It’s 4:38 in the morning, and I’m barely awake, checking emails on my phone, as I realize my friend Tim was supposed to be at my house eight minutes ago. This means I was also supposed to be ready eight minutes ago. I jump out of bed, feeling grateful that I packed the night before, throw on some clothes and bring my suitcase to the door, just in time to see the headlights of Tim’s car come slowly into view. I kiss my fiancé and sleepy Vizsla (both still in bed) good-bye and off we go. An hour drive to Boston and a three-hour flight later, we arrive in Miami. It’s Miami Basel: game on.
Pretty quickly after we arrived I discovered what I was trying to find amongst the vast assortment of artwork, seeping from what seemed to be every which direction throughout Miami. It was exciting to say the least. There was uniqueness to the conversations people were having, a combination of excitement and relaxation. It was another day at work, but the office was newly remodeled. As I looked at artwork after artwork, I couldn’t help but notice that it all seemed just a little brighter, a little happier, a little bit more shiny and sophisticated- ready for release. It was as though we stood under diamond lights, trading context for meaning and becoming lost by overstimulation. On the one hand, there is an allure and total excitement to the energy, but when it gets down to the work, give me the darkness; give me grit.
What really set the tone for me was Ryan Brown’s work at Y Gallery in Untitled Art Fair. The work achieved a temper that felt different than many of the other booths. The gallery and the artist successfully utilized the dynamics of the space, an achievement that I really believe is unique to find at art fairs. It’s like going to a great concert as opposed to just hearing a great song; it stays with you longer and lives in a different fashion than just in the physical realm. Brown exhibited a series of works on paper, aged in such a fashion that mirrored the work of some 1970s artists such as Helene Aylon’s “Breakings” or even Andy Warhol’s “Oxidation” paintings. Brown’s sensitivity to his materials provided a swathe of narratives to come into play and gently balanced conceptual components with pure abstract beauty. Just around the corner at Carslaw St* Lukes booth, the drawings of Paul Chiappe were a presentation of unbelievable talent and repetition of photorealist works. It’s not that often that the near perfection of someone’s skills opens the parameters for conceptual content. The tiny renderings of class photos were nearly identical and flawlessly executed, solidifying the bridge between the process and the monotony within its content. Kendal Koppe’s booth at Nada provided a stirring mixture of personal nostalgia and an incredible sense of painterly attitude from artist Laura Aldridge. Even though these works were not in fact paintings, there was something just as freeing and childlike about them. Maybe it was simply the material- having grown up with a mother who always had materials around the house, there was a tactile sensation to these works for me. Constructed with cloth and mirrored to actual found pockets, the work reminded me of Christo’s “Packages,” where the brilliant mystery was the idea of the contents of within.
Looking back at the week’s events, it was great to discover some new and exciting artwork. Being at what felt like the art world version of Glastonbury Festival, it was a lot of fun to venture out on this year’s tour. Now, time to get back into the studio and put this week’s education to good use.
Sam Trioli was born in 1984 in Concord, Massachusetts and grew up in New Hampshire. He is a contemporary artist, curator and musician currently living and working in New York City. samtrioli.comTags: Journal