Spotlight: a colorful exhibition highlighting a trio of international artists opens in New York

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What you need to know: The ‘Contemporary Art’ exhibition is the second in a four-part series presented by SmithDavidson, with each subsequent exhibition illustrating a key pillar of the gallery’s ethos and program. The current show brings together a diverse trio of internationally recognized artists: Lita Cabellut, Zhuang Hong Yi and Matthijs Scholten, who is making his New York debut. Not bounded by a single thematic premise, the show presents a wide variety of media, styles and subjects, and includes exemplary new work from each of the three featured artists. Overall, the show is a kaleidoscopic sequence that highlights modern variations on traditional techniques and materials, as well as contrasting approaches to contemporary artistic priorities and themes.

Why we like it: Each of the artists represented in “Contemporary Art” has developed a distinctive imagery and artistic style, but together their bold and sometimes dazzling use of color creates an impressive coherence. The show presents stylistically recognizable examples from each of the three artists’ oeuvres, promoting unique juxtapositions and interesting dialogues between their works. For Lita Cabellut, who is originally from Spain, early exposure to the Spanish masters is one of the main sources of inspiration behind her monumental portraits. Using large-scale canvases and a modern reworking of the traditional fresco technique, works such as Frida, the cherry colored youth (2021) evoke great wall and ceiling paintings from the Old World. In the meantime, flower bed (2019) is a symbol of Zhuang Hong Yi’s signature style and consists of vividly pigmented and carefully folded pieces of rice paper arranged in a closed circle. As the artist said of this recurring floral motif in his work, “All over the world, flowers represent peace, happiness and prosperity. We may not all speak the same language, but we all read flowers.” Matthijs Scholten’s confident hand is reminiscent of Jean-Michel Basquiat and early street art, but is still recognizable as his own. Talisman III (2022) demonstrates Scholten’s skill in harnessing chaos, symbolism and figuration to create compelling visual compositions.

According to the gallery: “SmithDavidson Gallery showcases a dynamic range of leading contemporary art across a variety of media. The mission of the gallery is to acquire and present the work of important artists whose work has defined or expanded the parameters of the visual arts… Following the highly successful exhibition ‘Free or Form’ in the summer… Matthijs Scholten will his inaugural exhibition in New York City alongside new work by internationally acclaimed artists Lita Cabellut and Zhuang Hong Yi.”

View works from the exhibition below.

Matthijs Scholten, Talisman III (2022). Thanks to Smith Davidson.

Zhuang Hong Yi, flower bed (2019). Courtesy of Smith Davidson Gallery.

“Contemporary Art” is on display through October 2, 2022 at SmithDavidson, New York, 507 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001.

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