility surrounds Dark Dreams, a solo show by Yuri Yuan ’21, at Alexander Berggruen on the Upper East Side. Yuan leaves no accidents on the canvas, this much is clear; but what is also apparent is the degree of care Yuan exacts in her works, a degree that is there to, in the artist’s words, “encourage a way of active and thorough thinking. A way of thinking, that’s what I want to be known for.”
In Yuri Yuan’s deeply affective scenes, solitary figures, often self-portraits that threaten to disappear, insistently question the nature of subjectivity and sensory perception. […] By pushing into the membrane between sleep and dream, and by presenting dreams as inseparable from reality, Yuan ferries viewers across and inducts them into new modes of seeing. With titles like Farewell, Will You Remember Me, Metamorphosis, and Resurgence, Dark Dreams contends, too, with death—the deepest of all slumbers, not a finite end, but simply another kind of experience.
From an Argus-like room with multiple eyes to a knight on horseback wielding a saber, Yuri Yuan seeps her canvases with personal references that she uses to understand the psychology behind fear. Layered with intimate moments of self-discovery, the artist grants the viewer leeway for voyeurism into her private dream state, capturing them as fleeting moments. Yuan grapples with the uneasiness of memory recollection and portrays various instances of invisibility where the protagonist is alone, an outsider, or perhaps a superpower.
Anna Kunz makes works on paper, paintings, sculptures, installations, and projects that seep out of the rectangle, often using painted and dyed fabrics that function like nets to capture and manipulate light and color. Her experiential works are often combined with objects or surfaces that add complexity and invite viewers to structure the space in time by passing through them.
Q: Your practice is primarily based around textiles and weaving, what first drew you to this method of production?
A: I love to create from scratch. I think this is interesting to not depend on so many different ways of production. I also think it is kind of urgent to rethink our way of production as artists. Textiles are here forever. I also really find it interesting how this cultural heritage evolves in our contemporary world. I like to build my works with details and layers, such as screen printing or digital printing.
I am presenting my work for a solo exhibition in NYC in June at Alexander Berggruen. I am excited about it, as I am working on a completely new body of works. I also made really large scales woven pieces for the first time. I invited two of my close friends Sophie de Mello Franco and Lorraine de Thibault to curate and write the text.
The ICA Miami also bought work by Hulda Guzmán from first-time exhibitor Alexander Berggruen’s booth. “Guzmán is an artist I have been following closely and looking to add a strong example of her work to ICA Miami’s collection. The opportunity arose with the opening of FOG fair,” said ICA Miami director Alex Gartenfeld.
We are delighted to share that our upcoming exhibition Sholto Blissett, Emma Fineman, Madeline Peckenpaugh has been included in this week’s “Editors’ Picks” on Artnet News. Tanner West described the show as:
“Three contemporary artists whose work probe depictions of time and space are on view in a group show at Alexander Berggruen on Madison Avenue. Each artist’s approach to depicting environments appear to be inspired by Surrealism, with distorted landscapes and tilted perspectives that challenge the viewer.”
The Brooklyn Rail‘s New Social Environment program held a virtual conversation about Alexander Berggruen‘s exhibition Anna Kunz: With Rays Friday, November 5 at 1 pm EST. Artist Anna Kunz joined Rail Editor-at-Large David Rhodes for a discussion. The event concluded with a poetry reading by Jessica Jacobs.
Thirteen new paintings in this Los Angeles-based artist’s current show, at Alexander Berggruen, are windows onto a high-key, ultra-verdant world—a sublime, supernatural realm that combines the thaumaturgic light of the Hudson River School with the watchful marshes and sinuous undergrowth in Disney’s “Maleficent.” […] Perhaps these passionately rendered paintings, which conjure up lashing winds (World in Flux) and wildfires (Weather System), reflect once familiar vistas that have been rendered otherworldly, made hostile by the climate crisis.
Writer, curator, and art administrator Angelica Maria Fuentes wrote that Angie Jennings: Guides from the night fields “presents an enticing juxtaposition between science and spirituality.”
“Multidisciplinary artist Angie Jennings’s first solo exhibition in New York City, Angie Jennings: Guides from the night fields is powerful and kind, one of its greatest and most unique qualities lies in its embodiment of duality. Jennings’s works provoke thoughts of consciousness, philosophical experiments, art historical references, and contemporary politics. […] The artist’s work is grounded deeply in history while being timely and contemporary.”
Painted while Yuan listened to “River Flows in You” by South Korean pianist Yiruma, the work in this exhibition is similarly “sad but graceful,” in the words of Yuri Yuan. The paintings are often peopled by figures with their backs turned, or with their faces reflected in water or obscured by twilight, so that the overall impression is one of isolation and melancholy. Nevertheless, the artist’s overall theme is one of connection, and the growth that might occur even in seclusion.
Critic John Yau’s review of Yuri Yuan: River Flows in You for Hyperallergic explores the artist’s paintings in relation to “solitude exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown imposed on New Yorkers, not to mention the implicit and explicit racism that became a big part of every Asian’s daily life in America, and the consequent apprehension that accompanied each excursion into the city.”
“Yuri Yuan’s sense of isolation is an inescapable feature of her daily life, which she simultaneously examines and holds at bay through the act of painting. In [Yuan’s] best pieces, the merging of subject, paint, color, and light snaps into place; then the painting begins singing a sweetly mournful tune.”
I draw inspiration from many different things, like Murakami’s short stories, Bojack Horseman the animation, and existentialist philosophy, especially Camus. “Aloneness” is a common theme in my work. Rather than dwelling in the sad emotion of “loneliness,” I think of the protagonist in my work as someone who constantly reflects on their experience and their connection in this world. Many people asked if the back-facing figure is me and if these paintings are self-portraits. The answer is no, they look like me as they are made in the image of me, but they are more like a signpost, or a witness to an event, for the viewer to project their own emotion onto the narratives of the paintings. Over the past year, I have been thinking about personal loss and how they translate to global tragedy, the private grieving process juxtaposed with the bombarding and politicized news of the pandemic. I certainly do not hope to provide an answer, but to give space for the audience to process complicated emotions.
I will have my debut solo show in New York in July at Alexander Berggruen, which I am really excited about.
Vicente Matte (Santiago de Chile, 1987) se interesa por la construcción de imágenes aparentemente simples, pero que lentamente vayan revelando ideas y narraciones más complejas que inicialmente no se advierten. En sus obras más recientes, expuestas en dos galerías de Nueva York, se distinguen personajes en solitario o formando conjuntos, sin relacionarse entre ellos, flotando en campos de color, en una suerte de asepsia relacional.
Vicente Matte (Santiago de Chile, 1987) is interested in the construction of apparently simple images, but that slowly reveal more complex ideas and narratives that are not initially noticed. In his most recent works, exhibited in two galleries in New York, characters are distinguished alone or in groups, without relating to each other, floating in fields of color, in a kind of relational asepsis.
This week, a new group exhibition opens at Alexander Berggruen in New York. Called Shapes, the show explores geometric abstraction by artists both new and old (or dead): Marina Adams and Ellsworth Kelly; Ethan Cook and Imi Knoebel; Sam Moyer and Sol LeWitt. From top: Anna Kunz, Ethan Cook, and Paul Kremer.
The bent posture of a semi-abstracted female silhouette dominates 15 of the 17 artworks by Brittney Leeanne Williams, currently on view at Alexander Berggruen [March 5–April 14, 2021]. This show of paintings and works on paper made 2020–2021 embodies the Chicago-based artist’s investigations into the physical and psychological exhaustion of being a black woman in the United States. Sensuously folded, a recurring figure’s posture has been simplified as a smooth rounded arc to indicate the back. A few simple curves imply the breast and belly, and introduce a void beneath them. Variations come from other formal components that energize and solidify the work. In addition to her frequent use of red on the figures, which the artist discusses in various interviews as referencing the pulsing lights of ambulances in Chicago, Williams also includes subtle line work, elements of the natural environment as setting, and positions of arms and legs that create the positive and negative spaces in the compositions.
In Williams’ work, the negative spaces are just as much a positive form of the bent figures. She implies that all the crevices and surfaces are deserving of her affection, and our attention.
We’ve been keeping a close eye on the work of Brittney Leeanne Williams and her unparalleled explorations of the human figure in relationship with the landscape. By working with a single posture, the contorted or bent over body, the Chicago-based artist speaks of psychological states as well as the misshapen and emotional experiences of being a woman. […] Whether its shape reflects in the mountain range in the background or it carries tree-tops, has the sun setting within or an ocean underneath, gets rained over, or dissolved in the wind, it becomes a powerful symbol of different scenarios in which women bend, especially on a psychological level.
“These works expand on my interest in bringing together expressionistic, almost symbolic landscapes with geometric picture planes, arcs, and borders,” the artist told Juxtapoz about the particular element she was exploring with these pieces. “They bow, bend, and break out of borders while their feet inch into the beyond.”
Fox’s canvases use a vibrant array of colors that are tempered, or appear worn down, evoking the shadowy natures of their subjects. A skillful tightrope walker, Fox operates as both observer and participant: on a cellular level, the canvases convey that the artist is deeply intimate with the kind of life, always lived outside the ordinary, that he depicts. At same time, the structures of Fox’s compositions indicate an understanding of the painters and paintings that have come before him. The resulting work exudes a visceral synergy.
Fox’s show at Alexander Berggruen consists of paintings that echo those photos and drawings—an oozing array of opulent canvases organized around solo figures. Mostly female, the characters smoke, they straddle stuffed animals, they clasp their knees in seductive disdain, they eye us with casual contempt, they sprawl out across the floor or invite us to follow them deeper into the canyon.
Taking in the new body of work he’s amassed, I mention to Fox that it feels not unlike a great album, where the work conveys a single moment but also evokes an entire journey. “I always think of shows as albums,” says Fox. “I use that to help encapsulate certain moments and not worry if it’s off brand. I even sometimes think, Ah, shit, I’m making a bad album here. But I also like that feeling—like it’s going to be the ’80s Dylan album that you one day understand.”
Guzmán’s solo exhibition at Alexander Berggruen is her first in the United States since [the 58th Venice Biennale], and it finds her turning, mostly, to views around her studio, where she was confined during COVID quarantine. It’s a breathtaking retreat. From the artist’s window, palm trees spread out over lush tropical hills. Garden pathways wind through forests where children, birds, and animals peer through thick trees. Guzmán’s work recalls Henri Rousseau’s in its naïve, mystical depictions of forest creatures and foliage. But her most exhilarating landscapes also make me think of Lucas Arruda, who inexplicably transforms the unyielding Brazilian Amazon into placid fields like Mark Rothko paintings. As does Arruda, Guzmán deftly invites a kind spiritual awakening in her vibrant forest scenes.
Tropical vistas, mise-en-abyme effects, and images of a plump cat are among the many lush pleasures in this young Dominican painter’s exhibition “my flora, my fauna,” at the Alexander Berggruen gallery. Guzmán’s colorful works, in acrylic gouache, depict a surreal world in which domestic interiors spill into jungle landscapes.
In Hulda Guzmán’s solo exhibition at Alexander Berggruen in New York, paintings of figures, flora, and fauna from the Dominican Republic depict an artist exploring reality from multiple perspectives. The paintings, at times featuring the artist, her cat, and conjured-up creatures, are large, while the figures within are usually small, basking in the warm hues of the Dominican light. In self-portraits, Guzmán unfolds a scene from various points of view, bringing reflective opportunities to the forefront. As an optimistic response to the anthropocene–an era marked by the effect of humans on the environment–the artist paints nature’s omnipresence in a scale that is overwhelming. A feeling of acuity and gumption is present. After studies at the Chavon School of Design in the Dominican Republic, Guzmán furthered her schooling in photography and mural painting at the National School of Visual Arts in Mexico which layered complexity to her technique. Born in 1984 in Santo Domingo, Guzmán was featured in the Dominican Republic’s pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale. GARAGE caught up with the artist about her current show, while she was at her rural ocean-side studio.
Through nearly 50 works by more than two dozen artists—including Lucian Freud, Walton Ford, and Paola Pivi—this online show explores the myriad creative attitudes that inform how animals manifest in contemporary art. Specific contexts explored in the exhibition range from domestic realms inhabited by pets and livestock to the wild landscapes known to bears, elephants, anteaters, and beyond.
Spanning the past four decades, the paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and other types of art on view in “Animal Kingdom” coalesce into a spectacle as elegant and chaotic as the natural world they evoke.
Brittney Leeanne Williams’ paintings depict figures in transformation and bodies subject to unseen pressures or forces. In Williams’ own words, the figures twist and knot themselves into emotional landscapes. These figurative and pictorial inversions create a body-space continuum. Their postures hold tensions that connect the present moment to centuries past.
The Chicago-based artist’s rich, vivid works see her employ a recurring red figure who plays host to the experiences, emotions and memories of women.
The Canvas speaks with Dominique Lévy, Casey Kaplan, Alex Logsdail, and Alexander Berggruen; four dealers representing four very different galleries that range considerably in both size and scope, to get their thoughts on an instantly altered art business, and what that means for the gallery ecosystem going forward. Alexander Berggruen, whose Upper East Side gallery space opened in October, has placed works by artists ranging from Ed Ruscha to Paul Kremer with collectors who acquired the pieces solely based on their digital images. The gallery has an online private view of its current exhibition, ‘Quarters: Anne Buckwalter, Dustin Hodges, JJ Manford, Brittney Leeanne Williams’ through its Artlogic platform that it has shared with its clients; and a 3D virtual-reality tour of the exhibition has been made publicly available via Matterport’s technology on the gallery’s website.
Alexander Berggruen debuts—with a show featuring John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Jonas Wood, Emily Mae Smith, and Richard Prince—in a renovated historic space on Manhattan’s Upper East Side
In August, former Christie’s specialist Alexander Berggruen announced that he would become the latest dealer to defect from the auction world and venture out to open a private gallery with his name on the door. Taking over the address that once housed the uptown digs of Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Berggruen’s eponymous gallery opens this Friday with a stacked group show called “Words,” focused on how artists have embraced the verbal in their practices. Heavy hitters known for their motto-based works, such as Ed Ruscha, Barbara Kruger, and Lawrence Weiner, will be represented, alongside the late Cy Twombly and Jean-Michel Basquiat, who both have text slinking through their canvases. Younger artists such as Jonas Wood, Matthew Cerletty, and Emily Mae Smith will also have work in the show.
The Yale-educated, San Francisco-born, Alexander Berggruen cuts an impressive figure at thirty-one years old. The son of Gretchen and John Berggruen, owners of the well-respected Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco, and grandson of dealer, collector, and philanthropist Heinz Berggruen, it might surprise some to discover that Alex didn’t always intend to follow his family’s path in the art world. Berggruen is now embarking on a career as a dealer, with his own gallery scheduled to open in the fall of 2019
Make sure to consult Google Maps before you head out on your first gallery crawl this fall. Over the summer, there has been a mini-flurry of gallery moves and closings across New York City.
One major change is taking place in Chelsea, where mega-dealer Larry Gagosian has absorbed the storefronts next door to his already gargantuan 24th Street location. They were formerly home to Pace Gallery and Mary Boone Gallery.