We recently participated in the Houston Fine Art Fair from September 15-18.  With strong support for the arts already in place, Houstonians were more than ready to host their first ever, international fine art fair.  80 galleries in total with international galleries from Amsterdam, Mexico City, Barcelona, Sao Paulo, Dusseldorf to name a few and dealers from major cities in the U.S. displayed an exciting collection of work.  Cultural sponsors included FotoFest, Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Lawrence Fodor, Gustavo Ramos Rivera and Harry Siter were big hits at the fair. Latin American Art was a focus and the serious collectors were out in full force…Gustavo Ramos Rivera made a big impression with them.

Gustavo Ramos Rivera, Restos de noche, 2010, oil on canvas, 60” x 60”

Gustavo Ramos Rivera, Tatuage de sombras, 2011, oil on canvas, 60” x 60”

Gustavo Ramos Rivera, Untitled monotype, 2011, 60” x 40”

Harry Siter’s work was probably the most photographed work in the Fair… with both children and adults wanting a picture with themselves next to his unique sculptures.  Front and center was major collector, artist and philanthropist Lester Marks, who is noted as being one of the “Top 200 collectors in the world” by Artnews magazine, one of the “Top 100 art collectors in the world” by Arts & Antiques Magazine and considered “One of the top 100 art collectors changing the art world”.  Lester Marks felt Harry Siter ‘s work was “some of the most interesting work in the fair”.  Being fortunate enough to attend a private party at his home I can attest to the fact that his collection is extraordinary and his personal work outstanding as well…more to come later regarding Lester Marks.

Harry Siter, Mother Nature, 2011, bronze, aluminum, wood, 84” x 40” x 17”

Art often tells a story and Lawrence Fodor does it in a big way…sometimes with a very small box.  Since childhood Lawrence has collected wooden cigar boxes.  His large-scale paintings that include the use of oil, wax and alkyd often take years to complete.  The process generates a great deal of dripping and his “koan box” paintings become bi-products of these large-scale works.

Harry Siter, Deer Hunter, 2011 (sold); Lawrence Fodor, Suspension 02, 2008-2011, oil, wax & alkyd on canvas, 80" x 84"

Placed below the large paintings during his painting process the cigar boxes become canvases that accumulate drippings resulting in beautiful, organic and intimate works of art. There is a real kinship between his large and small works that is enhanced by placing an object from his past inside. A very poetic collection and no, he doesn’t smoke cigars.

Lawrence Fodor, Gloria Cubana Box lll, 2008-2011 oil, wax, alkyd and 23kt gold on wood cigar box 6.5” x 6” x 4.5”

Koan Box Taupe/Orange/Blue-Green, 2008-2010 Oil, wax, alkyd and 23kt gold on wood cigar box 10.5” x 8.5” x 2”

Lawrence Fodor, Suspension 01, 2008-2011, oil, wax & alkyd on canvas 78” x 76”

It was an exhilarating weekend and we intend to return in 2012 for the 2nd annual Houston Fine Art Fair.  In the meantime please contact me at 415-290-5220 or seb@hamamjianmodern.com with any questions or comments.

My Best,                 Seb

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Hamamjian Modern will be participating in the Houston Fine Art Fair at the George R. Brown Convention Center from September 16-18, 2011.  This will be the first major fine art fair in Houston…a culturally oriented community that values and supports the arts.  International and domestic galleries have been carefully vetted to offer a high level of art. Hamamjian Modern will show the work of Lawrence Fodor, Gustavo Ramos Rivera and Harry Siter.

Lawrence Fodor lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  His work is minimal in nature with highly textured surfaces and rich color.  Some paintings are very large and some are miniature in size but either scale exudes depth, meaning and often the added dimension of a shared piece of the artist’s past.

Lawrence Fodor, Koan Red/Deep Red/Green, 2009-11, oil wax & alkyd on canvas, 49"x44"

Gustavo Ramos Rivera is a native of Mexico and currently lives and works in San Francisco.  His work is often brimming with color and spontaneity reminiscent of doodling at a high level.  We will show recent paintings and monotypes.

Gustavo Ramos Rivera, Restos de noche, 2010, oil on canvas, 60" x 60"

Harry Siter’s latest and life size sculptures will also be shown.  His work is hewn from large tree trunks, often with a chain saw, and then elevated with his masterful bronze work.  The work is in progress and we anxiously await the unfolding of his new series.

Mother Nature, 2011, bronze, aluminum, redwood, 83" x 33" x 23"

Come to Houston to experience this great event and say hello.  If you’re curious about the work please send an email to seb@hamamjianmodern.com or call 415-290-5220.  All show images will be posted to www.hamamjianmodern.com  soon.  Here is what the mayor of Houston has to say about the upcoming fair:

“The City of Houston is proud to host the inaugural Houston Fine Art Fair,” said City of Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker. “We endorse the fair’s efforts to focus attention on Houston as a vibrant hub for artists, collectors, galleries, and patrons of fine art. We hope to establish Houston, as a respected and must-attend, regular stop on the national and international fine art fair circuit.”

I hope to see you in Houston.

Best wishes,                Seb

May 19-22 was an action packed long art weekend in San Francisco. With three simultaneous art fairs for the first time ever, many were concerned it would be too much art and not enough interested people.  As it turned out all three fairs were a big hit and if you were around for a day or two it was clear that you at least hit two of the fairs, if not all three.  Hamamjian Modern’s choice of fairs was the San Francisco Fine Art Fair at the Fort Mason Center.

Marcel Wilson of Bionic was the first visual of the fair with his Maypole installation at the entrance.  It was a dynamic backdrop for a range of sculpture from Fletcher Benton’s enormous Tilted Donut with Balls and Zigzag to the van painted by noted graffiti artist MQ.

Van painted by MQ

SFFAF was busy every day with a huge crowd at the Thursday evening celebration of year 140 for the San Francisco Art Institute.

AugustusThompson of Fifty24SF Gallery did the 12’ x 40’ mural painting at the entrance to the pavilion (below) that prepared people for a cross section of work from it to the huge painting (opposite mural) by Chilean born Roberto Matta, courtesy of Riva Yares Gallery.

The striking Danielle Steele was spotted by the press very early into the evening of the opening night festivities and Hamamjian Modern was fortunate enough to catch her eye with Gordon Smedt’s work. Only about 20 minutes into the evening this could have been the first sale of the fair. Ms. Steele bought Gordon Smedt’s All Stars that is seen in the background.

Gordon Smedt’s paintings were a stand out of the fair and generated a great deal of attention.

Gordon Smedt, Collective, 2011, oil on canvas, 49" x 54"

No one passed one of Harry Siter’s unique bronze and wooden sculptures without standing back and taking a serious look or a picture.

Harry Siter, Puss & Boots, 2011, bronze and redwood, 93” x 42” x 47”

Harry Siter, Mother and Child, 2011, bronze and redwood, 93” x 42” x 47”

Harry Siter, Tree Trunk Desk, 2011, walnut and bronze, 29” x 33” x 83”

Kara Maria didn’t disappoint anyone with her miniature palette paintings that you could pick up for $100.  Although quite petite these 4 1/2” x 3” acrylic paintings on paper show like gems individually or in groupings.

Palette Painting #7

Palette Painting #41

Paul Hayes did a wonderful paper installation entitled Paperlight Fortress that graced the Collectors Lounge adjacent to my booth.  It was a big attraction and managed to provide a pleasant repose for fair goers.  The lounge was filled with the furniture of MFA alumni from CCA and was a perfect compliment to the Paul Hayes installation.

Stan Welsh’s terra-cotta heads also complimented the Lounge as silent observers.

Stan Welsh, Wince, 2008, terra-cotta clay and glaze, 25” x 15” x 16”

Stan Welsh, Patriot, 2008, terra-cotta and glaze, 26” x 14” x 15”

There were a number of installations and performances that added another dimension to the fair.

Brett Amory of Sandra Lee Gallery painted large portraits on site.

Brynda Glazier, Family Camp, 2010

Harry Siter’s Hanna in the foreground and Luke Damiani’s hanging vessels further back.

I welcome any comments or questions…please direct them to seb@hamamjianmodern.com.  More images for Gordon Smedt, Harry Siter or Kara Maria can be seen at www.hamamjianmodern.com

All my best,                Seb

Gordon Smedt, Empty Bags, 2011, oil on canvas, 48" x 74"

Beginning May 19th and through the 22nd the San Francisco Fine Art Fair will be underway at Fort Mason’s Festival Pavilion.  The opening night gala is from 6:00 to 9:30 and will be a 140 year anniversary celebration of the San Francisco Art Institute.

The San Francisco Fine Art Fair will be exciting on many levels.  The entire apron in front of the building will be artfully landscaped by Bionic as well as graced with wonderful sculpture, including an enormous piece by Bay Area favorite and internationally acclaimed sculptor Fletcher Benton.  Inside the Pavilion will be 70 Bay Area, national and international galleries balanced with numerous installations and performances.  These installations range from a Naomie Kremer contemporary version of Nude Descending a Staircase to a 40’ long by 12’ tall mural painted by Augustus Thompson.  Curators Hanna Regev and Kathryn Weller Renfro have added their eyes to join galleries from all over the world with outstanding Bay Area artists. The Collectors Lounge will be under a grand hanging paper installation by Bay Area artist Paul Hayes.  And, under this installation will be furniture by select CCA alumni designers. The media pavilion will be active with excellent programming developed by the San Francisco Art Institute and the Platinum VIP Lounge will be done up by a San Francisco favorite design gallery, Propeller.

Harry Siter, Hana, 2011, wood and bronze, 132" x 72" x 72"

Outdoors the famous “Off the Grid” food carts will be on site opening night to offer savory foods along with several full and open bars throughout the fair. From Friday to Sunday Blue Bottle Coffee will be debuting their new coffee kiosk near the sculpture garden.

Kara Maria, Palette Painting 2, 2010, acrylic on paper, 4.5" x 3"

Hamamjian Modern will be featuring large paintings by Gordon Smedt, sculpture by Harry Siter and miniature paintings by Kara Maria.  SFFAF will be a truly artful experience…don’t miss it!  Please contact seb@hamamjianmodern.com  for a complimentary “patron” or  “day” pass and additional passes can be purchased at http://www.zvents.com/z/san-francisco-ca/sf-fine-art-fair-2011–events–182712005

We hope to see you at Fort Mason!

Seb, artists, and staff

Christopher Benson has been making art all of his life. He began drawing and painting as a kid and that led to a variety of creative pursuits ranging from woodworking to painting, printmaking and photography. http://www.bensonstudio.com/bio.html

Chris comes from a distinguished multi-generational family of artists in New England, two of whom have received the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Award. He was himself a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Painting Fellowship in 2004.  http://www.pkf.org/

Chris lived in the East Bay in the 1990s and showed with me from 1998 to 2004, during which time I mounted two very successful exhibitions of his paintings of Bay Area interiors and exteriors. He left California in 2000 and returned to Rhode Island to complete a degree at the Rhode Island School of Design. He has since moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where his painting career continues and where he also supports the careers of other artists through exhibitions and limited-edition publications at his gallery and printing atelier, The Fisher Press.

http://www.thefisherpress.com/

Chris demonstrates great diversity in his work; notice the kinship between his abstract pieces and more representational ones.  Please enjoy a small sampling of paintings and mixed media pieces, spanning the artist’s early student years in the 1980s to the present. He is a uniquely versatile painter with a special sensitivity to color and the painted surface who masterfully navigates a wide array of styles and idioms.   http://www.bensonstudio.com/statement.html

Brooklyn Bridge from Fulton Market, 1982, oil on linen, 24"x 34", Peter R. Randall collection, RI

World Trade Towers, 1982, oil on linen, 24"x 36", Nicholas Benson collection, Jamestown, RI

Sophy, 1999, oil on linen, 42"x 48", private collection, Bridgeport, VT

Long Fence, 1999, oil on linen, 54"x 68", Antonio Ponvert Collection, New Haven, CT

Cybele and William 2, 2002, oil on linen, 36"x 36", private collection, Berkeley, CA

Law Office, 1999, oil on linen, 52"x 68", private collection, Los Gatos, CA

Coast Fog, 1997, oil on linen, 10"x 12", private collection, Portsmouth, RI

Thunderstorm, 1997, oil on linen, 11"x 12" private collection, Newport, RI

Thunderstorm 2, 1997 oil on linen, 48"x 60"

Diego, 2002, oil on linen, 60"x 60"

RISD Abstraction 1, 2004, oil on panel, 10"x 8"

RISD Abstraction 5, 2005, oil on linen, 32"x 36"

Constructed Abstraction 1, 2005, oil on constructed wood panels, 15"x 20"

Constructed Abstraction 4, 2005, oil on constructed wood panels, 16"x 34"

Collage 1, 2002, Archival inkjet print of digitally collaged oil painting scans, 21"x 20.5"

Collage 6, 2002, Archival inkjet print of digitally collaged oil painting scans, 24"x 20"

Collage Variation 2, 2002, Archival inkjet print of digitally collaged oil painting scans, 24"x 20"

Collage Variation 8, 2002, Archival inkjet print of digitally collaged oil painting scans, 24"x 20"

Henna, 2005, oil on linen, 26"x 26"

Cybele and Fisher, 2011, oil on linen, 26” x 26”

If you’re interested in Chris’s work let me know via email seb@hamamjianmodern.com or give me a call, 415-290-5220.  Please note that the first 8 pieces are already in collections but the remaining pieces are available.

My best,          Seb

www.hamamjianmodern.com

Many of you will remember the distinctive work of Gordon Smedt, a popular Bay Area artist who showed with me in the San Francisco and Los Gatos Tercera galleries.  Direct in his choice of subject as well as execution of work, Gordon makes extraordinary paintings from ordinary objects.  With our ever-shrinking world his depictions of American Heritage have transcended the national marketplace, proving to be a language without borders.   Gordon is on the move.

Bike Seat, 2007, oil on canvas, 36” x 55”

Pop Art, 2010, oil on canvas, 60” x 67”

Gordon is drawn to shoes of any kind but is famous for his paintings of sneakers. This passion documents a slice of youth that for many of us has gone by but will remain a vivid memory.

Weathered, 2010, oil on canvas, 34” x 48”

Sisters, 2010, oil on canvas, 54” x 72”

Although Dollar is from 1995, it’s certainly timely in it’s crumpled state. It doesn’t buy much anymore but “a dollar is still a dollar”.  Not an original line but a message that seems to resonate in Gordon’s work; “no matter what, you can find a thread of value in nearly anything”.  Perhaps not in monetary terms but in its history and the story it tells.  This is what Gordon Smedt paints; every day objects that in real life seem mundane but when painted with verve, once again come to life.

Dollar, 1995, oil on canvas, 62” x 64”

If you’re interested in Gordon’s work or a soft cover book, let me know.  Shoot me an email seb@hamamjianmodern.com or give me a call 415-290-5220.

Express your comments…nothing like feedback.

Seb

P.S.    the painting at the very top is a cropped version of “Fetch”, a painting of Gordon’s very special dog Bogey, who his Mother gave to him upon his graduation from art school.  He did it for a 2001 show I had in San Francisco entitled “For the Love of Dogs”.

www.hamamjianmodern.com