The Swiss-born Australian artist’s inquisitive works on the female body has made movement in the New York art scene with her latest exhibition, Forgive Me, Father, held at LAS Art on Bowery.
Talia Blank promises to start taking her art seriously. She made that clear in a digital print that features nothing but this vow, written in childlike script on Microsoft Paint. The statement is half playful, half sincere—a common balancing act for the 24 year-old Swiss-born Australian artist, who teeters between a light-hearted free spiritedness and a deeply contemplative self-scrutiny.
To uphold her vow, Blank once spent an uninterrupted ten hours painting in her studio—she thought that was the best way to channel the mentality of a starving artist who obsesses over her work, she recalled. Ten hours is a long time for someone who typically produces pieces in minutes, and she said this exercise led her to create “a mess” out of three canvases. Blank usually paints and draws without a preplanned purpose; and while she thinks this lack of deliberation may be preventing her from becoming a more commercially successful artist, it is how she creates her best work. She seldom thinks about selling. Some of her most intriguing pieces appear on low-quality paper or on surfaces that cannot be removed from their base. Her artist pseudonym “Fich n Ramous,” pokes fun at the monetary ethos of the art world.
Like legions of artists her age, Blank makes a living in a commercially creative field (she is the sole filmmaker for the niche start-up agency, Farrynheight, while continuing to make art on the side, hauling along a heavy load of ambivalence about how, and even whether, to try to enter the art market. She has instead seized the means to reach audiences without agents or shows, posting her work on her Instagram account @FichnRamous. Blank’s deepest fear about entering the art market is that the one thing she does intuitively will be commodified, and she, left soulless.
Last week, however, she seemed to embrace the world of galleries and sales during her first solo exhibition, titled Forgive Me, Father.
Presented by the New York based art advisory firm LAS Art, Blank’s collection of 29 works attracted crowds of onlookers to a Bowery gallery over the course of 6 days. It was also the inaugural exhibition for LAS Art, whose founders Olivia Farhat and Ariela Sirlin, after working with seasoned galleries like Gagosian and Edward Ressle, opened the firm last September with the hopes of helping less established collectors navigate the art market.
“One of our biggest passions is supporting the careers of emerging artists,” Sirlin, who befriended Blank 3 years ago while living with her sister, said. “So, we hope to do more shows like this where we are able to connect young artists with young collectors and make the art world a lot less intimidating.”
Most of the pieces in Blank’s exhibition were made throughout Mexico or Los Angeles, during a time when Blank was living as a nomad. (A personal heartbreak and the tumultuous state of the world led her to give up her New York apartment last year to travel alone and drift without a plan.) “The whole art making process was created during a time where I was letting go of my context,” she said. “I didn’t have a home, but I found constancy in the home of my drawing pad.”
She was experiencing a cathartic, albeit taxing, turning point. The completed body of work, with its mix of hellish faces, nude figures, and dreamlike backdrops, represents the uncertainty and constant duality that Blank sees in the universe—it welcomes darkness and pain while challenging pleasure, love, and beauty.