Every year, our local nonprofits call upon the artist community to contribute works to their annual fund raising events, showcasing artwork that is indicative of their programming and greater contribution to the cultural landscape. These events – galas, soirees and generally fancy affairs – expose artists to new audiences that may otherwise have been unaware of the range of talent that filters through the various galleries and venues in the city.
This weekend, the Creative Alliance’s Road to Rio auction offers a variety of works in both media and price, and an all around great time. It is an excellent event for new collectors – the prices are on the wall, the work is labeled and approachable – and for those who already collect work by one or more of the featured artists, to buy a new piece of art and support a diverse residency, exhibition, performance and music program. This year I helped select some of the works for the auction but only a handful of the many excellent pieces available.
In anticipation of the event, I’ve selected a few featured works that I am most excited about:
1. John Baldessari, an iconic conceptual artist based in California is the most recognizable name included in Creative Alliance’s exhibition and auction and represents the higher end of price range of available works. His print, courtesy of Goya Contemporary, who represents the artist’s work locally, depicts two figures in front of a flattened, green stonehenge. A quintessential Baldessari, dots obscur the figure’s faces, the artist’s signature motif.
2. Another piece with an obscured figure and dot that I love is by local artist Jackie Milad. Although much more abstracted than the Baldessari, Milad’s delicate line work reaches out from beneath inky cloud-like forms. Capturing elegant gesture and implying both a body and action with very few lines, this small work on paper’s suspended event is easy to get lost in.
3. Benjamin Edmiston is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work has been exhibited both nationally and regionally over the past few years. Known for a stylized figuration and mixed media works, his piece in the auction, Conservative Eater, is colorful, fun and a little foreboding. One of the few illustrative and cartoony works available, Edmiston’s balances narrative, abstraction and a fair amount of grit in a surprising harmony.
4. Jan Razauskas, a Baltimore-based painter, has included a piece that blends abstract and architectural elements. Fine, black lines attempt to contain washes and pools of soft hues, which spill out beyond their crisp edges. Between the implied space of the lines and the richness of the pigments, the piece has beautiful dimension.
5. Lat Naylor, also based in Baltimore, makes minimal work with incredibly satisfying details. Stitches, staples, worn surfaces and imperfect, boxy supports give Naylor’s work a direct physicality and approachability that is not always common to minimal pieces. I am a big fan. Simple yet quirky, his pieces have a ton of character and a great physical presence. I would gladly take one home.
6. Peter Eide, a recent graduate of Towson MFA program, includes a drawing from his radial series. A medium-sized work on paper with enamel and graphite, the piece is warm and arresting. Fractured rays burst from the center of the composition with perpendicular glitches and varied density. If you’re lucky enough to take this piece home, you should probably know that they look best in a group, so continue to follow Eide’s work and exhibitions!
The complete list of artists is below, there is definitely something for everyone:
Cynthia Jawitz Brower
Edna Kurtz Emmet
Sam Allerton Green
Lillian Bayley Hoover
Ian MacLean Davis
Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann
Ursula West Minervini
M. Jordan Tierney
Daniel Van Allen
*Alex Ebstein is an artist, curator and managing editor at Bmoreart.