The best of Frieze Los Angeles.

Frieze Los Angeles is probably the worst of all Frieze Art Fairs because it combines the egos and trashiness of Hollywood with the pompousness wankery of the art world.

There was a lot of tinsel and string and fakery pretending to be art, but by far these were the four stand-out artists.

Hilda Palafox

A rich matriarchal world is celebrated in the work of Hilda Palafox. These stylised artworks have the female form bending, curving and crafting the rituals of everyday life.

Eyes are curiously blank, like the faces of Modigliani, and there’s the beautiful, mesmerising, repeating symbolism of the circle sometimes as the moon, but other times as a bowl, yarn, fruit, tied hair and the arching limbs of the body.

Unsurprisingly all the works sold out at the fair, new works should be coming this summer through Projectos Monclova in Mexico City. Love.

Hilda Palafox, La vida sigue, Oil on linen, 49.21 x 37.4 x 1.57 in

Doron Langberg

Turning a corner at the fair, I saw a huge orange, pink and purple abstract mass that took me a moment to realise it’s a very close up, explicit portrayal of sex. Lovers 1 would normally be the kind of work that I would dismiss as using sex as an overt way to be daring in art.

Instead, the waves of colour and blurred shapes make it compelling in that it’s a rich and joyous celebration of loose brushstrokes and a riot of hues. It’s this intimate abstraction that I like most about the work of Doron Langberg, represented at Frieze Los Angeles by Victoria Miro.

I thought Lovers at Night was the best example of this abstracted, figurative, sexy work, where the bodies and bedsheets blend together to form a composition that the eye delights to unfold.

Doron Langberg, Lovers at Night (2023). © Doron Langberg. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro.

Diedrick Brackens

In a world crazed by NFTs and AI-generated art, it’s a joy to see an artist taking traditional craft and creating work that is fresh and surprising. Diedrick Brackens is known for his woven tapestries exploring queer identity and allegory using techniques from West African weaving, quilting from the American South and European tapestry-making. They’re bright, rich and evocatively composed. romance and logistics (below) was a stand out piece for me.

Diedrick Brackens, romance and logistics, 2023, cotton nylon and acrylic yarn, 98x100in (248.9x254cm)

Narsiso Martinez

When I first saw Sin Bandana (below) by Narsiso Martinez it reminded me of a catholic altarpiece with saints arrayed to bring us to salvation. These are portrayals of farm laborers who toil to bring food to supermarkets and ultimately our family dinner tables. The work speaks to the enormous sacrifices people are making to allow us to eat.

The mixed media installations of Narsiso Martinez are drawn from his own experience as a farmworker and expressed in sculpture on discarded produce boxes collected from grocery stores. It’s a delicate reminder of the thousands of hands that make many of our lives easier and seamless because of the unheralded work they do under extreme conditions.

Narsiso Martinez, “Sin Bandana” (installation of multiples), 2022. Charcoal, Simple Leaf and Matte Gel on Berry Boxes, Smallest 16.5 x 10 inches, largest, 20 x 1.2 inches.

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