After moving the September Navy Piers event to April, back in January, Expo Chicago was one of the first fairs further postponing its in-person event, with a yet to be decided 2021 date. Meanwhile, between April 8–12 (when the 2021 fair was to take place) they’ve been hosting an online version in collaboration with the new art platform Hook, including more than 80 U.S. and international galleries combined with a rich virtual programming of conversations over the weekend and some well-thought curated selections by international curators and museum directors.
Here’s our selection of standout women artists presented at the fair.
1. Alina Perez
Alina Perez‘s lush and often erotically charged charcoal and pastel on paper stage intimate scenes of predominantly lesbian pleasure and desire, entrapping the viewer in a mixed feeling, between voyeuristic rapture and unsettling awkwardness. These are combined by another new set of scenes of more meditative moments of loneliness, as private rituals of spiritual-charge immersed in vibrant pastels’ atmospheres of inner contemplation.
The young, but quite gifted artist received her BFA in Painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and is currently a MFA candidate at talent-making Yale University. Her work was recently exhibited at Deli Gallery, New York; Arcadia Missa, London; Rachel Uffner, New York; and Company Gallery, New York. Perez is currently attending Yale University in New Haven as a 2021 MFA candidate. The Gallery has paired the online presentation with a physical one for the days of the fair in its spaces in New York.
2. Chioma Ebinama
Nigerian-American artist Chioma Ebinama (b. 1988) explore animism, mythology, and precolonial spiritualities as a space to articulate a vision of freedom outside of Western social and political paradigms, and in particular addressing themes of identity, femininity, metamorphosis in relation with the natural world.
Informed by a myriad of sources, from West African cosmology, to folk art of the global South, to the visual language of Western religion and Eastern spiritual traditions, her delicate and ethereal watercolors on paper approach visual narratives as a ritual of initiation, and a meditative tool for self-liberation
After her MFA at New York’s School of art, she has lectured and exhibited internationally, most recently at Fortnight Institute, NYC, 303 Gallery, NYC, The Breeder Gallery, Athens, Greece, 1-54 London, Dakar Biennale, and Art X Lagos.
She is currently represented by Fortnight Institute and Catinca Tabacaru Gallery.
3. Brenna Youngblood
Originally trained as a photographer Brenna Youngblood (b. 1978) pursues a further development of a politically-charged Black abstraction, addressing with her works African American identity, ethics, and representation. Indeed, her painterly, gestural work often integrates found objects and materials into her work, many with personal significance and relating to African American history.
Youngblood’s works are held in private and public collections, including but not limited to the Fundación/Colección Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY.
Just last January she joined the roster of Los Angeles’ based gallery Roberts Projects, which is now presenting some of her works at the fair after her solo opened in March and after featuring her at last Art Basel Miami OVR.
4. Olga De Amaral
With the work one of the most prominent yet long overlooked Colobian woman artist, Olga De Amaral (b.1932), Galería La Cometa has decided to celebrate Colombian textile tradition, which represents one of the most important inheritances of our pre-Columbian cultures. As one of the pioneers of Colobian contemporary art, De Amaral is most known for her large-scale abstract works made with fibers and covered in gold and/or silver which made her an important figure in the development of of Latin American abstraction vanguard, as well as in the feminine renaissance of crafts.
This distinctively lushly pink cascade of fiber to be hung from the ceiling and to be walked around is a real hymn to femininity, between sensuality, strength (the knot) and tenderness.
Her works are owned by major museums and also reside in distinguished corporate and private collections including, among the others: the Museum of Modern Art in Kioto; the Art Institute of Chicago, Cleveland Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the MoMa in New York. Now around her 90 the artist continues working to this day.
5. Hiejin Yoo
With a today’s much loved surreal and cartoon-like style made of large semi-abstracted planes of bright color and bold marks, Hiejin Yoo (b. 1987) creates a colorful world of mundane moments, personal memories, and meditations on self-discovery.
Her color choices often resonate with the particular feeling of the experiences, which are fragmented on their presentation following a comic-like cropping and outlining, but also not too far from home also our personal memories work.
The artist is currently part of Köning Galerie’s group show “The Artist Online” (curated by Johann König and Anika Meier), and Half Gallery, who recently dedicated her a two-person show with Daniel Heidkamp in their Los Angeles’ gallery following the solo in New York.