I started at the Bridge Art Fair, which for me was the most fruitful of all five. Some really good work, lots of interaction with the galleries, and networking. There was quite a bit of representational work here- realism, pop, surrealism, street, cartoon - some excellent and some simply fun eye candy.
Opus One from England had plenty of enthusiasm for its pop and street art inspired artists, among them Hush, Dave White, and Polaroids by sculptor Marc Quinn (of the solid gold Kate Moss statue fame). Hush's collage pieces were another trend I noticed emerging, similar to Greg Gossel's work (Shooting Gallery at Scope Fair). Another gallery showing low brow/pop surrealism was Headbones Gallery from Toronto, which has dubbed this genre "Neopriest" - New Pop Realists Intellectually Engaged in Story Telling. Another off beat take on comics was the "Queer Batman" series at Kathleen Cullen FIne Arts.
Ginocchio Galleria from Mexico had well-crafted pieces by Hugo Lugo, appr 20x30" sheets of watercolor paper with blue lines and shredded edges just like a page ripped from a spiral bound notebook, with doodle type illustrations. McCaig Welles offered more pop with Eric Joyner's fun robots and donuts paintings - yes, robots and donuts. Charlotta Janssen displayed her own paintings inspired by Obama's victory and paying homage to those that paved his way (MLK, Rosa Parks and others) with painterly, limited palette replicas mixing arrest photos, handwriting and vintage images. Brooklyn's Like the Spice Gallery had three pieces by Dean Goelz, known primarily for his anthropomorphic sculptures. Here were appr 11x14" delicate drawings of odd faces with hundreds of tiny dots of paint forming swaying draped figures. Forster-Art from Switzerland had dreamlike paintings by Sergev Leonid and when I said I liked his work, she replied, "Well, why don't you buy one?" Not having 20k on me, I grabbed a card instead.
I ventured over the Westside Highway to what appeared to be a barge which hosted Fountain, the smallest and most funky, loose, old school east village/Brooklyn type of all the fairs.
Leo Kesting Gallery had lots of pop fun from young artists like Casey Porn and her line cut like drawings of critters (right). Curator John Leo has a good eye, and also showed collages by Ray Sell. Mixed media collage frequently has the feel of here's the collage/here's the paint, but Sell manages to blend them seamlessly. He told me that his day job is architecture and the attention to detail and craftsmanship shows in his work.
Shawn Bishop Leo (below),like the aforementioned Greg Gossel and Hush, creates lush and layered pieces with photos, magazine imagery, vintage wallpaper and three dimensional elements.
McCaig Welles, also at Bridge, had a large installation, "Donkey Party Game" by Gregory Habenry Yum Yum Factory done in their self-proclaimed “Pre-Apocalyptic Expressionist” style- scattered paintings, collage, and bits and pieces of everyday life. Definition Gallery from Baltimore had more pop surreal work. I met owner Daniel at Red Dot last year but he was at a Phish concert today. Paintings of the Jersey shore by illustrator John Puglisi, paintings by Bethany Marchman (also owner of Rabbit Hole Gallery in Atlanta), and Sylvia Ortiz.
Lastly, I forgot to mention my one purchase - a print by political activist artist Kudzanai Chiurai from Zimbabwe at South Africa's Goodman Gallery. A silkscreen of a shopping cart filled with weapons and below it the words SHOPPING FOR DEMOCRACY.