Written by Eric J. Davis for THE ARTISTS FORUM MAGAZINE
Edited by Amos White V for THE ARTISTS FORUM, INC
Photos: Eric J. Davis and Peter Cooper
5 out of 5 stars
FLUX ART FAIR HARLEM
NEW YORK, NY (May 15, 2015) Harlem has always been a game-changer in the spheres of culture, inspiration, and artistic creativity for generations, and it was yet again in evidence on May 13th at the inaugural FLUX Art Fair. More of a pop-up museum than gallery, the exhibition is, for the most-part, filled with quality pieces that could easily be found displayed in world-class institutions. It features a finely edited group of local and international artists – both established and emerging in their careers. Artists that are as diverse in their nationalities and ethnicity as their scope of artwork is as dynamically diverse from one another.
FLUX Art Fair is the brainchild of veteran Fair organizer and visionary curator Leanne Stella, and organized by her company Art in FLUX. “Harlem is a community that if you embrace it, it embraces you back,” stated Stella. “Flux Art Fair’s mission is to showcase artists that underscore the cultural zeitgeist that is Harlem.” Ms. Stella, who in 2013 was chosen by the Women’s Caucus for Art to receive the honor of their President’s Award for Art and Activism, led a team of guest curators for the undertaking of this collaborative project. Selections were based on the central curatorial theme of The 21st Century Artist is a Nomad.
The guest curators, which include Danny Simmons, David C. Terry, Kristin Sancken, Omo Misha, Rachel Weingeist, Rasu Jilani, Raul Zamudio, and Roger C. Tucker III, are prescient in their choices of individual artists. Michael Anderson (Harlem, NY) creates intricate collages and digital prints using street posters and bills gathered in New York City and other major cities around the world. Heather Hart (Brooklyn, NY) strives to generate memories through meaningful encounters with her interactive installations, while evoking a sense of history, identity, and healing. Jose Rodriguez (Cuba & NJ) explores the state of diaspora using fragmented maps, futuristic architecture, and surrealist symbols to chart an intimate, psychological landscape.
Sol’Sax (Brooklyn, NY) creates objects, images, and performances fusing African-American cultural heritages like Hip Hop, Jazz, and Blues with traditional African religions like Yoruba, Congo, and Akan. “The thought of a new and highly diverse art fair in good ol’ Harlem USA is very exciting,” Danny Simmons stated. “The Flux Art Fair follows a long tradition of presenting the very best of contemporary culture to a discerning audience.”
Showcased in the newly renovated historic Corn Exchange Building, these artists are distinct in style yet have a common thread that binds them – they are all progressive and global in reach. Each one has a clear message. A message which evokes powerful emotions, stimulates the senses, and challenges the mind to cross new boundaries of the imagination.
Expressive! Energetic! Exciting! The words not only describe the artwork, but also the artists.
Stan Squirewell (Harlem, NY) is a painter, photographer, installation, and performance artist. His work tackles themes such as race and memory through mythology, sacred geometry, and science. “The love in this place is amazing!” exclaimed Squirewell when interviewed. He added, “My work is mixed-media – legos, tubing, polymers, and pretty much anything else I can get my hands on. Rhythm, texture, and color are the three dynamic elements I concentrate on most. They bring people closer to my work.”
Ya La’Ford (FL & NY) is interested in the additive and subtractive processes, negative and positive spaces, obsessions, interconnectivity, evidence, and manipulation. La’Ford stated, “I work with a lot of anthropologists to figure out how we’re all connected and the way we look at tribalism. The materiality is very important to me. I work from the back of the canvas to the front.” She continued, “It’s about illuminating space and the metaphysics of it. It’s how we can impact humanity. Try to speak something very different. How we can have a shared voice.”
LeRone B. Wilson (Harlem, NY) uses the ancient encaustic method to create modern, minimalist sculptured paintings that are a medley of different textures, offering a multisensory experience of beauty and tactile stimulation. Meaning “to heat or burn in” encaustic originates from the Greek word enkaustikos. “I use resin, carnauba, powdered pigment mixed with beeswax. My background is as a welder. And the whole process of how you heat metal is how you heat wax,” stated Wilson. “All my work has an emotional kind of attribute to it. I look back at things that have happened to me, and I have to evoke that into my work. We’re here to be a part of other people’s lives. And this is the way I want to be a part of them.”
Anthony E. Boone (Rahway, NJ) This alumnus of The Artists Forum creates paintings that flow with the spirit of free movement and energy, marked by scrapers, spoons, rocks, and wood stains. See his interview on AFTV
Stephanie Calla, owner of La Maison d’Art Gallery stated, “This show is genius. What a welcoming vibe! Flux Art Fair is such a major step for the worldwide art scene. We need to open our eyes and see that Harlem is the hidden jewel of art. And this is the breath of fresh air we need in New York.” She added, “All the talented artists here have a chance to prove to the world what they are and what they can accomplish.”
So, once again, Harlem is a neighborhood in flux. But the continuous change is what’s driving it to become as expressive, energetic, and exciting as the artwork and artists themselves.
The FLUX Art Fair runs through May 17, 2015.
For more information about Flux Art Fair Harlem, visit: fluxfair.nyc