Contemporary art turns tradition on its head.
So says Toma Wolff, Executive Director of the Byron Cohen Gallery. Toma is one of our go-tos when we seek advice on the contemporary art market. Below she shares with us a list of artists she particularly loves and watches carefully.
Toma Wolff, Executive Director, Byron Cohen Gallery
Rudd Van Empel
RUUD VAN EMPEL, Sunday #2, 2012, Archival pigment print, 28 x 20 in, Courtesy of Byron Cohen Gallery
Van Empel is an artist who turns photography upside down and inside out. There is something so arresting about his images; they stop us in our tracks, hold us in their gaze. The children he photographs are bold and innocent; oddly familiar yet different. The images are beautiful for sure, but the effect is slightly jarring and disarming, as well.
Many believe that Van Empel’s style shines a light on the direction modern photography will take in the 21st century. Elton John is a big-time fan and even dedicated a song to him during a recent concert.
ELIZABETH HUEY, Chemistry, 2015, Acrylic and Oil on Wood Panel, 60 x 48 in, Courtesy of Byron Cohen Gallery
Elizabeth Huey’s paintings examine human connection, and each one feels like a world of its own. With her masters in painting from Yale, the many art residencies (including those at the Smithsonian and Yaddo) attended, and the year-long poetry class just completed, you can feel how the power of formal education has provided a backdrop to her intense passion for creativity and form.
She is a killer painter. Her work features awe-inspiring colors and amazing composition.
LAETITIA SOULIER, The Square Roots 2, 2014, C-Print, 2014, 40 x 80 in, Courtesy of Byron Cohen Gallery
“What a strange world we live in.” Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
There is a beautiful, yet altogether strange, wave of ebbing realism and flow of the imagined in Laetitia Soulier’s art. For this Fractal Architecture series, Soulier started by meticulously creating scale models of the scenes she imagined, and every small object that occupies her interiors was handmade. Her works are mesmerizing, mysterious — and beautiful.
French-born and raised, Soulier now lives in New York. Her installations and large-scale photographs have been exhibited internationally and nationally (including Miami’s Art Basel). Her work is in many private and public collections, such as the 21C Museum, the Hood Museum of Fine Art, the West Collection among others.
LIU BOLIN, Hiding in New York No. 8 - Cereal, 2013. Photograph, 44 1/4 x 59 in, Courtesy of Byron Cohen Gallery
Can a person disappear in plain sight?
Chinese performance artist, Liu Bolin’s nickname is “The Invisible Man.” Easy to understand why… Bolin paints his body and immerses himself in different situations, hiding himself in plain view, and to terrific effect. It is Liu’s camouflaged body that registers his silent protest of his country’s practices since its Cultural Revolution.
Inspired by his powerful visual messages,The Louvre, Harper's Bazaar and many other institutions, individuals, and publications have collaborated with Bolin on creative projects. And, his TED talk is not to be missed.
PETER SARKISIAN, Book 1 , 2011, found book, powder coated steel and aluminum, video projection. 13 x 10 x 20 in, Courtesy of Byron Cohen Gallery
Peter Sarkisian’s work combines video projection with sculpture to create his own dynamic and totally intriguing form of multi-media installation. Thought-provoking, highly original, never-dull — his approach challenges the viewer to think differently.
Sarkisian is an American new-media artist, who has had exhibitions throughout the world, including in the Whitney Museum of American Art; he has been reviewed in The Economist and named Master Video Artist by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Interesting sidebar: It is Sarkisian himself who is the pint-size man in the video crawling all around on his hands and knees, slipping into the pages of the Dictionary, wielding a black marker and lots of options.
JANE HAMMOND, All Souls Thursday Island, 2008, rabbit fur, false eyelashes and horsehair, Gouache and acrylic on paper 53 x 69.5 x 3.5 in, Courtesy of Byron Cohen Gallery
American contemporary artist Jane Hammond’s works have a dream-like quality. Random and mysterious, she uses different materials, thoughts and elements to create beautiful tableaus. Each feels like an imprint or snapshot from a wild, random story or bizarre, ethereal daydream.
Influenced by the arts, poetry, literature and music, Hammond has collaborated with many of the greats, including the late composer John Cage and poet John Ashbery.
For more information on these artists and their works — or any other artists represented on the Byron Cohen Gallery website — contact Toma directly. She loves being an “artist/collector-matchmaker” and is amazing at connecting new and seasoned collectors to art with which they can love and live.