Scope Art Fair has descended upon NYC once more this week, along with its larger Armory Show and newcomer Paper Art Fair in tow. Bombay Sapphire has also returned with its highly successful Artisan Series competition, in which Bombay Sapphire leads the search for undiscovered artists and offers its winner a solo at Scope Art Fair NYC.
This year’s big winner is Aron Belka, who develops large-scale portrait works with a variety of instruments, including the edges of squeegee rollers, pencils, paintbrushes of all sizes and more to achieve varied and occasionally abstract works. Belka’s winning series was inspired by photographs his wife took while doing Ebola research in Sierra Leone, as she witnessed those touched by the fast-moving disease. His works are pure paint technique, no high concepts, no talking points to sell the ideas. They stand on their own as profound and spacious works, human reaction as impression. Aaron focused on achieving something that seems lost in today’s obsession with cult status and pop culture: perfect emotion. Not limited in that regard either, the sensibility is melancholy, even sadness via colder blues, navies, blacks, even simply primed canvas. But with careful use of color, largely somber, Aaron uses occasional yellows and oranges to add the most gentle, hopeful flavor of optimism- literally, the sensation being the sun will come out again, the dawn of a new day, the possibility of celebrating- ones life, loved ones, appreciating the potentials. While enjoying Bombay Sapphire-infused drinks, viewers of the show included Kasseem Dean (Swizz Beatz) and others.
As for the rest of Scope Art Fair, we were particularly fond of Robert Pokorny’s classic yet refreshing Clarence House line drawings as tropically colored, geometrically motivated works. Igal Pardo’s ‘Shore’ series reminded of Maria Pasarotti’s shore photographs, with broad beaches and tiny people dotting the composition, confirming addicting satisfaction of birdseye views of the world. Freshwest’s ‘Pool Table’ was a captivating, playful, and functional work that felt like a modernized Yves Klein plexiglas table (the one favored by high-budget interior designers). This time it’s acrylic and comes with a tiny diving board rather than mounds of International Klein Blue sand. Last but not least, Nelson De La Nuez’s one-of-a-kind adaptions of pop icons of yesteryear were thoroughly prime, with the high contrasting colors of the Monopoly “Mr. Moneybags” and the board blown up to stunning size. It is only appropriate to appreciate Nuez’s tapping into the American collectivist mind by adoring the pastimes.