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Frank Stella

The Wick - Untitled (Kufa Gate Shape), 1967 by Frank Stella

Discover Frank Stella

Untitled (Kufa Gate Shape),
1967, The Metropolitan Museum, New York

Frank Stella is one of America’s greatest living artists. Born in Massachusetts in 1936, he is best known today for his vibrant geometric patterns, monumental prints and revolutionary approach to materials. It was in the 1960s that Stella first began to remove sections of paintings and experiment with shaped canvases, as seen in Untitled (Kufa Gate Shape) from 1967. This geometric riot of colour belongs to Stella’s Protractor series, which consists of 93 paintings based on 31 distinct formats, each one rendered in three different designs. It is named after the Great Mosque of Kufa in Iraq, one of the earliest and holiest mosques in the world.

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The Wick - Joel Mesler, We are the world, 2019

Discover Joel Mesler

Joel Mesler was a successful art dealer before becoming a painter. He ran galleries in both Los Angeles and New York and championed African-American artists like Henry Taylor and Rashid Johnson early in their careers. Having left the city for the Hamptons, he now spends much of his time painting. He finds inspiration in everything from childhood memories to addiction and attributes his recent success to his knack for locating what he calls ‘the story beneath the work’.

His most recognisable paintings combine verdant flora that evokes both Eden and the wallpaper of the Beverly Hills Hotel, a letter formed by a slithering snake and short phrases that call to mind the work of artists like Ed Ruscha and Christopher Wool. Johnson thinks Mesler’s ‘palette is beautiful’ and that ‘he’s at that point where he’s finding his voice.’ With recent solo shows around the world and works such as We are the World (2019) selling for six figure sums at auction, it seems Johnson’s right on the money. Watch this space.
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The Wick - Flora Yukhnovich, Thank Heaven for Little Girls, 2019

Discover Flora Yukhnovich

The art world is abuzz with talk of Flora Yukhnovich, the British artist behind the flamboyant Rococoesque paintings that have likely flooded your feed in recent months. Fluctuating between figuration and abstraction, Yukhnovich’s indulgent canvases fuse art historical and contemporary references spanning film, food and consumerism, while exploring the expressive tactility of paint. ‘I always want people to have an “a-ha” moment, where you recognise something, but you can’t quite place it,’ she has said. ‘A familiarity that offers you access to the work.’ Featuring her signature pastel palette and thick, gestural brushwork, Thank Heaven for Little Girls (2019) is a sumptuous vision of 18th-century whimsy and drama. No wonder she’s the art market’s new darling.
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The Wick - Machine Hallucinations: Nature Dreams - Last Memory (Refik Anadol) #1/1

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Refik Anadol is a leading figure in the world of digital art and crypto collectibles, minting the first fully immersive digital artwork in September 2021.

Since the inception of his Machine Hallucinations project in 2016, the Istanbul-born, Los Angeles-based artist has employed machine-learning algorithms and quantum computing to transform vast datasets such as wind patterns and Bluetooth signals into mesmerising, immersive moving artworks – or ‘data paintings’, as he calls them.

The AI algorithms employed in his Nature Dreams series scan the pigments, shapes, and patterns present in millions of images of nature to generate new virtual landscapes.

Offered for sale via OpenSea — the world’s leading NFT marketplace — this unique digital artwork shows snow-capped mountains morphing into wetlands, which then transform into forests and rocky planes. Sunrises change seamlessly into sunsets.

Anadol sees the hypnotic result as a collective memory of nature. ‘I think data is a form of memory, and I’m profoundly asking myself and the team, how we can reconstruct it,’ he has said.
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The Wick - Ron Galella, Dolly Parton and a white horse at Studio 54, 1978

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The photographer Ron Galella is widely recognised as the ‘Godfather of American paparazzi’. He is perhaps best known (and reviled) for his unflinching and unapologetic images of celebrities, from Marlon Brando to Grace Jones — and relentless pursuit of Jackie Kennedy (which ended in multiple lawsuits). He stopped at nothing to get the perfect picture, often shooting a whole role of film to get one frame.

Among his most iconic images of New York’s club scene is this 1978 snapshot of Dolly Parton at her farm-themed afterparty at Studio 54. Organised by Steve Rubell (Studio 54’s co-founder), it featured horses, donkeys, chickens and haystacks. Unfortunately, the Queen of Country was less than amused. ‘Dolly came and was completely freaked out at the number of people there,’ recalls journalist Michael Musto. ‘She was real nervous about this whole deal and went up to the balcony and sat up there for a while.’
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The Wick - David Hockney, Winter Tunnel with Snow, 2006

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David Hockney has been painting landscapes for over 50 years, capturing everything from the Grand Canyon to the rolling hills and little valleys of his native West Yorkshire. Executed in 2006, two years after his pivotal return from California, this canvas depicts a tunnel of trees lining a snowy country track. Employing loose, impressionistic brushstrokes, he pays tribute to the unspoiled beauty of his homeland.

Over the following years, Hockney would explore the most rural corners of East Yorkshire, capturing the shifting light and seasons. ‘I was painting the land, land that I myself had worked,’ he later recalled. ‘I had dwelt in those fields, so that out there, seeing for me, necessarily came steeped in memory.’
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The Wick - Robert Indiana 
LOVE, 1966 - 2002 
Gold Faces Blue Sides Polychrome aluminium 
182.9 x 182.9 x 91.4 cm. (72 x 72 x 36 in.) 
Edition of 6 + 4 AP

Discover Robert Indiana

In the 1960s Robert Indiana conceived his most famous work, LOVE, which came to embody the decade’s idealism. The motif was explored in paintings and screenprints before his first major sculptural version in 1970 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

The image nods to our hyper commodified culture as well as the complex erotic, religious and autobiographical aspects of the theme. ‘LOVE is purely a skeleton of all that word has meant,’ Indiana said, ‘and to bring it down to the actual structure of calligraphy [is to reduce it] to the bare bone.’

Impressive in scale and instantly recognisable, this 3D stacked edition in gold and blue draws the eye with its powerful physical form. ‘It’s always been a matter of impact,’ the artist said. No wonder it remains one of the most loved images in 20th century art.
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The Wick - Kehinde Wiley, Portrait of a Venetian Ambassador, Aged 59, II, 2006

Discover Kehinde Wiley, Portrait of a Venetian Ambassador, Aged 59, II

Kehinde Wiley is best known for his highly stylized portraits of Black protagonists in the traditional poses and settings of Old Master paintings. Since he shot to fame in the 2000s, he has painted such celebrated figures as Barack Obama, Spike Lee and Ice-T, enjoyed solo shows around the world and seen his works sell for six-figure sums at auction. Opening in December is a major new exhibition of his landscapes at the National Gallery in London.

This painting from 2006 combines several of Wiley’s signature motifs: the self-empowered black man, a bold, brilliant colour palette and a richly patterned, floral background. The discord between the official role implied by the title and the appearance of its hip-hop loving sitter draws attention to contemporary discussions around representation and identity. ‘I believe it’s possible to hold twin desires in your head, such as the desire to create painting and destroy painting at once,’ the artist has explained. ‘The desire to look at a black American culture as underserved, in need of representation.’
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The Wick - Five Echoes by Es Devlin

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Es Devlin has established a reputation for theatrical, immersive installations and her newest large-scale project is the talk of Miami Art Week. Conceived in collaboration with Chanel to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Chanel No.5, Five Echoes transforms Miami’s Jungle Plaza into a multisensory labyrinth inspired by the scent’s iconic composition. Surrounded by a lush forest that recalls the landscape of southern France, and animated by light and sound, the circular sculpture draws on Coco Chanel’s childhood while also addressing contemporary themes such as sustainability. It is a powerful mediation on the power of scent to transport the body in mind and spirit. Five Echoes is open to the public until 21 December 2021.
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The Wick - Wendy Red Star, Apsáalooke Roses, 2016

Discover Wendy Red Star

Wendy Red Star draws on contemporary art as well as her Native American heritage for inspiration, and her 2016 Apsáalooke Roses pays homage to her Crow culture. The striking print comprises portraits of the artist and her daughter taken decades apart, at the same age and at the same cultural event. ‘Apsáalooke roses symbolise Crow womanhood and the matrilineal line connecting my daughter and myself to our ancestors,’ she has said.

Born in 1981 and raised on the Apsáalooke reservation in Montana, Red Star upends the romanticised notion of Native Americans as ‘noble savages of the past’, while also celebrating Crow life, history, culture and identity. In contrast to the stoic, idealised images of Native Americans taken by the 20th-century photographer Edward Curtis, for instance, Red Star’s work, spanning photography, video, sculpture and performance, brims with playfulness, humour and irony. ‘Humour is healing to me,’ she has said. ‘To have that element in my work is quite Native, or Crow, and I’m glad that it comes through.’
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