Fair  March 7, 2020  Eva Zanardi

SCOPE 2020: The Sexy Art Fair

Courtesy of Stephen Romano Gallery

William Mortensen (United States), Off for the Sabbot: A Pictorial Compendium of Witchcraft, c. 1927. Silver gelatin print, unknown texture pattern. 9.25 x 7.5 in.

From the plastic flute of sparkling wine guests are offered as soon as they enter the fair, to the bubbly energy coming from viewers and the club music pumping from some of the booths, you know you are not at Independent any longer. 

Once in a while, there is nothing wrong with indulging in a juicy, sexy cheeseburger (veg option counts). Bursting with flavor (boisterously colorful artworks), salty, sweet, and tangy (paintings, sculptures, video art), it can be a very satisfying (one of the most fun art fairs with a party-like feeling) and at times reasonably priced meal (one can find good bargains given the fair's mission of showcasing emerging contemporary artists).

SCOPE is the most energizing of art fairs; it never fails to quell anybody’s thirst for colors, shiny things, glitter paintings, humorous art performances, or pop- and culture-inspired art. SCOPE New York returned for its 20th Anniversary edition at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea with a focus on The New Contemporary. Among its exhibitors, SCOPE 2020 featured a selection of noteworthy galleries and talented emerging artists.

Courtesy of Stephen Romano Gallery

William Mortensen (United States), Circe, c. 1935.
Vintage silver gelatin photograph, titled and signed in pencil in lower margin. 18.2 x 13.1 cm.

A highlight of this year's fair was not an emerging artist but a wickedly talented American glamour photographer primarily known for his Hollywood portraits from the 1920s–1940s. WITCHES, the series of photographs on view at Stephen Romano Gallery’s booth at SCOPE 2020, is spellbinding, not only for its subject matter. Slightly out of focus and often enhanced by pen or brush strokes, Mortensen’s pictures appear to bridge the gap between painting and photography. Through his connection with legendary director Cecil B. DeMille, an admirer and patron of the photographer, William Mortensen acquired a fascination with the occult, and his favorite subjects were witches and the early horror films of the 1920s. He was drawn to the grotesque and fantastic; his work, in many ways, anticipated the rise of magical realism.

Courtesy of Olivia Connelly

Gustavo Ortiz (Argentina), MAKE 9, 2019.
Mixed media on canvas. 100 x 100 cm.

Gustavo Ortiz draws his influences from the colonial art and native indigenous artistic practices of his Argentinian heritage. Myths and legends inspire his subject matter and his color and composition evoke vibrant textiles. Ortiz uses collage and mixed media to create his charming, whimsical, and beautifully-executed pieces that each take on a life and story of their own. Often produced in series, his work touchingly narrates the human condition.

Courtesy of SCOPE Special Projects

Brendan Monroe (United States), Waterfall, 2020.
Three-layer Serigraph print on Coventry Rag paper. 36 x 24 in.

Brendan Monroe is a sculptor and painter whose work explores abstracted matter, motion, and perception translated into a graphic black and white language. This dual quality and the tension between the flat surface and form bring power and allure to his works. Monroe created a custom front entrance piece for SCOPE New York 2020 to welcome visitors into the show and also designed a city-wide wheat pasting campaign, bringing the art down from the walls and out to the streets.

Courtesy of Eva gallery

EVA (Russia), New Nature, 2019.
Digital photograph on plastic panel. 78 x 58 cm.
In her art, EVA explores morality, intellectuality, and righteousness. She believes that spirituality is the main criterion to assess a person’s development and that learning is the path in the pursuit of perfection. For EVA, art is a spiritual practice and a means of survival in a world full of distortions and contradictions. The artist works with several techniques including photography, video, sculpture, and painting.

Courtesy of Kara’s Gallery

Kim Jeong Eun (South Korea), Turns into the Light, 2020. 
Lacquer painting. 70 x 90 cm.

Korean lacquer painter Kim Jeong Eun's main interest is the division of an image. Using a lacquered brush to create various layers, Kim explores space to create growing organisms with beautiful leaves and dazzling bright flowers.

Courtesy of 11 [HellHeaven] Art Gallery

Marco Guglielmi ReImmortal (Italy), MEGAGONG, 2019.
Iron, aluminum, electronic devices. 72 × 178 in (182.9 × 452.1 cm).

Marco Guglielmi ReImmortal is a visual artist, performer, and sound designer known for his large conceptual installations that portray a harmonic vision of vibrating sonic bodies. MEGAGONG is a sculpture, conceptual work, and musical instrument that draws its inspiration from traditional gongs, which have evocative sonic characteristics used in multiple rituals of different mystical cultures.

Courtesy of Askeri Gallery

Peter Opheim (b. Germany, based United States), Family, 2019.
Oil on canvas. 97 x 101 cm.

Opheim began his career in the art sphere as an abstractionist but later moved away from this direction with a desire to create something unique, unusual, and provocative. Thus, his series of works depicting incredible clay figures was born. The artist creates a new fantasy world, populated by characters who never exist in reality. However, Opheim's paintings do have a real referent: colorful clay figurines, manufactured by the artist. Cute little animals of irregular shapes refer to the world of childhood, the main object of his artistic reflection.

Courtesy of Almanaque fotográfica gallery

Danila Tkachenko (Russia), Oasis 2, 2018.
Archival pigment print. 130 x 100 cm.

Tkachenko’s photography captures the remains of recent regimes at the dawn of a world’s new order. The artist notes, “I travel in search of places which used to have great importance for technical progress and are now deserted. They lost their significance. Any progress comes to an end… for me, it is interesting to witness the remains.”

Courtesy of Haven Gallery

Bec Winnel (Australia), Bronwyn, 2020.
Oil on panel. 20 × 16 in.

Bec Winnel is an accomplished Australian illustrator and artist whose portraiture combines the illustrative precision of a graphic artist with the sophistication and emotiveness of a painter. The ethereal quality of her work is the result of carefully layered media including pastel, pencil, watercolor, and collage. Winnel’s work is delicate, otherworldly, and seems to border on the immaterial.

Courtesy of Exhibit No.9

Tom White (United States), Industrial Romance, Fond Illusions #12, 2019.
Sublimation onto gloss aluminum.

Tom White is a visual artist using the photographic medium as a launching point to create abstract narratives. Industrial Romance is a collection of abstract contemporary urbanscapes built on the idea of transformation. White's works are created from images of everyday encounters with subway handles, ATMs, fire hydrants, construction sites, antique doorknobs, sidewalk grates, security fences, and many other mundane details of street life.

About the Author

Eva Zanardi

Eva Zanardi is a New York-based curator, art advisor and art writer specializing in Kinetic Art, Op Art and Minimalism.

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