The British artist Natasha Kissell’s oil paintings pay simultaneous homage to the best designs of both nature and man. Her visions of pastoral perfection, which go on view at London’s Eleven Fine Art Gallery today, include beautifully rendered illustrations of modern and minimalist architecture, which she draws with the clarity and care of a property development brochure. For Kissell, these images of ideal up-to-date domiciles—the clean, strong lines of the buildings always in striking contrast to the opulence of the greenery surrounding them—are a way to update the landscape tradition, but they’re not entirely serious. She sprinkles her work with charming instances of surrealism (like an elephant trudging through the snow in “The Elephant Escapes”) that serve as somewhat wistful reminders that natural splendor and incredible architecture are accessible to most people only in their wildest dreams.
After she stopped interning with David LaChapelle, Hatnim Lee started posting a blog showcasing her startlingly well-composed cell-phone photos and digital snapshots of sushi dinners, staged shots of preening hipsters, and dreamy images of Williamsburg at twilight. The images now form the basis of her solo show at DC’s Transformer gallery (which reinterprets her color-saturated snaps as large-scale prints) as well as the self-titled monograph that accompanies the exhibit. Although books and gallery recognition seem a step up from a blog, Lee attributes her productivity to the inspiration she got online. “I was motivated to get the blog up,” she explains. “I like capturing vulnerable moments. When a subject’s heart shakes hands with mine, it’s like being emotionally rocked by a moment in time.”
Readers of the news often find one source to trust while excluding most others. Whether it’s The Economist, Le Monde, CNN, or The Daily Show, the underlying information may be the same, but the form, spin, and tone determine which we rely on and which we dismiss. “No Letters,” Leigh Clarke’s group show at the Nettie Horn gallery in London, tests that premise. His own work in the exhibit, and his book of the same name, use shock-and-awe-style language to announce mundane good news cribbed from reports in the Hackney Gazette, the scrappy London neighborhood’s local paper. “Cosmo/Babies,” Dick Jewell’s contribution, sends up Cosmopolitan magazine for not printing images of babies by producing a mock-up of Cosmo covers with infant cover-babes. And the eccentric English artist who calls himself Bob and Roberta Smith displays a series of newspaper poems that combine multiple headlines into sweet haiku. The message of the show is loud and clear—don’t trust everything you read.
Style guides may offer recipes for glamour and elegance, but those with native chic know that true style requires originality. Yet the subjects of “Twenty Two,” Los Angeles artist Korin Faught’s first solo show in the city, are even more compelling for not being unique. In her series of drawings and paintings, which opens on Saturday at the Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City, Faught renders stylish young twins and couples who are dressed similarly or identically in her signature muted palette. The unnerving intimacy between her models, whose identities are visibly conjoined, makes them compelling characters whose allure is compounded by their closeness.
With Christies and Sotheby’s doing steady business here, and both the Guggenheim and Louvre primed to set up sister spaces in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai’s two main fairs are quickly joining Frieze, Basel, and the Armory as mandatory stops on worldly artgoers’ calendars. Art Dubai is the more mainstream of the two, while the Creek Art Fair, which is organized by the influential XVA Gallery in one of the city’s oldest traditional building complexes, is more vibrant and intimate. On the roster this year are talks by Rem Koolhaas, Reza Derakshani, and other notables on topics such as censorship, collecting, and construction, as well as screenings of classically controversial films like “Lolita,” “Trainspotting,” and “Blue Velvet” (on tonight: Josef von Sternberg’s “The Blue Angel”). “It is so relaxed, yet so alive,” Dubai-based art advisor Maryam de Richard said when we asked her about the region. “People think everything is so conservative here, but it isn’t. This atmosphere is the real Dubai.”