Tea Time with Melanie — Notes on September
At The CAMP Gallery, September kicks off with the second edition of The Hamptons Virtual Art Fair, where we are exhibiting works by Dominik Schmitt, Joseph Ginsberg and Drew Doggett.
Dominik Schmitt is a German artist deeply focused on the internal, and often fragmented, reality distorted by individual interpretations. There is a certain ‘tongue in cheek’ approach to his works, also reflected in their titles. One of my favorite works and one that has received a lot of attention from people like Jerry Saltz, is Oasis, which depicts a human with a boar’s head, comfortably situated on a yellow inflatable kid’s pool, under a beach umbrella. Surely, this composition does not represent our idea of an actual oasis, a lush and relaxing spot in some exotic location. But when speaking to Dominik about the work, he recounts childhood memories of summers where his mother filled a plastic pool in the backyard and tells a story from adulthood where he encountered a wild boar in a forest. Knowing these elements and memories and looking at the orchestrated chaos in the work, one finds that the oasis that Schmitt presents is a personal exploration of the bits and parts of memory that have shaped the artist.
Joseph Ginsberg (whose work, by the way, has been auctioned at Christies) was just now credited as 39 of the top 100 interior designers of the world by Inspiration Design Books. Anyone who knows Ginsberg knows that he is truly a renaissance man—not only does he paint, but he also draws, does collage, welds, sculpts, blows glass, designs Aubusson rugs, does murals, furniture, art objects, but he also takes all that and is the creative behind interiors in locations like The Artisan Luxury 86th Street, N.Y.C. From our virtual booth, the most viewed is Sonata, a large work that mixes his vibrant palette, his playful sense of humor and his love for the energy that fills not only his Manhattan world, but that of all his journeys.
Switching mediums, next up in the booth is photographer Drew Doggett, known for his breathtaking equestrian portraits. Because the fair, although virtual, is in The Hamptons, we decided to showcase his pieces that feature seascapes and sailboats. One interesting thing always present in Drew’s work is the sense of power and force of his subjects, momentarily checked and contained within an image, which always inspires the viewer to imagine and dream beyond his frame to the moments before, the moments after, and to our own memories. One of my particular favorites is Glisten. What gets me about this image, beyond its beauty, is its ability to bring me back to Cape Cod and The Greek Isles and sailing and racing; I can see myself on the deck of that sail boat and the sail catching the wind, powering through the waves, bringing me memories that are always precious.
The CAMP’s next exhibition is features Russia-based textile artist Katika. Katika is a crochet artist focusing on popular culture, and so she is always on the edge—pushing boundaries and commenting on what we admire, as a society, and the trends we fall into. But what happens when such an artist is left to quarantine? She spends a lot of time, as we all did, looking out the window, living online all as means towards connection. Inside Katika, Looking Out aims to bring to the collector the chance to see through her eyes and how she got through the early days of the lockdown. All of her work is a testimony to her skill, not only as one who can render realism but her ability to do that through her crochet needles! Among the many works included in the upcoming online exhibition, the ones that really resonate with me are her pigeons, which, maybe because of the medium or because they are so easily recognizable, are so life like that it is unfortunate that one cannot reach out and touch them. They, in their crochet form, are as unattainable as live pigeons and this is because we are still caught in a world of distance and we can only admire from afar.
Directly after we launch Katika’s exhibition online, we are participating in the next Scope Immersive online exhibition featuring works by Naomi White. Naomi and I have been working together for four years now, and I am very happy that Scope wants to show her works! In fact, when speaking with the organizers of the fair, Naomi and her Shipwrecked series were called for again and again. I don’t know how often an art fair director remembers specific works by an artist exhibiting three years prior, but that is what happened here. The Shipwrecked series is made up of sculptures that White creates out of plastic, then imposes onto photographs that she has previously taken. When speaking about her work, she likens the plastic to a hurricane attacking the landscape, which in the images has already been altered by society with electric and phone cables. The result is a collection of images that show how we, as a society, seeking comfort, have scarred the landscape. Don’t think that the conversation is all about how we destroy, but also how what we discard and take for granted, through the artist’s eye, can become something beautiful—can become art.
Later in the month we will be launching another online solo exhibition featuring works by Miami-based artist Carlos Rancano. I have also been working with Carlos for three years now and I have really enjoyed watching his work evolve, especially how his focus grows stronger. If you have ever checked out his Instagram and watched his videos of him painting, I think you will be amazed by the levels and layers of paint (which somehow never look heavy) he uses to make the smooth and symphonic representations of confident women, curious children, and vignettes of life. This show is being curated by two interns, Carley and Estela (and me, on the sidelines). Having interns try their hand at curating is something I really enjoy. I love to see their voices and their take on things, and because they are curating, they have direct access to the artist, get to learn about the person behind the paintbrush in ways not always available to an intern!
Lastly, one of my favorite moments this month is on IGTV. Our star ‘reporter’ Chloe Fabien met with Stefano Ogliari Badessi. It took a lot of preparation between Stefano and CAMP Creative and Editor, Maria. We learned, first of all, that in October, Stefano will be doing a project with The Guggenheim in Venice! Yes, I did say the Guggenheim; we will have more about that in the next coming weeks. What I enjoyed most about the interview was the playfulness between both Stefano and Chloe—they have a history of antics from last year’s A Tribe from Wonderland exhibition for Miami Art Week.
October will be just as busy as this month as we are preparing a huge group exhibition in the gallery with the F.A.M.A artist collective, where they are all making flags to commemorate the centennial of the American women’s right to vote. In fact, installation begins next week so that we are ready for our October 1 opening, which you all will be able to join and see (virtually). After that, the gallery will be open by appointment, and if you are in Miami—you will want to see these works!
That’s all! Stay well, Happy Labor Day, and support artists by collecting art!