5 Artists on Our Radar in February 2023


Artsy Editorial

“Artists on Our Radar” is a monthly series produced by the Artsy team. Utilizing our art expertise and access to Artsy data, we highlight five artists who have our attention. To make our selections, we’ve determined which artists made an impact this past month through new gallery representation, exhibitions, auctions, art fairs, or fresh works on Artsy.

B. 1974, Chengdu, China. Lives and works in Beijing.

Peng Wei employs traditional Chinese painting techniques in tandem with innovatively shaped silk. In Peek – 5, for example, a squatting figure turns to look beyond the edge of the ovular picture plane, her mouth open in mid-speech, as if calling out to someone that the viewer cannot see. This work, along with others from the artist’s “Peek” and “Migrations of Memory” series, were exhibited in a group presentation by Tina Keng Gallery at ART SG earlier this year.

Peng’s “Migrations of Memory” series, which was the centerpiece of a group exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art last year, juxtaposes different art forms, specifically poetry and painting. Presented alongside classical Chinese paintings and instruments from the museum’s collection, Peng’s ink paintings on paper were displayed on music stands. In Migrations of Memory III No. 10, Peng translated and transcribed a Western music composer’s letter in Chinese calligraphy—compact and still—adjacent to a painting of a waterfall leaping down a steep mountainside with twisting trees. Here, Peng shows that landscape painting can be just as expressive as a composer’s emotional missive, and vice versa.

Peng earned an MA in philosophy and a BFA in painting from Nankai University in Tianjin, China. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Suzhou Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Additionally, her work has been acquired by institutions such as the National Art Museum of China, the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and more. Peng was also a recipient of the 2014 Asia Pacific Breweries Signature Art Prize for her 2012 installation Letters from a Distance.

—Isabelle Sakelaris

B. 1990, Hofmeyr, South Africa. Lives and works in Los Angeles.

Deriving inspiration from magical realism, Simphiwe Ndzube uses ambiguity and symbolism to explore ideas of race and power in fantastical paintings and figurative sculptures. His works are currently on view through February 25th in a group show at Hong Kong’s Kiang Malingue as part of a programming exchange with Stevenson’s Amsterdam outpost.

Working between two and three dimensions, Ndzudu creates windows into mythical worlds, exploring love and freedom in the context of post-apartheid South Africa. For Amagents #1 (2022), the South African–born artist embellished the sculpture with found objects such as buttons, zippers, and synthetic braids. Attaching a metal clothing hanger and papier-mâché feet to linen fabric cut in the shape of a jumpsuit, Ndzube created an enigmatic figure.

Meanwhile, in the painting Seated Mother (2022), he employed soft hues onto his canvas, depicting a surreal scene starring a winged woman. Seated against a scenic backdrop, the part-woman, part-beast hybrid evokes a sense of peace through the expression of contentment on her face.

Ndzube received a BA in fine art from the University of Cape Town in 2015. He has exhibited in solo shows at the Denver Art Museum, Nicodim Gallery, Stevenson, and elsewhere. Additionally, Ndzube’s work is held in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Iziko South African National Gallery, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, and the Rubell Museum.

—Adeola Gay

B. 1973, East Java, Indonesia. Lives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and Mosman, Australia.

Indonesian multidisciplinary artist Jumaadi works across various media, from drawing and sculpture to performance and installation. Incorporating elements of mythology, spirituality, and animism throughout his practice, he draws on historical narratives and cross-cultural dialogues between his birthplace and Australia, where he pursued his undergraduate and graduate studies in fine arts.

In “Almost Natural,” Jumaadi’s solo booth presented by Singapore’s 39+ Art Space at S.E.A. Focus earlier this year, themes of tradition and ritual were brought to the fore. His series of robust paintings on buffalo hide harkens to a traditional form of Indonesian shadow puppet theater, wayang kulit, and represents the artist’s connection to community and nature. Jumaadi said, “Like the Puppet before the Master, [my works] are displayed and waited to be touched. Like the landscape before being the subject of a painting, like a boat before the sea, like a wedding gown before the bride.”

Since receiving his BFA from the National Art School, Sydney, in 2002, Jumaadi has seen his work acquired by numerous public collections around the world, and featured in more than 30 solo exhibitions.

—Arun Kakar

B. 1969, Epping, England. Lives and works in London.

For Erin Lawlor, the medium is the muse: Her saturated abstractions celebrate the fluidity of paint with wide, exaggerated brushstrokes that wriggle and intertwine across the canvas. Typically large in scale with rich, enticing colors, these works feel like monuments to markmaking itself.

This monumental quality is on full view in Lawlor’s current exhibition, “Invincible Summer,” organized by Vigo Gallery at the Wellington Arch in London. Here, the artist presents works that find resonance with the landmark’s martial history—the heroic, three-paneled battle (2021), for example, draws inspiration from war paintings by the Italian Early Renaissance artist Paolo Uccello. Formally, Lawlor’s piece more obviously bears the influence of Abstract Expressionist painters like Lee Krasner.

Lawlor received a BA in art history from Paris-Sorbonne University, and spent the formative years of her career in Paris before returning to the U.K. In addition to the show at Wellington Arch, which is on view through March 19th, Vigo Gallery is mounting Lawlor’s solo exhibition “Earthly Delights,” on view through March 1st, and presented her work at Art SG in January. Lawlor was also included in the recent group exhibition “Ways of Seeing” at Jarilager Gallery in Cologne.

—Olivia Horn

B. 1991, New York. Lives and works in New York.

Genna Howard playfully combines ’90s nostalgia with the aesthetics of American traditional tattoos. In the online group exhibition “Welcome to Uncanny Valley,” presented by Darlings through March 1st, Howard’s Nurse (2023) recalls the nautical iconography of tattoo artist Sailor Jerry (born Norman Collins), whose name is synonymous with American tattooing. The thick linework and bold colors that have come to define the American traditional style are translated and achieved in Howard’s work through an unexpected material: perler beads, the simple plastic beads often used in children’s crafts.

In addition to beads, Howard’s practice includes painting and ceramics, both of which are similarly influenced by the motifs and compositions of tattoo flash—designs that Howard has a deep familiarity with as a tattoo artist themself. Their ceramic pieces also capture a sense of nostalgia, though not in material like their beadwork, but rather the subject matter: the lasagna-loving, comic-strip cat Garfield.

Born and raised in New York, Howard earned their BFA in illustration and fine arts from the School of Visual Arts in 2014. Their multimedia practice is representative of the growing number of artists working between tattoos and ceramics. Their contemporaries include Tamara Santibañez, Alma Proença, Jess Chen, and Rose Hardy, among others. Together, they move seamlessly between media and materials, illustrating that the boundaries that separate different genres of art are, in fact, porous—like ink into skin.

—Harley Wong

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