A Walk Through The Art. VOLTA NY Art Fair

VOLTA’s approach to the art fair extracts what is positive about the format. Each booth presents the work of a single artist only, presented and supported by the gallery. At almost every booth at which I stopped, the artist was present, engaging colleagues, curators and visitors alike, answering questions and building both their network and ability to discuss their work as well as allowing for an intimate, educational visitor experience.


Elizabeth Kley, New York

Elizabeth Kley, booth installation, Season, VOLTA NY, New York.


VOLTA NY is housed over two floors of a Soho loft building, only one block from the Donald Judd house- turned-museum. The organizers of the fair cut to the chase, providing essential luxuries, coat check, café, coffee, but preventing the fair from falling into the art world base camps of Frieze and the Armory. Galleries and artists are represented both from as near as Chelsea to Tokyo and Italy, often with artist and gallery representing two geographically disparate locations. On the whole, VOLTA presented a gravitation towards accomplished, if not blue-chip galleries to participate. While operating at a larger scale than the myriad “anti-art fairs” or specialized projects organized during Armory Week, VOLTA NY hosted several Bushwick-based galleries and younger Los Angeles-based projects including Luis De Jesus, Robert Lansden, Studio 10 and Robert Henry.


Brett Groves, New York

Brett Groves, Interoffice, 9 color silkscreen, 26 x 22, Forth Estate, VOLTA NY, New York


By moving away from the household name galleries, the fair allowed for vistors to engage one on one with the artists and discover new voices. One of these, Amel Bennys, a New York-based British painter represented by Selma Ferriani, London, took advantage of the single-artist based format to show not only her large-scale abstract canvases, the photographic qualities of which were derived from images taken by the artist of passing subway cars, but also a series of unique wooden lightboxes. The play of these newer works against the more abstract paintings (which are likewise based in a photographic image of the subway trains and the geometric patterns of light and shadow created by their windows) is particularly successful.


Amel Bennys, New York

Amel Bennys, Encore Possible
Mixed media (acrylic and pigment on lead)
100H x 230W cm, Selma Feriani Gallery, London, VOLTA NY, New York


Much of the work on display was united through a shared respect for the process of creation, shown through experimentation with new forms, media and the ability to view the development of a concept through several works. Hedwig Brouckaert’s labor intensive collages, composed of images of womens’ hair sourced from fashion magazines and catalogs, etched into with a blade and sewn together with the artist’s own,  call for this kind of study. Represented by the Galarie Jan Dhaese in Ghent, Brouckaert has developed this concept into commanding installations that cling to and ride from the wall of the space in which they are installed and drawings created by layering pigment, reproduced images and photographs and collage works imbedded with nails. Victoria’s Ascension, titled after the Victoria’s Secret catalog from which the artist found much of the material for the piece, considers the fragility of the printed catalog as a media and questions the treatment of idealized representations of the body vis à vis the luxurious, long hair and the actual hair of a living woman.


Hedwig Brouckaert, New York

Hedwig Brouckaert, Victoria’s Asecension, magazine clippings, human hair, pins and wire, 20 x 13 x 13, Galerie Jan Dhaese, VOLTA NY, New York


A highlight on the second floor of the fair, a light-infused vintage loft-like space, was John Cox, a Bahamian artist represented by Popops Studios. Cox’s attention grabbing Fillers is constructed of bicycle tubing filled to capacity with air (Cox explained that some of the tubes had actually burst during installation) and folding over to form a blossom-like organic shape, and fastening with twine onto an overhead wooden beam. Although weighty in appearance, the tubes nearly weightless and move gently in air. Also exhibited are the artist’s prints, imprints made from the deflated tubes which, if left alone, exhale completely in about two weeks. Like records of the tubular sculpture’s ephemeral existence, the prints function as rubbings or pressings of organic material that allow a continued engagement with a previous life.


John Cox, New York

John Cox, installation view, VOLTA NY, New York, Popops Studios.


John Cox, New York

John Cox, Filler, 2013, Bicycle inner tubing, string, various dimensions, VOLTA NY, New York, Popops Studios.


Transformation, through time and process is likewise inherent in Los Angeles-based artist Robert Larson’s work, collaged from discarded cigarette packaging found during his pedestrian explorations of Los Angeles. The decay of the materials and their conversion into abstract patterns quite un-associated with the branding for which they were specifically designed is at once a purely chance procedure, yet also highly controlled by the artist, who carefully considers the present and future interaction of the materials before constructing each work and meticulously records with photographs the order in which he gathered each object.


Robert Larson, New York

Robert Larson, Quantum Marlboro, 2013, discarded Marlboro cigarette packaging on canvas 51 x 37”, CES Contemporary, VOLTA NY, New York


Also on the second floor was featured Bad at Sports’ Bedside Chats—a series of public conversations and interviews conducted atop a large bed overflowing with kitschy stuffed animals and pillows. At the time of my visit David McKenzie and Richard Holland were speaking with Ten Eyk Founder Adam Parker Smith.

Coming away from the fair I felt as through I had experienced a global, professional and polished open studios. More accessible in size and style than the Armory Show and more artist-focused than the Independent, the fair, while far from being universally engaging proposes a modification to the existing international art fair structure.


Culture Shock, New York

Culture Shock, VOLTA NY, second floor hall


VOLTA NY, New York City, March 6-March 9, 2014

Discussion Un commento

  1. April 14, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    […] by Mary Coyne Read the full article […]

Leave a Reply

by Mary Coyne
in A Walk Through The Art

Wed Development by THX88.net Digital Art Factory