Alas and ALAC: Emerging Contemporary Artists & Galleries
This past weekend, Art Los Angeles Contemporary celebrated its ninth international art fair in Santa Monica’s expansive Barker Hanger. This sweeping event space on the south side of the Santa Monica Airport effortlessly housed 67 art galleries showcasing some of the best contemporary artists from all over the world.
Within the dynamic maze of booths and installations, ALAC dedicated an area of the fair to emerging galleries that are less than four years old. This presentation of galleries entitled Freeways, included newcomers from Europe, Latin America, and several national galleries that are rapidly growing into the cultural consciousness.
Freeways gives us a prismatic look at new voices in contemporary art and curation. Los Angeles gallery Club Pro succeeded in delineating the predictable “white box” gallery presentation with a multi-media installation by Adam Stamp. The red carpeted booth enclosed by a theatrical gold railing housed several artworks including Greg Ito’s colorful and graphically structured paintings. Other US galleries such as Marinaro Gallery, Halsey McKay, Parker Gallery, and Ochi Projects showcased innovative, contemporary iterations of figurative and still-life paintings by artists Ridley Howard, Hilary Pecis, Dustin Metz, and Lilian Martinez. Many of the other paintings featured in Freeways demonstrate the expanding definition of ‘painting’ including experimentally textured canvases by artists Franklin Williams, Tracey Thomason, and Parisian painter Guy Yanai. Freeways successfully demonstrated the stylistic strides that artists are taking in the realms of installation, painting, and sculpture.
Around the corner from Freeways, there were two eye-catching booths by the relatively new Los Angeles gallery, The Pit. Although The Pit doesn’t make the cut for Freeways because it is just over 4 years old, I feel it merits attention among the other up-and-coming galleries listed above. The Pit featured mixed media sculptures by Nora Shields, glazed ceramic vessels by Tony Marsh, and figurative photographs by Heather Rasmussen. The Pit featured a solo booth for the collaborative fine art team entitled ‘FriendsWithYou.’ This exhibit featured large-scale, cartoon-covered canvases made out of unbaked clay. These low relief clay frescos are populated with a post-modern explosion of iconic cartoon characters ranging from the Simpsons to Pokémon.
Among some of the more established galleries at ALAC, this selection of new and up-and-coming galleries provided an interesting window into the current direction of contemporary art.
Written by Andie Eisen
Photographs by Andie Eisen
Certain artworks courtesy of artlosangelesfair.com