Art Basel Miami Beach: Kwame Brathwaite, Holly Coulis, Katy Cowan, Tomory Dodge, Sedrick Huckaby, Pamela Jorden, Kristy Luck, Nathan Mabry, Elizabeth Newman, Joanne Petit-Frère

2 - 6 December 2020

For Art Basel Miami Beach 2020 OVR Section, Philip Martin Gallery is proud to present new sculptures, paintings and photographic works by Kwame Brathwaite, Holly Coulis, Katy Cowan, Tomory Dodge, Sedrick Huckaby, Pamela Jorden, Kristy Luck, Nathan Mabry, Elizabeth Newman and Joanne Petit-Frère. The fair will be accessible online December 2 - 6, 2020.

 

For Art Basel Miami Beach 2020 OVR Section, Kwame BRATHWAITE has released two stunning new photographs. The first work, "Untitled (Clara Lewis Buggs with Yellow Flower)" (1962), is one of Brathwaite's earliest color images. This beautiful, pensive piece depicts Grandassa Model Clara Lewis Buggs. Ms. Buggs's 1961 victory in the African National Pioneer Movement's "Miss Natural Standard of Beauty" contest catalyzed Kwame Brathwaite's "Black is Beautiful" work. Images of Buggs wearing her hair "in a Zulu style" appeared in the Liberator in 1963, and in other publications, and are discussed in-depth by Tanisha Ford in her essay in the recent Aperture catalog on Brathwaite's work. The second shot shows music legend Miles Davis, Kwame Brathwaite's friend and peer in both art and politics, hitting the speed bag at Harry Wiley's Training Gym in New York circa 1964. One of the best trainers ever, Harry Wiley was the first African-American hired by USA Olympic Boxing. He was later fired in 1932 by Olympic Boxing for protesting the inferior food that was served to Black athletes. Wiley went on to train champions like Sugar Ray Leonard; here, Kwame Brathwaite documents Miles Davis working the speed bag while wearing slacks - as if he just stopped by. It is a surprising and intimate moment of grit, focus and determination. 

 

Holly COULIS’s paintings operate as stages where still life scenes unfold. A table, for example, creates an initial structure where simplified, geometric forms are arranged and interact. There is a sense of order in these scenes - as if the fruits and dishes were laid out by some external force. Through layers of paint, linear elements are created, giving the illusion of colorful stripes or energy fields around individual objects. These works feel familiar, but upend our sense of figure/ground, horizon-line, perspective, and scale. Dynamic lines separate the objects and the bright color fields around them, engaging the respective areas of the painting like interlocking puzzle pieces. The objects in Coulis's paintings and the planes on which they sit have started to morph in Coulis’s work over the course of the last few years. She comments, "The work is getting more abstract, which initially wasn't something intentional. When I first started making these still life paintings, I never intended to push them into abstraction, it just slowly started to happen. Now, in the next body of work, I am starting to become most interested in the abstract elements, how the lines intersect and weave and the places that open up for color. Sometimes I even want to eliminate all recognizable form! I'm not in any rush to do that, but there is part of me that wants to see what would happen if they became completely abstracted.” "You can sense that something else might happen,” she says. "I create the language and then it feeds on itself. A number of possibilities open up a few directions (or not) and you have to just follow along. If you're a scientist, there's no end. There's no answer. You find an answer, and then you find another problem.” 

 

Katy COWAN's work investigates the terms of the art object, her identity as a maker and the site of creation itself. Cowan's body, her studio tools, and the events in her immediate environment serve as generative subject-matter for her artworks. Cowan moves easily between media. “I am completely interested in breaking down barriers of categorization,” she states. Her transitions rely on a larger, systematic way of thinking that emphasizes alteration, repetition, and a conceptual emphasis on material choice. At the same time, Cowan’s work embraces an open attitude towards studio practice: “I love incorporating accidents into my work and learning to react to them, to build off of them.” Recent works reflect Northern California, where Cowan lives and works; they “show the shifting winds, the force of the Pacific ocean on Northern California coastlines, the foggy calm of the evening sun burning through the atmosphere.” Poetry is another influence in Cowan’s work, As a visual artist, working in response to poetry, “takes time,” Cowan writes, “you have to step back, see your world in a new way, and let that change affect you.” 

 

Over the course of his career, Tomory DODGE has become known for dynamic paintings that explore the representation and mechanics of picture-making. He writes, “I have often talked about paintings being inherently contradictory things. They are objects that are spaces, walls that are windows. They are the intersection of object and image. Painting maintains a physical anchor at a time when the image generally is becoming more and more ethereal—everywhere and nowhere at the same time.” Painting’s power to represent images and events means that we often forget the fact that paintings themselves are a matrix of applied material signs. The vision of the painter and the subjects that they depict are figured through brushstroke, color and texture. Dodge comments, “Paradoxically, similar to analytic cubism perhaps, the attempt to understand something in its totality often results in partially obscuring it.” Within Dodge’s large oil-on-canvas paintings, many smaller “paintings” seem to jostle together, making room for themselves within the greater composition. The artist’s practice is both additive and reductive. He paints over older moments and scraps away, finding the painting within the painting, to reach the final form of the work.

 

Everyday people are the essence of Sedrick HUCKABY’s work. "Ordinary people matter," he comments. Many of his subjects live in Ft. Worth, Texas, where he also makes his home. The work reminds us of art's power as a communicative tool that engenders change by empowering an understanding of one's own life, and those of the people around us. “The African-American family and its heritage has been the content of my work for several years,” Huckaby writes. “In large-scale portraits of family and friends I try to aggrandize ordinary people by painting them on a monumental scale.”  Huckaby's words and images ask us to think about our communities. They ask us to look hard at the people around us, to really see them, and to listen to the stories they have to tell. “I am most enthusiastic about painting from a live sitter. There is an incredible energy when painting directly from another person and I love the challenge. Sometimes there is conversation, and at other times silence–but always there is a feeling of sharing a small slice of life together. I hope these paintings not only celebrate the sitter’s facial features but also send the message that ordinary people, who may not be great in society’s eyes, should be of paramount importance to us.”

 

Pamela JORDEN applies her paint in directed, pushed and dragged flows. She actively and physically manipulates the material of her work. The linen is pulled, stretched, and incised. It wraps around the convex and concave curves of the stretchers, and gives solidity to the more atmospheric qualities of the painted surface. “For me, color is surprising. My response to it can be totally visceral and emotional, and this makes it endlessly exciting,” Jorden comments. “It interests me to figure out how a color works in a painting, how I can undermine and alter its intensity, or how a color relationship can create a vibration and tension that keeps movement happening in the painting.” Jorden often refers to landscape and qualities of light in her work, associating the exposed areas of linen with the color and texture of the sandy soil of Southern California, where she lives. "My paintings are improvisations, exploring qualities of reflection, energy, movement, magnetism, and light."

 

Kristy LUCK’s paintings are windows into psychological spaces where forms emerge from fluid gestures and rich colors. Building upon sketches, her surreal landscapes evoke a subconscious understanding of space and objects. The titles give viewers a glimpse of her intentions and the imagery and patterns echo historical depictions of women in melancholic or revelatory states. "I think of it as revisiting the same place at a different time of day, or years later. The color, the emphasis, the images, all shift and change - like music,” Luck says. "Color as a narrative device can be incredibly elusive. Both the image and the emotional experience are guided by the color. It is nuanced and requires intimacy.” Luck includes motifs of erupting volcanoes, bursting blooms, and spinning tornadoes, all events that signal transformation. At the same time, these shapes are open so that viewers can also bring their own associations and readings of the scenes. “I want my surfaces to generously reveal their making to the viewer in visible, built-up layers and repeated patterns. At the same time, I let the forms in the image slip out of grasp to evoke personal or private mystery.” Inspired by artists and writers like Carol Rama and Clarice Lispector, Kristy Luck's work addresses sensuality, imagination and memory. We experience these spaces as if in a dream: "Part of how I gauge when a piece is finished is that there is no pre-dominant read." There is a sense of presence in these works, but also one of absence, a feeling of things coming together, and breaking apart.

 

Nathan MABRY takes on popular culture and art history as a kind of ready-made. This Duchampian impulse pairs well with Mabry’s own fascination with how art objects function in the public mind. Mabry’s desire to address the totality of culture, both high and low, fuels an urge to make relevant, holistic sculptures that engage with the inherent complexities of the world in which we live. He writes, “I’ve always been fascinated by the power of the object, and how it relates to personal and collective experiences.” In playing with the look and feel of objects, how we relate to them and how we relate to each other, Mabry reinvents their meaning and power.In his “Nostalgia of the Infinite” series, Mabry investigates the intersection of art and anthropology through archeological artifacts and iconic artworks of “cultural significance.”

 

Elizabeth NEWMAN’s paintings address color and surface. They explore the idea that our perception of things - visual and emotional - can be re-shaped by revealing constituent elements. Her paintings employ the push-pull of Hans Hoffman, with the aplomb of Mary Heilmann, creating different kinds of painted space, and unexpected juxtapositions of color. We see in these works, gestures reminiscent of Twombly or Lasker, that could be almost figurative, suggesting goals both abstract and representational. Newman offers articulate reflections on beauty, philosophy, and the concerns of everyday life.

 

Joanne PETIT-FRÈRE addresses the human body as a site of beauty and adornment. Drawing on various African Diaspora traditions, the photographs of Cindy Sherman, Haitian history and a range of other sources, Petit-Frère makes films, drawings and labor-intensive tapestries and sculptures that involve weaving by hand as many as eight or more colors of synthetic hair. Many of Petit-Frère’s wall-works and sculpture are activated by performance. Joanne Petit-Frère enlists performance as a means by which to think about the body. At a moment in which human touch and presence in society is increasingly charged, Petit-Frère's artwork reveals human beauty and form, the power of identity, and the shifting currents of social dialogue. "We’re in the midst of a major movement now with consciousness of hair types, as well as art and imagery, being pushed to fantastical reaches in the digital era,” Petit-Frère comments. Petit-Frère offers profound routes to broaden our understanding, allowing us to consider the art object as an active tool in for exploring who we are and what we can be.

 

ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES

 

Kwame BRATHWAITE (b. 1938, New York, NY) is currently the subject of major touring exhibition, "Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful." The exhibition premiered at the Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles, CA), and has travelled to the Museum of the African Diaspora (San Francisco, CA), and the Columbia Museum of Art (Columbia, SC). Additional venues include the Blanton Museum of Art (Austin, TX), the New-York Historical Society (New York, NY); and Reynolda House Museum of American Art (Winston-Salem, NC). A monograph of the same title, produced by the Aperture Foundation, was released May 2019 with essays by Deborah Willis, Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at Tisch School of the Arts of New York University and Tanisha C. Ford, Associate Professor of Black American Studies and History at the University of Delaware. Brathwaite’s work has recently been acquired by such institutions as Santa Barbara Museum of Art (Santa Barbara, CA); Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston, TX); Minnesota Museum of American Art (St. Paul, MN); Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University (Chicago, IL); Pérez Art Museum Miami (Miami, FL); Columbia Museum of Art (Columbia, SC); National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC); JPMorgan Chase Art Collection (New York, NY); Sidley Austin LLP (New York, NY); The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY); Museum of the City of New York (New York, NY); The Studio Museum in Harlem (New York, NY); Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY); Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY); MIT List Visual Arts Center (Cambridge, MA); and Sharjah Art Museum (Sharjah, United Arab Emirates). Brathwaite's work has recently appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Vogue, New York Post, New York Magazine, Aperture, and other publications. Brathwaite lives and works in New York, NY.

 

Holly COULIS (b. 1968, Toronto, Canada) received her BFA from Ontario College of Art and Design (Toronto, Canada) in 1995 and her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA) in 1998. Her work will be the subject of a solo-exhibition at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA) in May 2021. Coulis has had recent solo and group exhibitions at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA); Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery (New York, NY); Cooper Cole (Toronto, Canada); University of Georgia (Athens, GA); Atlanta Contemporary (Atlanta, GA); Massachusetts College of Art and Design (Boston, MA); Sardine (Brooklyn, NY); Paramó (Guadalajara, Mexico); El Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños (Oaxaca, Mexico); Galleria d'Art Moderna (Milan, Italy); The Bruce High Quality Foundation (New York, NY); and Leo Koenig (New York, NY. Her work has been reviewed in publications such as Artforum, Art in America, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Flaunt Magazine, Hyperallergic, and FT Magazine. Coulis lives and works in Athens, GA.

 

Katy COWAN (b. 1982, Lake Geneva, WI) received her BFA from University of Puget Sound (Puget Sound, WA) in 2004 and her MFA from Otis College of Art and Design (Los Angeles, CA) in 2014. Her work was recently included in "The Day in the Night" at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA); “Centennial: 100 Years of Otis College Alumni" at Otis College of Art and Design (Los Angeles, CA); "Left, Right, Left, Left" at The Green Gallery (Milwaukee, WI); and "The Blue Sun Moans" at Kate Werble Gallery (New York, NY). She has been featured in solo and group exhibitions at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA); Fourteen30 Contemporary (Portland, OR); University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, WA); Lynden Sculpture Garden (Milwaukee, WI); Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (Madison, WI); Synchrotron Radiation Center: Home of Aladdin (Stoughton, WI); Poor Farm (Manawa, WI); The Green Gallery (Milwaukee, WI); and Kate Werble Gallery (New York, NY). Cowan's work is in public and private collections such as the Minneapolis Museum of Art (Minneapolis, MN); Lynden Sculpture Garden (Milwaukee, WI); Art in Embassies (Maputo, Mozambique); and Northwestern Mutual Insurance. Her work has been reviewed in Artforum, Los Angeles Times, Architectural Digest, Wallpaper*, Contemporary Art Review LA, and Artnet. Cowan lives and works in Berkeley, CA.

 

Tomory DODGE (b. 1974, Denver, CO) received his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI) in 1998 and his MFA from California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, CA) in 2004. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Ceysson & Bénétière (New York, NY); Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA); LUX Art Institute (Encinitas, CA); "Stranger Than Paradise," Rhode Island School of Design Museum (Providence, RI); "Grafforists," Torrance Art Museum (Torrance, CA); "Nowism," Pizzuti Collection (Columbus, OH); "An Appetite For Painting," National Museum (Oslo, Norway); "Pouring It On," Herter Art Gallery, University of Massachusetts (Amherst, MA); "Tomory Dodge and Denise Thomasos: Directions to a Dirty Place," Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (Winston-Salem, NC); "Future Tense: Reshaping the Landscape," Neuberger Museum of Art (Purchase, NY); "American Soil," Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (Overland Park, KS); "Sheldon Survey," Sheldon Memorial Gallery, University of Nebraska (Lincoln, NE). His work is in the collections of such museums as Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA); Orange County Museum of Art (Newport Beach, CA); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, (San Francisco, CA); Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley, CA); Henry Art Gallery (Seattle, WA); Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas, TX); Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (Overland Park, KS); Orlando Museum of Art (Orlando, FL); Knoxville Museum of Art (Knoxville, TN); Weatherspoon Art Museum (Greensboro, NC); Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, DC); RISD Museum, Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI); Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, CT); and Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY). Dodge's work is the subject of several monographic catalogs and has been discussed in such publications as Artforum, Flash Art, Modern Painters, Art Review, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. Dodge lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

 

Sedrick HUCKABY (b. 1975, Fort Worth, TX) received a BFA from Boston University (Boston, MA) and an MFA from Yale University (New Haven, CT). In March 2021, his work will be the subject of a solo exhibition at Philip Martin Gallery. In May 2021, Huckaby’s work will be the subject of a solo exhibition at the Blanton Museum of Art (Austin, TX). In fall 2021, Huckaby will be included in, ”Kinship,” curated by Dorothy Moss,  alongside Njideka Akunyili Crosby and others at the National Portrait Gallery (Washington, DC). Recent solo exhibitions include Amon Carter Museum of American Art (Fort Worth, TX);  African American Museum (Dallas, TX); The Grace Museum (Abilene, TX) and Danforth Museum of Art (Framingham, MA). Huckaby has been the recipient of awards and fellowships such as Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant (New York, NY); Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (New York, NY); The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition (Washington, D.C.); John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (New York, NY); and the 2018 Texas State Visual Artist Award. His work is in the collections of Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY); the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA); the African American Museum (Dallas, TX); McNay Art Museum (San Antonio, TX); Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University (Durham, NC); Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis, MN); and the U.S. Embassy, Namibia (Republic of Namibia, South Africa). His work has been featured in various publications including “Artforum,” “Hyperallergic,” “National Geographic,” and “Houston Chronicle.” Huckaby lives and works in Fort Worth, TX.

 

Pamela JORDEN (b. 1969, Knoxville, TN) received a BFA from the University of Tennessee in 1992 and an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 1996. Her work will be the subject of a solo-exhibition at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA) in December. Jorden's work was recently featured in "Katy Cowan and Pamela Jorden: The Day in the Night" at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA). Jorden has had recent solo and group exhibitions at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery (New York, NY); Romer Young Gallery (San Francisco, CA); Brennan & Griffin (New York, NY); Seterah Gallery (Düsseldorf, Germany); Pizzuti Collection (Columbus, OH); Mason Gross Art Gallery at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ). Jorden's work has been written about numerous publications such as Artforum, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and Art in America. Jorden lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

 

Kristy LUCK (b. 1985, Woodstock, IL) received a BFA from Rockford University (Rockford, IL) and a MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL). Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA); ODD ARK LA (Los Angeles, CA); Eastside International (Los Angeles, CA); and Tiger Strikes Asteroid (Chicago, IL). Additionally, her work has been included in group shows at Torrance Art Museum (Torrance, CA); Jacob’s West (Los Angeles, CA); 0-0LA (Los Angeles, CA); Guerrero Gallery (San Francisco, CA); Corbett vs. Dempsey (Chicago, IL); A Public Space (Fishers Island, New York); and Projet Pangée (Montreal, Canada). Luck was awarded the Lighthouse Works Fellowship in 2017. Her work has been featured in numerous publications including Los Angeles Times, Architectural Digest, Artillery Magazine, Whitehot Magazine, The Editorial Magazine, and Opening Ceremony. Luck lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

 

Nathan MABRY (b. 1978, Durango, CO) received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute (Kansas City, MO) in 2001 and his MFA from the University of California (Los Angeles, CA) in 2004. Mabry’s work was recently featured in major exhibition, "The Sorcerer’s Burden: Contemporary Art and the Anthropological Turn" at The Contemporary Austin (Austin, TX). Mabry’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions, including solo and group shows at the Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas, TX); Hammer Museum (Los Angeles, CA); Orange County Musuem of Art (Newport Beach, CA); Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (San Diego, CA); Ahmanson Foundation Gallery (Irvine, CA); Las Vegas Art Museum (Las Vegas, NV); Museum of Contemporary Art (Denver, CO); Myhren Gallery, University of Denver (Denver, CO); The Rubell Family Collection (Miami, FL); Brevard Art Museum (Melbourne, FL); Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, MO); Carter Arts Center (Kansas City, MO); Parrish Art Museum (Southampton, NY); Bluecoat (Liverpool, UK); and the Vanhaerents Art Collection (Brussels, Belgium). Mabry’s work is included in the collections of Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA), Orange County Museum of Art (Newport Beach, CA), Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego, CA), Phoenix Museum of Art (Phoenix; AZ), Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas, TX), Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas, TX), Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, MO), Palm Springs Museum of Art (Palm Springs, CA), and Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY). Private collections include 176 / Zabludowicz Collection (London, UK), The Rubell Family Collection, (Miami, FL), and Vanhaerents Art Museum (Brussels, Belgium). His work has been the subject of reviews and articles in such domestic and international publications as Art in America, Artforum, Art + Auction, Frieze, Modern Painters, The Art Newspaper, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. Mabry lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

 

Elizabeth NEWMAN (b. 1962, Melbourne, Australia) studied at the Victorian College of the Arts (Melbourne, Australia). Newman’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Darren Knight Gallery (Sydney, Australia); the State Library of Victoria (Melbourne, Australia); Griffith University Art Museum (Brisbane, Australia); and Neon Parc (Melbourne, Australia). Her work has also been included in group shows at Ian Potter Museum, University of Melbourne (Melbourne, Australia); Australian Center for Contemporary Art (Melbourne, Australia); and Heide Museum of Modern Art (Melbourne, Australia). Her work has been featured in numerous publications such as Un Magazine, Art & Australia, Memo Review, and Art and Text. Newman lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.

 

Joanne Petit-Frère (b. 1987, New York, NY) received a BA from the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, NY).  In 2020, Petit-Frère’s work was the subject of two solo exhibitions: “Black Braid Brocade,” at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA), and BRAID.CORA QUARANTINA 2020 (POST.JUNETEENTH), commissioned by the California African-American Museum (Los Angeles, CA) and Los Angeles Nomadic Division (Los Angeles, CA). Petit-Frère’s work will be featured in an upcoming solo project on Gondola. Recent group and museum shows include, "A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes,” at the Museum of Pop Culture (Seattle, WA); and “This Synthetic Moment (Replicant)," curated by David Hartt at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA). Petit-Frère’s work has been included in performances and exhibitions at MoMA PS1 (New York, NY); Haitian Cultural Exchange (New York, NY); New Orleans Museum of Art (New Orleans, LA); and The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA). Petit-Frère has created custom hair sculptures for Beyoncé, Solange Knowles, Les Nubians, and Janelle Monáe, among others. Petit-Frère’s work has been featured in publications such as Artforum, Vogue, Vogue Italia, Vogue Japan, The New Yorker, The Evening Standard, AnOther Magazine, and Cultured Magazine. Petit-Frère lives and works in New York, NY.