13-16 June 2019
For Art Basel 2019, Stephen Friedman Gallery (Hall 2.1, Booth K4) presents a selection of artists including Mamma Andersson, Melvin Edwards, Andreas Eriksson, Denzil Forrester, Tom Friedman, Wayne Gonzales, Jim Hodges, Deborah Roberts, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Jiro Takamatsu, Kehinde Wiley and Luiz Zerbini. The gallery also exhibits a participatory installation by Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander in Art Basel Unlimited.
‘The Blank Memories Always Open From The South' is an important and early large-scale painting by Swedish artist Mamma Andersson. Capturing the intensity of the Nordic countryside, the work depicts an imagined landscape that features a row of mysterious architectural structures on the edge of a vast body of water. In 2018, Andersson had a solo exhibition at Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, was awarded the 11th Guerlain Drawing Prize, and curated a major group exhibition as part of the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo.
‘Pamberi' forms part of African-American artist Melvin Edwards' notable ‘Rocker' series. Begun in the 1970s, this ongoing body of work is inspired by the memory of his grandmother Coco's rocking chair. Executed in steel, ‘Pamberi' rests on a base comprised of two large hemispheres and creates a graceful rocking motion when pushed. The title translates roughly to ‘forward' and was used as a political slogan in Zimbabwe in the period leading up to the country's independence. Edwards will have a solo exhibition at The Baltimore Museum of Art in September 2019.
A new series of paintings by Swedish artist Andreas Eriksson engages with nature and ephemerality. Working deep in the Swedish countryside, Eriksson's strength lies in his ability to elicit a palpable sense of place. His paintings reveal stark combinations of colour and texture; thinly applied fields of paint sit alongside pronounced areas of thick impasto, resembling both organic forms and aerial, topographical views.
Two large-scale and colourful paintings by Denzil Forrester immortalise the dynamic energy of the London reggae and dub nightclub scene during the early 1980s, conveying a subject that has endured throughout four decades of the artist's practice. Forrester's public commission for TFL and Brixton Underground Station will be unveiled in London in September 2019 and a solo exhibition of new works by the artist will open at Nottingham Contemporary in January 2020.
American artist Tom Friedman has the uncanny ability to imbue everyday, domestic objects and materials with wonder and awe in his work. ‘Balloon' captures the whimsical exploration at the heart of the artist's practice, enlarging an image of a pink balloon from his sketchbook and recreating it in photorealistic detail using coloured pencil. Friedman's drawings frequently mirror the wit and material complexity that characterises his sculptural works.
Wayne Gonzales' new, meticulously cross-hatched painting, ‘Chevron Plant Ruin', portrays an industrial structure soaring into a cloudless, azure sky and reflected in a calm body of water below. The artist's work examines contemporary American landscape and draws on source material from his own photographs, and those by iconic modernists Walker Evans and Charles Sheeler. Gonzales' work was most recently featured in the acclaimed group exhibition ‘Everything Is Connected: Art and Conspiracy' at The Met Breuer, New York, earlier this year.
‘His view looking back (dreaming of him)', a new, seductive painting by American artist Jim Hodges, depicts an ethereal landscape constructed from gold-leaf. Hodges' work explores themes of fragility, temporality and love by using a highly poetic vernacular. The artist has often used gold as part of his practice, drawing upon the material's symbolism to explore notions of time and memory. Here, the gold-leaf reflects and refracts light to offer the viewer a constantly changing perspective. A monumental sculpture by the artist is currently on view at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, until September 2019.
Two new works on panel made during American artist Deborah Roberts' residency at the Rauschenberg Foundation reflect the challenges encountered by young black children as they strive to build their identity. The artist explains, "The girls I depict in my work are at the age most young girls are when they're forming their sense of self, figuring out who they are in the world and the odds that are stacked up against them." Roberts will have a solo exhibition at The Contemporary Austin, Texas, in September 2020, and an exhibition of new works is on display at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, from June until the end of July 2019.
New vibrantly-coloured textile works by British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare CBE from his ‘Creatures of the Mappa Mundi' series explore what the artist refers to as "two of the most pressing concerns of our time: environmental protection and immigration." Commissioned by Meadow Arts for an exhibition at Hereford Cathedral earlier this year, these works are inspired by the Mappa Mundi, the largest medieval map still in existence. Shonibare's immersive installation ‘The British Library' was recently acquired by Tate, London and is currently on view at Tate Britain until the end of 2019.
‘Point No.15' is a rare and significant work by Japanese artist Jiro Takamatsu from 1961 in which a collection of string rests atop a swirling black mass of paint, emerging from the surface of the canvas into three dimension. With a tangible physicality, the work brings to mind the performative process of its making. ‘Point No.15' was included in Takamatsu's survey exhibition 'The Temperature of Sculpture' at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds in 2017.
Exploring race, identity and gender in the context of post-colonialism, African-American artist Kehinde Wiley continues his recent investigation into the symbolic significance of armour in a new oval portrait. Suggesting the violence inflicted against the black body, Wiley's male sitter is sheathed in medieval armour whilst fixing an unwavering gaze towards the viewer. The artist has recently launched Black Rock, a new multi-disciplinary artist-in-residency program in Senegal, and will be honoured by The Gordon Parks Foundation in June 2019.
Brazilian artist Luiz Zerbini's new kaleidoscopic painting, ‘Tensor Matemático', draws on visual references from art history, pop culture and from the artist's surroundings in Rio de Janeiro. The series takes particular inspiration from the iconic mosaic pavements and façades of modernist tower blocks in Brazilian cities, using the structure of the grid to investigate the relationship between colour, light and movement. Zerbini will have a solo presentation at the Fondation Cartier, Paris, in July 2019.