Satoshi Ohno, Dating in Ocean of Trees, 2015, at Tomio Koyama Gallery.

Satoshi Ohno, Dating in Ocean of Trees, 2015, at Tomio Koyama Gallery.

Best in Show: Frieze Fair

My Favorite Paintings

 

For this year’s Frieze Art Fair at Randall’s Island in New York City, I tried to avoid the usual fair fatigue one can experience at a show of this magnitude and went on a scavenger hunt for the best painting I could find. Location was sometimes important, as Blum & Poe’s booth near the entrance with a large Carrol Dunham of a yellow sun called Solar Eruption (2000-2001) had the first canvas to catch my attention over a visual overload of competing booths in the spacious, brightly-lit environment of the fair.

 

Carrol Dunham, Solar Eruption, 2000-2001, at Blum & Poe.

Carrol Dunham, Solar Eruption, 2000-2001, at Blum & Poe.

 

In contrast, The Breeder’s space in the middle of the fair had Jannis Varelas’ Der Krieger (2013), a large black-and-white, charcoal-and-oil on canvas with a folk art vibe that packed a graphic punch.

 

Jannis Varelas, Der Krieger, 2013, at The Breeders.

Jannis Varelas, Der Krieger, 2013, at The Breeder.

 

For solo presentations, Fredericks & Freiser’s booth with several colorful Gary Panter works was a standout. Hung on black walls covered with countless original white chalk drawings, this punk pioneer’s cartoony paintings, like Seven Dead, 21 Missing (1988) shined.

 

Gary Panter, Seven Dead, 21 Missing,1988, at Fredericks & Freiser.

Gary Panter, Seven Dead, 21 Missing, 1988, at Fredericks & Freiser.

 

The slightly off-center composition of Pablo Picasso’s Homme et femme I (1971) at Acquavella shows what the master could do with just a few loose lines and squiggles over a brushy background, turning a man and woman into a tangled, contorted soul.

 

Pablo Picasso ,Homme et femme I, 1971, at Acquavella.

Pablo Picasso, Homme et femme I, 1971, at Acquavella.

 

For sheer razzle-dazzle, Satoshi Ohno’s Dating in Ocean of Trees (2015) at Tomio Koyama Gallery couldn’t be beat, with its rainbow palette landscape of geometric and natural forms. Coming in a close second was Kyungah Ham’s Abstract Weave – Morris Louis Untitled A (2014) at Kukje Gallery, an explosion of colorful forms made all the more intriguing by its medium of machine embroidery.

 

Kyungah Ham, Abstract Weave - Morris Louis Untitled A, 2014, at Kukje Gallery.

Kyungah Ham, Abstract Weave – Morris Louis Untitled A, 2014, at Kukje Gallery.