Frieze New York 2021: Colorful Abstract Artworks

Painting and sculpture that captivated at the NYC event

Distilling the many artworks on show at any art fair proves itself to be a difficult task, but this year at Frieze New York—the first in-person art event in the city for some 14 months—we found ourselves drawn to entities we missed over the past year. Not only were faces an alluring theme, but so was color. While we saw plenty of bright, beguiling work (from Katherine Bernhardt at CH favorite Canada Gallery to Jannis Varelas at The Breeder), we have selected some of our favorite abstract pieces to share here.

“The signs are always among us” (2021) + “They won’t find us here” (2021) / photo by Jason Wyche, courtesy of Caroline Kent + Casey Kaplan

Caroline Kent

Casey Kaplan‘s entire booth was dedicated to Caroline Kent‘s gorgeous paintings. Kent (who will have a show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago from 3 August, 2021 to 3 April, 2022) explores everything from identity to the cosmos in her other-worldly pieces, featuring abstract symbols. One particular standout, “They won’t find us here” (2021) was painted on raw linen and features its own snake-like two-sided wooden border.

“Autobiography: India (Shiva, Ganges)” (1985) courtesy of Howardena Pindell + Marianne Boesky Gallery

Howardena Pindell

The sublime “Autobiography: India (Shiva, Ganges)” by American artist, curator and educator Howardena Pindell was completed in 1985, and its alluring shape and palette remain enticing. On show at Garth Greenan‘s booth, the mixed media piece is just one of several Pindell made to celebrate her travels in India and (like much of her work) captivates viewers with its layers and texture.

“Untitled (P61/19)” (2019) courtesy of Carlito Carvalhosa + Galeria Nara Roesler

Carlito Carvalhosa

Represented by Nara Roesler gallery (with locations in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and NYC), prolific artist Carlito Carvalhosa has several of his iconic, bold works on mirror on show. The vibrant, colorful “Untitled” (2011), “Untitled (P61/19)” (2019) and “Untitled (P27/20)” (2020) were displayed alongside Cristina Canale’s portraits.

“Untitled” (2021) courtesy of Sonia Gomes + Mendes Wood DM

Sonia Gomes

Belo Horizonte, Brazil-based artist Sonia Gomes’ Torções series pays homage to her hometown of Caetanópolis (an important textile hub) and blends Afro-Brazilian tradition with contemporary sculpture. Presented by Mendes Wood DM, “Untitled” (2021) was crafted with second-hand and found fabrics, thread, twine and wire. Simultaneously delicate and tenacious, the piece has a talismanic element.

“Untitled” (2020) courtesy of Gabriel Orozco + Gallery Kurimanzutto

Gabriel Orozco

One of Gabriel Orozco’s recent tempera paintings (which were on show last year at Marian Goodman Gallery New York), the large “Untitled” (2020) utilizes the same palette as others in the series—including the use of gold leaf. Dramatic, extravagant, the painting also exudes a quiet stillness that permeates the Mexican artist’s tempera series.

“Appearance of Crosses 2021-B2” (2021) and “Appearance of Crosses 2021-B5” (2021) courtesy of Ding Yi + Timothy Taylor Gallery

Ding Yi

Chinese artist Ding Yi has been evolving his geometric abstraction, oftentimes via his Appearances of Crosses series, which began in the late 1980s. Some of his newest pieces in the series were on show at Timothy Taylor‘s booth at Frieze. Our favorites, “Appearance of Crosses 2021-B2” (2021) and “Appearance of Crosses 2021-B5” (2021), are studies of shape and color that work perfectly, whether individually or in concert.

Hero image of Caroline Kent’s “A forecast told through shadows” (2021), photo by Jason Wyche, courtesy the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York