Spotlight: A Colorful Exhibition Highlighting a Trio of International Artists Opens in New York

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What You Need to Know: The exhibition “Contemporary Art” is the second show in a four-part series presented by SmithDavidson, where each subsequent exhibition illustrates 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. Unbound by a sole thematic premise, the show presents a wide array of mediums, styles, and subject matter, and includes exemplary new work from each of the three featured artists. Taken as a whole, the show is a kaleidoscopic array 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 visual language and artistic style, yet together, their bold and at times dazzling uses of color lend an impressive cohesion. Presenting stylistically recognizable examples from each of the three artists’ oeuvres, the show fosters unique juxtapositions and interesting dialogues among their works. For Lita Cabellut, who originally hails from Spain, early exposure to the Spanish Masters is one of the key inspirations behind her monumental portraits of her. Utilizing large-scale canvases and a modern adaptation of the traditional fresco technique, she works such as Frida, The Cherry Colored Youth (2021) evoke grand, Old World wall and ceiling paintings. Meanwhile, flower-bed (2019) is emblematic of Zhuang Hong Yi’s signature style, is comprised of vibrantly pigmented and meticulously folded pieces of rice paper arranged in a dense circle. As the artist has said of this recurrent flower motif in his work, “Everywhere around the world, flowers represent peace, happiness, and prosperity. We might not all speak the same language, but we all read flowers.” Matthijs Scholten’s confident hand recalls Jean-Michel Basquiat and early street art but is still recognizable as distinctly his own. Talisman II (2022) demonstrates Scholten’s proficiency at harnessing chaos, symbolism, and figuration to create compelling visual compositions.

According to the Gallery: “SmithDavidson Gallery exhibits a dynamic range of leading contemporary art in various mediums. The gallery’s mission is to acquire and present the work of significant artists whose work has either defined or is expanding the parameters of the visual arts…Following the highly successful exhibition ‘Free or Form’ over the summer…Matthijs Scholten will have his inaugural exhibition in New York City alongside new works by internationally acclaimed artists Lita Cabellut and Zhuang Hong Yi.”

See works from the exhibition below.

Matthijs Scholten, Talisman II (2022). Courtesy SmithDavidson.

Zhuang Hong Yi, flower-bed (2019). Courtesy of SmithDavidson Gallery.

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

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