Venturing Into the Volta Vortex

In its 16th yr, Volta returns to the Big Apple for its annual modern artwork honest. The five-day occasion kicked off Wednesday, May 17, at the Metropolitan Pavilion — a loft-style occasion area off Sixth Avenue in Chelsea. White-walled cubicles organized in a maze-like vogue showcased works from over 50 worldwide galleries — some new, some returning, and 14 of which had displays devoted to particular person artists.

Volta is much less stuffy than its ostensibly intellectual counterparts like Frieze, and the honest’s mind-numbing mixture of showy and delicate works provided one thing for everybody — whether or not that’s one other piece so as to add to your private assortment or a pleasant visible in your social media feed. That being stated, whereas there was no scarcity of QR codes (there was one accompanying every art work), I used to be relieved by the lack of “free PR” ploys that are likely to take type in Instagram gimmicks and TikTok tomfoolery vying for posts and shares.

An artwork lover admires two of Ola Rondiak’s work introduced by Alessandro Berni Gallery (picture Maya Pontone/Hyperallergic)

The honest’s Managing Director Cristina Salmastrelli described the means of organizing the occasion as a “labor of love.”

“Volta has seen many changes since its founding from owner and leadership to venue locations and exhibition programs, but the core value of nurturing the artists has remained intact,” Salmastrelli stated. 

This yr’s honest particularly spotlighted feminine artists from round the world, so it’s no shock that the majority of the works I gravitated towards have been created by ladies. At the sales space of Cam Galería, primarily based in Mexico City, I discovered my eyes lingering on a curious assortment of long-limbed resin collectible figurines by Alejandra España.

The Mexican multimedia artist had a number of totally different works up, together with some large-format neon collages and an enormous golden tapestry, however her candy-colored characters, delicately organized on a low desk in entrance of her prints, have been a pleasant show, particularly compared to a few of the extra grandiose sculptures by different galleries. 

Alejandra España, Jardín explicit (2023), resin, 8 x 5 inches (picture Maya Pontone/Hyperallergic)

The haunting faces in Ola Rondiak’s stand-alone exhibition Cultural Front by the honest’s café have been one other draw for me. In her presentation consisting of 18 small works, the American-Ukrainian artist makes use of collage, portraiture, and shade gradients as an instance the emotional and cultural toll that the ongoing Russian invasion has had on her house nation. In a dialog along with her daughter Maya, who was standing subsequent to the exhibition, I discovered that the artist had integrated stitching patterns into the collages as an ode to her background in vogue. She additional defined that the faces, ghostly countenances in some instances paying homage to a “Madonna and Child,” have been drawn as a method to deal with trauma and loss. In partnership with the human rights group Razom, Rondiak plans on donating a portion of proceeds generated from her bought artworks to the nonprofit to assist Ukraine.

Ola Rondiak, Cultural Front (2023), acrylic and charcoal collage on canvas, 12 x 12 x 1 1/2 inches (picture Maya Pontone/Hyperallergic)

Fairgoers coming into Volta have been greeted with a glittery set up by Shanthi Chandrasekar titled “Cosmic Vibrations – Raining Gold” (2023). I do not forget that the self-taught sculpture artist wowed fair-goers at Art on Paper in September along with her meticulously hole-punched ceiling fixtures. But for this exhibition, Chandrasekar traded paper for metallic to create an ethereal hanging sculpture manufactured from gold wiring and variously sized rings. Like a lot of her work, the set up references cosmological and philosophical ideas, akin to kilonovas — the uncommon collision of two neutron stars that produces heavy metals.

The show was led by Lamina Project, a New York gallery that focuses on the crossover between artwork and science. Lamina Project’s personal gallery presentation continued to result in extra intriguing art work primarily based on mathematical patterns and microbiological analysis by artists Jody Rasch and Mark Pomilio, alongside extra mesmerizing works by Chandrasekar.

Shanthi Chandrasekar, “Cosmic Vibrations – Raining Gold” (2023), metallic rings, wire, and monofilament, 8 x 6 x 6 inches (picture Maya Pontone/Hyperallergic)

Ashley Norwood Cooper, one other acquainted face, took heart stage for the second time at Zinc Contemporary’s sales space to unveil her large oil work from her current exhibition Swarm at the Fenimore Art Institute in Cooperstown, New York, which simply closed over the weekend on May 14. Given the brief turnaround earlier than Volta, Zinc Curator Laura Zeck advised Hyperallergic that transporting Cooper’s work from upstate to Manhattan was a “sweaty” endeavor that nonetheless got here collectively in time for the honest.

Since her final look at Volta in 2020, Cooper’s artwork has not solely shifted in scale but additionally in type and content material, partially as a result of her COVID lockdown expertise upstate. Full of frenetic power, her work are amalgams of noise, texture, and shade that usually embody allusions to poetry, local weather change, and menopause.

“I think my surfaces are richer,” Cooper stated. “A lot of my paintings were domestic scenes. When I got trapped in upstate New York [during the pandemic,] I was hiking more, and doing more outside, and so the artwork kind of moved outdoors.”

In assist of its partnership with Fashion Fights Cancer, there are additionally a number of exhibitions in collaboration with the nonprofit group, together with a stay portray by Andy Dass. As collectors excitedly chatted with curators about the gallery shows, Dass appeared unbothered by the buzz round him as he methodically labored on a purple, pink, orange, and blue canvas in a nook.

Because of the method that the honest was laid out, artwork was generally displayed in unusual corridors and corners, which made for various awkward, claustrophobic moments. By the time I left the opening, I had misplaced observe of what number of instances I had looped my method by way of the labyrinth of artists, curators, and collectors. But then once more, what would Volta be if not a sensory-overload journey down the superb artwork market rabbit gap?

Volta runs by way of this Sunday, May 21.

Andy Dass works on a stay portray for Fashion Fights Cancer (picture Maya Pontone/Hyperallergic)

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