Oct 11 Thu-14 Sun Noon to 5pm Clio Art Fair 335 West 35th St Where Artists Without Galleries Show Individualistic Work of Passion and Quality

Surprisingly original and interesting works are found at the Clio Art Fair, labeled as the “Anti-Fair for Independent Artists”. The event is worth knowing about since, without prominent advertising or publicity fanfare, it is devoted to works by independent artists, and mounted twice a year in Manhattan. Judging from the latest autumn edition it is something which all interested in art generated by individual passion and dedication, and separated off from the commercial engine of gallery and media-generated trends, should visit, with a good chance to notice and acquire works not yet on the publicity treadmill, which appeal to one’s personal taste and acquisitiveness.

At the entrance on 335 West 35 Street off Ninth Avenue, high white walls and ceiling surround the generous white partitions on which displays are hung in individual artist booths, stretching in two lanes to the far back wall

At the entrance on 335 West 35 Street off Ninth Avenue, high white walls and ceiling surround the generous white partitions on which displays are hung in individual artist booths, stretching in two lanes to the far back wall

Among many artists there doing good and interesting work without a commercial gallery boosting their appeal, though not without hope of investment as well as emotional gain for buyers if bought from the artists before they are ‘discovered’, were these:

Slawek explains his selection of four of his thematic and story telling

Slawek explains his selection of four of his thematic and story telling “Reflections” to fellow exhibitor Catherine Lee from faraway Sydney in a show who draws artists of all kinds and regions globally

One standout in terms of individual voice and imaginative technical flair was Polish born, Indianapolis resident Stanislaw Goc, who signs his photographs simply with his familiar name Slawek.

Slawek, Top, September 11th, Aluminum plate, 24.5" x 33", $1,700 and Old Jew, Aluminum plate,  24.5" x 33",  $1,800

Slawek, Top, September 11th, Aluminum plate, 24.5″ x 33″, $1,700 and Old Jew, Aluminum plate, 24.5″ x 33″, $1,800

“Light is the master of my world” says Slawek, whose individual initiative in his work is one he announces as Reflections: one of a kind photography. The title marks a technique in which he follows his muse by seeking inspiring juxtapositions of sidewalk window displays, and sometimes windscreens, and the reflections of passers by and the architecture of the city that the glass simultaneously presents. To discover this theater of light and image he is constantly adventuring with his camera, shooting stills and short movies. “I can’t sleep at night wondering where I will go next!”

The dual compositions yield intriguing themes, uncovered by Slawek’s imagination, which are both culturally resonant and as evocative as any intentionally staged. This is true even though his open-minded search comes upon them unexpectedly, he says, in a voyage of discovery which is initially more serendipity than purposeful. Yet in being liberated from narrow expectation, in the manner of Henri Cartier-Bresson and other great photographers, he finds totally original and rather painterly compositions which he prints on aluminum plate with little cropping or alteration.

Networking with fellow independent artists is a big benefit of the Clio Fair - Slawek explains his aims to artist exhibitor from Sydney Catherine Lee

Networking with other independent artists is a big benefit of the Clio Fair – here Slawek explains his aims to fellow artist exhibitor from Sydney Catherine Lee

Networking with fellow independent artists is a big benefit of the Clio Fair

The pleasure of explaining one’s aims to a working colleague

Art market conundrum

Artists who have to make their own decisions about what to present to the public far from their working studio can be forgiven if they play their hand more cautiously than they would naturally like, since they are faced with the marketing problems which agents and galleries exist to take off their hands, especially in New York which is a dynamic market unlike any other.

Slawek seemed to be an example of this overly cautious approach to marketing his work in New York for when he opened his portfolio of his past years of work it revealed many images that at first sight seemed more striking and complex than the four he brought on this trip from Indianapolis, although the Old Jew and Dilemma (the two hung on the right) were distinct, but perhaps this was because the figures and faces in his portfolio selection were inevitably more immediate in impact.

Slawek shared his Reflections portfolio book of other examples of his oeuvre which seemed more immediately intriguing that the four he chose to exhibit

Slawek shared his Reflections portfolio book of other examples of his oeuvre which seemed more immediately intriguing that the four he chose to exhibit

A closer look at the page opened above

A closer look at the page opened above

On the left page, Slawek's Dilemma, which he included in the Clio Fair, with his comment that the representation of 9/11 combines a face crossed with a stream of blood

On the left page, Slawek’s Dilemma, which he included in the Clio Fair, with his comment that the representation of 9/11 combines a face crossed with a stream of blood

Inappropriate restraint

Another artist who seemed to have held back her most powerful work was Catherine Lee, a painter with studios in Sydney and London, whose printed resume stated her aim was to produce “engaging and thoughtful provoking work … to amplify socially controversial and provocative topics that are often considered taboo”.

Catherine Lee from Sydney, Australia presented six works which some might have viewed as less dynamic and engaging than the works in her portfolio which she also had with her, though certainly less likely to be banned by the puritanical administration of her art school.

Catherine Lee from Sydney, Australia presented six works which some might have viewed as less dynamic and engaging than the works in her portfolio which she also had with her, though certainly less likely to be banned by the puritanical administration of her art school.

Yet her paintings at Clio were far from provocative. The problem may have been Catherine Lee’s experience in running into a provincial mindset at her art school in Sydney before she graduated. A bluenose administrator literally imposed a censoring curtain on her sexually explicit images in the school’s annual show, and this absurd event seems to have had the unfortunate effect of curbing her unrestrained exploration of feelings aroused by the electricity of sexual contact. Instead of more works in that line, her choice of paintings to display in New York leaned far into the abstract compared with her powerful earlier work, which was nevertheless readily available in her portfolio as above and below. Many more examples at at Rosestorm in the UK show that she has not been inhibited in the slightest in the years since graduation on any other continent than here.

Catherine Lee shows two of her works not shown in her exhibit, including Pressures and their Places (right) in her series on the theme of sexual emotion that was to us far more developed and creative than the abstracts she hung on the wall at the show, a contrast seen in Slawek's choices as well.

Catherine Lee shows two of her works not shown in her exhibit, Pressures and their Places (right) and (illegible) on the left, in a series on the theme of sexual emotions that was to us far more developed and creative than the abstracts she hung on the wall at the show, a contrast seen in Slawek’s showing as well.

A single image of Pressures and their Places, in her portfolio of the dynamic and expressive series, which perhaps clarifies why it won her a provincial minded censoring at her art school exhibition at the start of her international career

A single image of Pressures and their Places, in her portfolio of the dynamic and expressive series which perhaps clarifies why it won her a provincial minded censoring at her art school exhibition at the start of her international career

She was also able to show us on her phone an image of herself standing outside her exhibit in Sydney carrying a notice which expressed the strong exception she took to the untoward repression of her artistic instincts.

Catherine Lee's answer to the banning of her strongly themed art from the annual show at her art school was to dress in appealing lingerie and stand outside her curtained exhibit with a notice that reads "The university believes that you are not intelligent enough to decide what level of erotic art you want to see.  I have therefore been forced to present a censored piece for this exhibition.  This is my way of displaying my work in a free way and to add what they have tried to take away."

Catherine Lee’s answer to the banning of her strongly themed art from the annual show at her art school was to dress in appealing lingerie and stand outside her curtained exhibit with a notice that read “The university believes that you are not intelligent enough to decide what level of erotic art you want to see. I have therefore been forced to present a censored piece for this exhibition. This is my way of displaying my work in a free way and to add what they have tried to take away.”

There were other artists of note who did seem to have brought their most dynamic work, however. Among them were two whose methods involved a novel way to use materials. Bryant Small from New Jersey brought stained glass into the 21st Century by dissolving high pigmented dye in alcohol and spraying or using gravity by tilting his canvas of acid free paper made from plastic pellets, as he drops the transparent paint onto the surface in what he describes as a “dance” in which he channels the flow and “sometimes I win, sometimes it does!”

The resultant multi colored works have “the stability of a rock” he says once they dry. “I paint from a happy place, ” he says. “I am not one of those tortured artists. I listen to music when I create – dance, party music, or even slow in a good place. Art gave me the freedom of liberation, ” he added. “I am a cancer survivor from Hodgkin’s and non Hodgkins disease, and chemo, ten years ago, it was a disaster, a horrific year and a half. I was at stage three when I started, even though I was not a smoker or a drinker. But I was in fight mode.”

Bryant Small was exhibiting work with an unusual method to accomplish his canvases

Bryant Small was exhibiting work with an unusual method to accomplish his canvases

Detail of the above work by Bryant Small

Detail of the above work by Bryant Small

Bryant Small discusses his unusual approach to fashioning his work with an enquirer

Bryant Small discusses his unusual approach to fashioning his work with an enquirer

Rachel Goldsmith creates her paintings with an electric pen that extrudes her chosen color in plastic onto a surface formed by an array of wires

Rachel Goldsmith creates her paintings with an electric pen that extrudes her chosen color in plastic onto a surface formed by an array of wires

LauraLee Franco beside her Storm Fear (2017) Oil paint charcoal 60

LauraLee Franco beside her Storm Fear (2017) Oil paint charcoal 60″ x 40″ $2500

Surprise ending

Perhaps the most remarkable result at the fair was which artworks sold out completely. The whole group of photographs hung on the wall by Denver’s Amanda J. Armstrong emded up with red dot stickers, even though the nature of the images might have led some viewers to feel they were the least likely to find buyers of all the art in the Fair.

Is there a lesson in the fact that the entire wall of these grotesqueries by photographer Amanda J. Armstrong of Denver sold out?  Was it a signal that New Yorkers seek emotional impact above all in their art purchases, and that above all in their art purchases, and that even the sensationally ugly may fit their requirements very well?

Is there a lesson in the fact that the entire wall of these grotesqueries by photographer Amanda J. Armstrong of Denver sold out? Was it a signal that New Yorkers seek emotional impact above all in their art purchases, and that even the sensationally ugly may fit their requirements very well?

A closer look at one of the works by which sold out from Amanda J. Armstrong, The Body Obscura #2, 2018, a photograph, 20" x 16", framed at $300

A closer look at one of the works by which sold out from Amanda J. Armstrong, The Body Obscura #2, 2018, a photograph, 20″ x 16″, framed at $300

More
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Although she lives in Paris, art advisor Angel Guyot as the projest manager assistant ran the Clio Art Fair from the entrance tables during its four days from Thursday to Sunday Oct 11-14

Although she lives in Paris, art advisor Angel Guyot as the projest manager assistant ran the Clio Art Fair from the entrance tables during its four days from Thursday to Sunday Oct 11-14

Background
(Publicity) NY CLIO ART FAIR The “anti-fair” focused solely on independent artists, returns for its seventh edition.
“The Anti-Fair for Independent Artists (http://www.clioartfair.com) is waiting for you in its 7th edition, October 11-14, 2018, 335 west 35th street, New York; the NY CLIO ART FAIR is a curated fair created with the idea of discovering independent artists and showcasing the careers and achievements of already affirmed creative minds.”

A showcase for painters and other flat surface artists who are active professionals independent of galleries and institutions, the annual New York Clio Art Fair has for four years showed a variety of art free of group identity or oversight, and with a very wide range of techniques and topics, and offered many opportunities for artists to make contacts and to visitors to find uniquely appealing and innovative work to admire and buy.

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