Vivid Colors Erupt At Frieze, Large-Scale Abstract And Figurative Works By Women Artists Wow

Natasha Gural, Forbes, May 18, 2023

Abstraction wrangles with representation, as delicate flowers mingle with bold fruits floating on the textured canvas, guiding our eye on a joyous exploration of shapes and colors and lines and drips.


Mary Lovelace O'Neal’s vibrant and energetic TID - Flowers and Still Life, Who Expected It (circa 1990s) is among the brightest and boldest of 7-foot-by-5- foot paintings on view at the Jenkins Johnson Gallery booth at Frieze New York 2023, which opened to the public today.


Born 1942 in Jackson, Mississippi, Lovelace O’Neal is a painter, printmaker, educator, and storyteller who is renowned for her singular interpretation on Abstract Expressionism, conveying powerful narratives about the political and cultural consciousness of the civil rights and Black Arts movements.


Vibrant large-scale abstract works captured my gaze at yesterday’s preview, featuring a wide range of artists and artworks from more than 60 galleries representing 27 countries, including 33 with a New York location.


“New York City is the undisputed center of the art market, and as such art lovers and collectors will be able to immerse themselves in the international perspectives that the fair brings to the city,” said Christine Messineo, director of Frieze New York and Frieze Los Angeles.

As a dog mother, I giggled and imagined my four-year-old Waggytail Rescue pug mix Athena depicted as the subject of Elizabeth McIntosh’s Staging Sappho (2023), unsurprised that the playful oil on linen sold quickly at the Canada gallery of New York booth. The orangish dog stands right of center, head turned from a profile pose to face the viewer and tail curled up, signaling canine continent. McIntosh amplifies a field of watercolor and pools pigment into oil paint. A black outline of the same dog appears in works she created in 2022.
Born 1967 in Simcoe, Ontario, McIntosh lives and works in Vancouver, where she is a professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Like Lovelace O'Neal, McIntosh bridges abstraction and figuration in an inimitable style and color palette while building layers and stoking curiosity.

Pacita Abad’s How Mali lost her accent (1991) won my attention at the Tina Kim Gallery booth at last year’s Frieze New York, and yesterday I was enchanted by an older lavish multimedia work, Rama (1982). Born 1946 in born in Basco, Batanes, a small island in the northernmost part of the Philippines, between Luzon and Taiwan, Abad first visited Indonesia in 1983, where was instantly drawn to the Wayang–Indonesian traditional puppet drama–and the traditional art forms of Java, Irian Jaya, and Sumba island.


Abad, who died in 2004, completed more than 70 paintings in six months for her captivating and richly layered Ramayana Tales series. Rama, a prince of Ayodhya in the kingdom of Kosala, is the central figure of the The Rāmāyaṇa, one of two significant Sanskrit epics of Hinduism, known as the Itihasas (history), which is widely read in South Asian cultures. The earliest stage of the text, which has been translated into many languages, is believed to date back to the 8th to 4th centuries BCE. Abab crafts a contemporary narrative from ancient wisdom, inspired by the embellished costumes, theatrical props, and tales of The Rāmāyaṇa.