Christina Ray gave us a preview of Kesting/Ray’s booth at the Fountain Art Fair Thursday, which was also International Women’s Day. Perhaps Women’s Day is the reason we noted that a significant proportion of the artwork in the Soho gallery’s booth was created by female artists. We asked Ray about Kesting/Ray’s roster, and she told us it’s not intentional but then added, “We are about half and half. Or, it’s possible that more than half of our artists are women.”
Ray directed our attention to paintings by Swoon protégé Alyssa Dennis, a delicate piece of embroidery juxtaposing nature and machines by Heather Johnson, multilayered multimedia pieces by Stephanie Dotson, and a graceful painting on rice paper by Beka Goedde. Kesting/Ray is also showing works by Danni Rash and Spanish artist Roberto Mollá, who creates geometric drawings and paintings on graph paper. As we were touring the space, artist Brian Leo was filling an entire wall with small and medium-sized paintings that express his cultural criticism through simple narratives and characters rendered in extravagantly bright colors.
But the focal point of the Kesting/Ray booth, and its largest piece, is Swoon’s Thalassa. The artist first created a larger woodblock of the image, which depicts a Greek sea goddess, for an installation in the atrium of the New Orleans Museum of Art. Here at Fountain, a still-sizable silk screened and hand painted Thalassa will captivate visitors as they enter the fair from Lexington Avenue. Several other Swoon works are also on display, including a piece from her first-ever solo show at Jeffrey Deitch Projects in 2005 and a wall-size version of Ice Queen, which Swoon created for 2011’s Art in the Streets exhibition at Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art.