India Rose James’ Top Three at Frieze LA
María Berrío, Ming Ying and Denzil Forrester stood out from the crowd.
Words and Photography India Rose James
As a curator and collector and artist herself, India Rose James, founder of the Soho Revue gallery in the heart of London, has a keen eye for emerging talent. Here she picks her top three from the recent LA Frieze fair, which we can only imagine is like a sunnier, more laid back version of the Regent’s Park incarnation that happens every October in London. James told us, “this was the first time I’ve been able to make it over to Los Angeles for the fair. LA had always felt like a second home and I spend a couple months in the city each year. The art scene is still quite small in LA, but with many artists moving over from NYC it’s starting to blossom.”
María Berrío, Cavalry, 2022
Berrio’s works for this show with Victoria Miro have been created especially for this presentation. The works on view mark the beginning of a larger series of paintings which blend the history of the thirteenth-century Children’s Crusade with the current mass migrations of peoples across the Mediterranean and the US border. To see these works in real life was a privilege, the craftsmanship behind these collages is breathtakingly beautiful.
‘The journey of some of the children during migration sometimes is endless, even if they arrive safely at their destination. The carousel is the most poignant symbol to the absence of place, a machine that moves in circles with no real or familiar ground or destination. As immigrants, that absence of place is always present. Unable to return, real places become imaginary. Actual origins become legends. As an artist, I try to revisit and re-imagine it with my work,” says Berrio.
The work attempts to create a dreamy scenario which toes the line between figuration and abstraction, forming a world which is parallel to, yet separated from reality. Through depicting the mundane and memorable moments of her characters’ lives, Ying materialises the existence of marginalisation, alienation and homogeneity to ultimately create an opportunity for viewers to resonate with the subjects in the paintings.
Denzil Forrester at Stephen Friedman Gallery
Forrester’s work began in the nightclubs of East London in the 1980s. The artist would take his sketchbook with him and draw in situ before developing the larger, painterly compositions in the studio the next day. Each sketch was dictated by the length of the record, roughly four minutes long, with the next beginning in sync with the changing soundtrack. Forrester transposes the freneticism of these drawings in his paintings by using frenetic, angular brush strokes that emulate the dynamic atmosphere of the club. The artist still uses the drawings from the 1980s and ‘90s to formulate the compositions of his works on canvas today.
Every time I see Denzil’s work I’m truly captivated and taken back to the scenes of his paintings. Dominated by rich shades of blue and yellow, ‘Black Moon’ is a characteristic example of Denzil Forrester’s practice. The figures’ distinctive clothing and tall ‘tam’ hats reflects the dub and reggae scene that has inspired the British-Grenadian artist’s work for over four decades. Forrester’s treatment of space accentuates the composition’s visual dynamism.