Earlier this month, New York City hosted the annual “Armory Art Fair Week”, a four-day race to view over 600 galleries spread across seven fairs. Among the packed booths and energetic bustle of collectors, seven incredible new artworks stood out as the most intricate and magical objects I’ve seen all year.
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Jacob Hashimoto creates HUNDREDS of circular rice-paper kites for his complex 3D wall sculptures. Your eyes are not playing tricks on you, many of the painted patterns on the circles are intentionally pixelated. This 2018 work, “The Garden of Cosmic Violence” is over 5 feet square and extends nearly 8 inches off the wall. Presented by Vivian Horan Fine Art of New York, at The Armory Show.
The #1 stand-out was Kathleen Ryan’s moldy fruit sculptures created entirely from precious stones. If you’re a rock nerd, a full list of materials for “Emerald City” (the lemon) is below. Presented by Josh Lilley Gallery of London, at The Armory Show.
Materials in “Emerald City” (above) : Amazonite, onyx, quartz, rose quartz, turquoise, emerald, jasper, serpentine, smoky quartz, olive jade, fluorite, amethyst, tree agate, Ching Hai jade, lapis lazuli, agate, Russian serpentine, marble, ruby in zoisite, abalone shell, bone, coral, freshwater pearl, glass, steal pins on coated polystyrene.
One of the most surprising sculptures that many rushed visitors missed was this hole in the wall. Patrick Jacobs’ “Swamp Nocturne” is a 2.75 inch lens that reveals an entire 3D landscape. Jacobs handcrafts these miniature models from styrene, clay, paper, and foam. The actual “sculpture” is a 15 inch box hidden in the walls but his use of forced-perspective combined with the distortion of the lens gives the illusion of near-infinite depth. Presented by Pierogi Gallery of New York, at The Armory Show.
A darkened booth at The Art Show, the only fair held at an actual “Armory” was held a week earlier than the others. A stand out was Dario Robleto’s work featuring precisely-cut nautilus shells, urchin spines, and butterfly wings arranged into alien-like kaleidoscopic sculptures. The entire vitrine, with over a dozen sculptures is a single work of art, titled “Small Crafts on Sisyphean Seas”. Presented by Inman Gallery of Houston at The Art Show.
Joan Bankemper’s teapot “mosaics” are a collision of sculpture, design, and over-the-top flower arrangements. Though she incorporates historical ceramics and contemporary china, many of the objects within each sculpture are cast by the artist herself from her own obsessive collection of 1500 molds!!! Presented by Nancy Hoffman Gallery at The Art Show.
Gil Batle is famous for his hand-carved ostrich-egg sculptures that depict prison life. A number of the shells were on display, but this new carved wolf skull was a show-stopper. Note the canine tooth transformed into a dagger. Presented by Ricco Maresca of New York at Independent.
And after a multi-hour binge of art viewing, a weed growing out of a wall offers a welcome smile. But it makes THIS list because it’s not a weed at all. Tony Matelli creates hyper-realistic sculptures out of hand-painted bronze. You read correctly: this is painted bronze. Presented by Marlborough Contemporary of New York at Independent.
All images photographed by the author, David Behringer