ArtExpo 2014

For 35 years ArtExpo’s juried NYC exposition has brought together publishers, galleries and art collectors with established and emerging artists. This year, over 400 far-flung artists, galleries and publishers are showing original artwork, prints, paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, ceramics, giclee, lithographs, glass and fabric works at Pier 94 from April 4 to 6. This is purportedly the largest international gathering of trade buyers, art dealers, designers, architects, corporate art buyers and art and framing retailers. Discussion panels were carried on throughout the day. I walked through the show stopping to talk to artists whose work was most intriguing to me.

I was frequently impressed with the sincerity, creativity and passion of the artists – of all ages, and as much with the resilience of the many whose work attracted little attention. Most artists need to find the strength to define success in their own terms and not in dollars since so few will rise to the point of commercial viability. I spoke with artists from Africa, Europe, Canada, Asia and the Americas – and I talked only to a small minority of those represented.

I spoke first with Nelly Lim, a young woman working in Quebec some of whose work addressed her Chinese heritage and the remarkable transition from its tradition-bound to contemporaneously oriented culture. Another of her series addressed current society’s tendency to discard the imperfect – both artifacts and persons. Although young, she was deeply philosophical and mature in the conception and execution of her work.

Azamat Kuriev_MG_0232I spoke briefly with Azamat Kuliev, a 50 year old Russian painter trained in St. Petersburg but living, painting and teaching in Istanbul, Turkey. He paints, in a Renaissance style of light and shadow, figures which grab you emotionally. His work is mesmerizing if a little gothic in its darkness. He struggled with his English but his paint brush was always eloquent.

Brian Barrer_MG_0196-EditBrian Barrer, from deep within Ontario, constructs poetic photo montages, some a bit surreal but poetic and engaging.

Lisa Cueman_MG_0198-EditLisa Cueman, a 16th generation Bermudian now living in Vermont, having grown up with horses, has been making beautiful equine photography since 2009. She shot her current series in the outer banks. Her prints are tonally rich and visceral. If you are passionate about horses, her images must charm you.

Oronde Kairi_MG_0214-Edit2Oronde Kairi is an enthusiastic man, personally warm and with a talent for affectionate caricature. His major piece at the show (see photo) was painted from a family photograph. It made me smile, and he made me smile.

GoLLy Bishop_MG_0219GoLLy Bishop [sic] makes fabric hangings and T-shirts from bits and pieces of printed materials and works out of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Slipas and wife_MG_0213Šlipas (Arturas Šlipavicius) is a flamboyant and puckish Lithuanian whose paintings combine the aesthetics of klimt and Hundertwasser. He is also known for his music. Šlipas created a number of music/painting fusion projects with jazz musician and composer V. Labutis and in 1987, together with film director A. Barysas, he founded the avant-garde music group “Ir visa tai, kas yra gražu, yra gražu” (“And all that is beautiful is beautiful”). When I encountered him, Šlipas (above with his wife) was taking obvious and active joy in interacting with the public.

Michael Cuomo_MG_0221I was engaged by Michael Cuomo whose mostly anthropomorphic assemblages from found objects were playful and often charming. He is an ebullient man who was trained, in part, at Bronx Community College; his work reflects a kind of visual jazz and a somewhat unexpected sophistication.

Hernan Carcia_MG_0215Hernan Garcia is a compact Colombian painter who studied in Italy and now paints in Stamford. His work is abstract but has weight. I was hooked by the contrast between the gravitas of his work on the one hand and his ready smile and lack of pretense on the other.

It is readily apparent that artists love to explain their work if you will venture to invite the exchange; that conversation enriches the viewing experience, and the human experience, on both sides.

Photos by Fred Cohen. To see more of Fred’s photos, go to the website for Fred Cohen Photography or like fredcohenphotography on Facebook.

Website Links:
Nelly Lim Studio
Azamat Kuliev
Brian Barrer
Lisa Cueman Photography
Oronde Kairi
Michael Cuomo Art
Hernan Garcia

About Fred R. Cohen (48 Articles)
Fred Cohen, a NYC-based photographer, has been taking pictures for over four decades. His work has been published by Harry N. Abrams, Time Magazine and The New York Times. He does commissioned work and sells images from his extensive library. You can see his more casual work on face book and are welcome to visit his website at