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Affordable Art Fair Los Angeles 2012

January 19, 2012

So it took me an hour and twenty minutes to get there and 19 minutes to get home. Such are the pendulum swings of LA traffic. The Affordable Art Fair opened on Thursday night and had a similar extreme pendulum swing of quality. It ranged from the sublime and thoughtful to the unpalatable and garish. On the surface the fair seemed professional and the venue, the same as the Pulse fair last September, was welcoming. Upon initial scan I was underwhelmed but scratching the surface lent some worthwhile Truffles indeed.

Rachel E Foster, Beethoven Love Letter, July 6th, 1806, Silkscreen and fingerprints.

Let’s start with Rachel E. Foster, a recent graduate from a MFA program in northern California. Her Beethoven Love Letter was a whisper of sincere and thoughtful process in a miasma of loud and cantankerous art. A simple silk screen of a mac keyboard, life-size, centers the composition. On the keys are fingerprints, smudged and insistent, plucking out the contents of a love letter that Beethoven wrote in 1806. Ms. Foster inks her fingers and types out the letter as though the keyboard were real never reinking in the course of correspondence. The words are there but all that remains is the index of the action not the content of the missive. I found the work to be enormously intelligent and sly! Contemporary with a knowing nod to history.The piece is at M. Edmunds Associates.

Anita Thacher, Open House 1, 2 and 3, 2002, Aquatint, 30 x 22 inches

Then there’s Anita Thacher at VenDeb Editions. A set of three variations on a theme in aquatint basically had me at hello. A chair and a house, in perspectival line drawings, are superimposed in varying scales in three colors. The prints themselves are lush. The theme, while not ground breaking, are so complete and unapologetic that they win you over. They simultaneously reference both Donald Judd and Joel Shapiro. But far from being derivative they tip their collective hats to these masters and strike out on their own. Elegant and wholly successful.

Rachel Nee, Smoke and Graphite on Board, 96 x 96 cm each and Detail

Then there the strange case for Rachael Nee. There’s such a long line of artists working in fire and soot that I rattled off half a dozen to the dealer representing Ms. Nee. He unfortunately was unaware of any of the stateside practitioners of the fire arts as he hailed from England. No matter, Ms. Nee puts a capable spin on the torch applied to paper creating near photographic allusion of people and their shadows. The work is strangely intoxicating and certainly attractive. I maintain that the work stands on its own without the crutch of conversational process. The piece is made upside down and reversed for display thereby lending a dislocation to the process that is necessary. Nee’s work is viewable at the Cube Gallery

Evzen Sobek, Woman Throwing Stick, Archival Ink Jet Print, Edition of ten, 64 x 64 cm

And Last but certainly not least is a gallery from Bloomington Indiana called Pictura Gallery. Really I thought….Bloomington! Yes! Co-curators Lisa Berry and Mia Dalglish and Media czar Nate Brewer engaged me in a rollicking conversation with erudition and infectious enthusiasm. The work at the gallery that drew me in was that of Evzen Sobek, a czech photographer who has done a series titled “Life in Blue” of former gypsies who settled in Yugoslavia and basically formed their own community based of leisure and fun. The image that will travel with me is Woman with stick. The narrative possibilities are endless but what struck me is that it’s impossible to gauge whether the dog is looking at the stick of the woman’s breast. The series is subtle and works a subterranean magic. At once documentarian and possibly artificial. A European William Christenberry if you will.

So there you have it. Four new artists, each of whom I hadn’t heard of before tonight working in conceptual printmaking, traditional aquatint, flame and photography. And each whose work I won’t soon forget. A good evening.

One of Four Maker Bots on display and the bust examples below.

And if all that wasn’t enough I highly recommend seeing the demonstration of a three-dimensional printer called The Replicator. Maker Bot Industries has four machines humming out prototypes from chess pieces to busts of Beethoven. The machines are available for under 2 grand! Keith Ozar, the head of marketing for Maker Bot, ran through the potentials and answered questions with amazing speed. Hello, Santa….I know it’s early but I wanted to put something on my list right away!

The Affordable Art Fair Los Angeles continues through Sunday January 22nd, 2012.

Mario M. Muller, Los Angeles, Janurary 19th, 2012

  1. Thanks, Mario, great post. I hadn’t planned on going there, but the bot-bust machine is a draw in itself.

    • Paula, The Maker Bot is worth the price of admission. The guys will load you up with info with the most sincere enthusiasm I’ve seen in a decade. I saw a prototype about three years ago and the idea was to hit a “prosumer market at 10 to 12 grand. Now it’s a tenth of that! Wanty Wanty!

  2. Bob White permalink

    Pictura Gallery was one of the best booths in The Houston Fine Art Fair too! Like a breath of fresh air. Good sniffing you old truffle hunter.

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