NEW YORK MAGAZINE | 18 April 2016

Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine’s chief art critic, has selected Signe Pierce as one of 11 artists set to have a breakout year.

11 Artists Poised to Have a Breakout Year

By Jerry Saltz

For our Art and Design issue, New York has been examining the art world’s recent past — tracing the identity-politics revolution; catching up with Richard Prince, the Warhol of the Instagram age — and it’s present, as we sit down with James Franco to let him make a case for his art and get a crash course in today’s market from a Sotheby’s advisor. And now we look to the future: ahead, 11 artists, selected by senior art critic Jerry Saltz, who are poised to have breakout years, along with a sampling of their work.

Text by Jerry Saltz. Photographs by Bobby Doherty. Styling by Rebecca Ramsey.

Susan Cianciolo
A beloved downtown favorite, Cianciolo makes bewitching rabbit-hole installations involving small blankets that display her homemade boxes that open to reveal endless worlds of ephemera, personal notes, ancillary drawings, and personal items.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Yiadom-Boakye is a great portraitist of the flesh whose every flickering thick mark and opulent stroke asserts the traditional language of figure painting (going back to Sargent and Manet) and reminds us that the very word flesh is charged with many meanings. Sexy, clay-y wet-on-wet surfaces.

Elaine Cameron-Weir
An artist of uncanny materiality, Cameron-Weir makes silver seashells that double as incense burners and oil lamps that are sometimes attached to ceilings or long snaking white walls and that venture into archaic realms of archaeology, psychological trance, and sculptural divination.

Kaari Upson
Upson’s Edgar Allan Poe surrealism tells tales of lovers, strangers, and dangers using contorted casts of discarded objects like couches and mattresses as well as detailed replicas of genitalia and bacchanal videos of haunted huts.

Signe Pierce
Pierce’s American Reflexxx — made with Alli Coates, her former girlfriend — gives us the androgynous sexy artist in a mini-dress and a silver mask strolling a South Carolina boardwalk. She attracts an enormous crowd just by her strange unleashed female sexuality. Horror strikes, as out of the crowd a middle-age white woman runs full speed at Pierce from behind and shoves her to the ground.

Aaron Fowler
Fowler has a way with ungainly scale — things the size of a Subaru — and he has a far-out feel for unwieldy materials like glass, wood, and rope. Everything is woven into objects that are as much paintings and sculptures as they are flags, shields, barriers, and parapets. A wild Rauschenbergian spirit beats here.

Jared Madere
An artist who, in 2014, bought, lived, and showed art in a huge old RV, Madere creates his own sprawling art of moving parts, air machines, and assembled materials in a jamboree of sculptural smarts.

Andra Ursuţa
Ursuta, a witchcraft-y master of materials born in the former communist Romania, has made installations with shattered gallery windows, images of Gypsy women awaiting deportation, a catapult that smashed paint balls against walls. One of the best sculptural forces around.

Leidy Churchman
With a varied, carefully controlled, always alive approach to painting, Churchman masters many subjects: making reprises of Rousseau; a new residential tower overlooking Central Park; reproductions of 19th-century fabrics that fill us with longing to travel the world. All with a convincingly earnest, almost outsider touch.

Mira Dancy
Deploying wild style, almost expressionist color, and painterly bravado in sexy, strong female nudes, Dancy crosses modernist figuration, neon-lit stripper signs, and large wall drawings done in wonderful washes. I revel in this artist’s work, yet somehow I seem to bicker with her every time I see her. Optically raucous.

Nathaniel Mary Quinn
Quinn’s intensely vivisected Frankensteinian faces and viscously spliced figures make a nation of loved, colorful portraits. Bold shifts of scale, fungal surfaces that slide between smooth and gloppy, and attacks on integrated pictorial wholeness.

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