Fairs and Events

Frieze London 2022: Which Painters Are On The Rise?

Lisson Gallery booth at Frieze London 2022.
Lisson Gallery, Frieze London 2022. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Frieze and Linda Nylind.

By Alice Godwin

The dust has settled over Frieze week in London and the jury is in – painting is the darling of the art world 2022. From Gagosian’s Rothko chapel-inspired booth of Jadé Fadojutimi’s gestural abstractions to Laure Prouvost’s engulfing canvases at Lisson Gallery, there was an abundance of painting amongst the Frieze London 2022 exhibitors in Regent’s Park. As the art world gets back to its usual pre-COVID pace, it seems collectors of contemporary art are eager for the tangible experience of paint after years of peering through the glare of their computer screens.

Painters To Watch From Frieze Week 2022

Though some critics were scathing on the quality of painting at times (here’s looking at you Jonathan Jones), there were plenty of talented painters to discover amongst the Frieze London 2022 galleries. Here is a breakdown of some of the thrilling artists shown this October at Frieze London, where you can find their work, and what projects are on the horizon.

Joanna Woś

Polish painter Joanna Woś is a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, but her psychologically-charged tableaux are already causing a stir. Through gossamer layers of paint, Woś mingles images of memory, fantasy, and fiction. Her alter ego often appears at the center of these electric scenes of sexual exchange, which explore what can be shown and what is taboo. At Frieze London 2022, Woś’s works could be found on the stands of Croy Nielsen and Galeria Wschód, which highlighted Woś as part of the Frieze Focus section devoted to emerging artists. Wschód has a few upcoming projects with Wós that are under wraps for now, but a 2023 show in the exhibition space ECHO in Cologne is on the cards.

Solo presentation of Joanna Woś by Wschód, at Frieze London 2022
Solo presentation of Joanna Woś by Wschód, Warsaw/Cologne (Booth H7).

Coco Young

New York-born, Marseille-raised painter Coco Young received her MFA from Columbia University in 2019. She has quickly become known for her dreamlike vistas, which feel otherworldly in their vibrant palette and delicate strokes of paint. Copenhagen gallery Christian Andersen brought two of Young’s paintings to Frieze London 2022: a radiant cerulean tree arching over water and a mirage of the Pont Neuf in Paris. Though Young has exhibited regularly in the United States, she is yet to have a solo European show. Thankfully, Christian Andersen has plans for an exhibition in spring 2023.

Painting by Coco Young titled 'Pont Neuf' presented at Frieze art fair London
Coco Young, Pont Neuf, 2022. Oil on canvas. 130 x 195 cm. Photo: Jan Søndergaard

Jennifer Carvalho

With their soft focus, dark palette, and tightly cropped composition, Jennifer Carvalho’s paintings share a mysterious quality that makes them resemble the relics of some Medieval monastery. The Canadian artist applies these techniques to varying source images stripped from cinema, antiquity, and Renaissance works of art, until the boundaries between past and present are dissolved, and each painting is shrouded in twilight. The New York gallery Helena Anrather gave visitors a full experience of Carvalho’s work in the Frieze Focus section, with paintings of religious fervor, medieval architecture, and ancient statuary, framed by a curtain that evoked the hangings of a church altar.

Painting by Jennifer Carvalho titled 'Study of grief (van der Weyden)'
Jennifer Carvalho, Study of grief (van der Weyden), 2022, Oil on canvas, 9 x 12 in (22.9 x 30.5 cm). Courtesy of the Artist and Helena Anrather, New York

Maja Ruznic

Maja Ruznic’s biography is essential to an understanding of her paintings, which intermingle the memories of personal and collective trauma with tales of mythology. Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1983, Ruznic and her family fled their home during the Bosnian War and immigrated to the United States. Her paintings speak to these experiences of being a refugee and an immigrant as well as the arc of human life with tender empathy. In Ruznic’s spellbinding Night (Dream Makers) (2022) at Hales’s stand, figures appear through hazy washes of jewel-like color, seen through the otherworldly lens of night. If one painting was simply not enough, Hales London will present a solo exhibition in spring 2023.

Artwork by painter Maja Ruznic titled 'Night (Dream Makers)'
Maja Ruznic, Night (Dream Makers), 2022, Oil on linen, 254.5 x 192.9 x 6.7 cm, 100 1/4 x 76 x 2 5/8 in. Image courtesy the artist and Hales, London and New York. Copyright the artist. Photo by Charlie Littlewood.

Manuel Mathieu

Manuel Mathieu’s paintings are steeped in the histories of his native Haiti. Notably, he recently worked as an Executive Producer on the 2022 feature-length documentary, The Fight For Haiti. Mathieu infuses his works with the legacy of the Duvalier regime that governed Haiti for nearly thirty years, as well as his own trauma from two serious traffic accidents, one of which temporarily affected his short-term memory. Through haunting figures and flowing abstractions, Mathieu’s paintings reflect upon the shifting parameters of experience. Chicago-based Kavi Gupta, presented two of his mesmeric paintings at Frieze, following their publication of a major monograph in 2022 and a solo exhibition of Mathieu’s work in 2021. But have no fear, another show is in the making.

Explore available works for sale by Manuel Mathieu.

The Vision by Manuel Mathieu, presented at Frieze London 2022
Manuel Mathieu, The Vision, 2022, Acrylic, chalk, charcoal, masking tape, 68 x 72 in. Courtesy Kavi Gupta

Tunji Adeniyi-Jones

London-born and New York-based Tunji Adeniyi-Jones conjures paintings that are indebted to the mythology and history of West Africa, as well as his own Yoruba heritage. Tessellating figures and shapes suggest the repetitions of Yoruba ritual, just as bold grounds of color evoke the traditions of Western abstraction and the cut-paper collages of Henri Matisse. Recurring blends of scarlet and fuchsia in his work refer to the Dutch wax prints that are common in Africa. Adeniyi-Jones’s lyrical Violet Dive (study) (2022) was snapped up by a foundation in Beirut at Frieze London 2022 from the Morán Morán art gallery, who have a solo show planned at their Mexico outpost in 2023. Adeniyi-Jones’s work could also be found at White Cube’s stand, which began to represent the artist just last year.

Explore available works by Tunji Adeniyi-Jones.

Painting by Tunji Adeniyi-Jones titled 'Violet Dive'
Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Violet Dive (study), 2022, Oil on canvas, 75 x 55 in, 190.5 x 139.7 cm
Courtesy Morán Morán

Sahara Longe

Sahara Longe’s paintings look as if we might have stumbled into the middle of an awkward dinner party. Glances are exchanged and whispers shared in mysterious interactions, which reveal Longe’s fascination with the secret lives of strangers as well as her roots in Renaissance and Baroque painting, cultivated during her studies at the Charles H. Cecil Studios in Florence. Longe has quickly garnered attention for her paintings which insert Black figures, particularly Black women, into a typically white canon of biblical and historical narratives. A sold-out show with Ed Cross Fine Art at London’s 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in 2021 prompted the British artist to be taken on by Timothy Taylor Gallery, who presented a solo booth of her work at Frieze and are planning an exhibition in 2023.

Painting exhibited at Frieze London by Sahara Longe, titled 'Triptych'
Sahara Longe, Triptych, 2022. Courtesy Timothy Taylor, London / New York

Selome Muleta

Ethiopian gallery Addis Fine Art, which expanded its footprint to London in 2021, returned to Frieze with a series of paintings by Selome Muleta. Following a successful show with the gallery in their new Fitzrovia space earlier in 2022, the young Addis Ababa-based painter had an entire booth devoted to her beguiling portraits of women at Frieze London, one of which reportedly sold to a US museum. These paintings speak to an inner landscape of hidden emotion and personal history. At times, Muleta juxtaposes her sitters with objects – from a wilting plant to a docile cat – that add to the psychological complexity of her work. Muleta’s palette of rich pastels, crimsons, and greens, and her gestural application of paint, only add to our feeling that there is more here than meets the eye.

Presentation by Selome Muleta at Frieze London 2022
Selome Muleta at Frieze London 2022. Courtesy Lucy Emms Photography and Addis Fine Art

Relevant sources to learn more

Read more about other art fairs and events in 2022
The 2022 Venice Biennale at a Glance: Highlights & Awards
Highlights Of Enter Art Fair 2022
Highlights of Art Basel 2022: Notable Sales, Awards, Special Sections & Much More

Other sources:
Read the art fair review written by Jonathan Jones for The Guardian

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