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CULTURE

Highlights from the Fountain Art Fair

Four standout unorthodox artists

by Laura Neilson
on 09 March 2012

Known for its avant-garde, outsider artwork and selection of smaller independent galleries, the Fountain Art Fair can easily be likened to the rebellious kid sibling amongst the Armory Show's satellite art fairs. Despite being in a new location this year—the 69th Regiment Armory building (renowned for housing the original 1913 Armory show)—Fountain's 60-plus galleries and exhibitors reliably showcased the same punkish, boundary-pushing attitude that has become the show's trademark. Here are four artists whose work caught our eye and lingered on our minds after a dizzying day of art-spotting.

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Leah Yerpe at Dacia Gallery

To create her larger-than-life drawings, Brooklyn-based artist Leah Yerpe photographs dancing subjects prior to composing a photo collage of the bodies in contorted postures, which she then replicates in magnificent detail with charcoal on plain paper. Void of any background, Yerpe's work conveys a beautiful state of uncertainty as the tumbling bodies could either be in a state of combat or joyful movement.

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DataSpaceTime at Microscope Gallery

A newly-formed collaboration between Ray Sweeten, a sound and visual artist, and artist and set designer Lisa Gwilliam, DataSpaceTime only debuted its first artworks this past fall. Their collection at Microscope Gallery is composed of modern-day portraiture that reflects its subjects not only through the eyes of the artist, but also in terms of how others portray him or her.

The duo calls on technology to create and enhance portraits composed from thousands of unique QR codes. Once viewers download a show-specific smartphone app, scanning any one of the QR codes will link to further interactive data pertaining to the portrait's subject. Several of the codes from a portrait of Mitt Romney connected to YouTube videos about the presidential hopeful.

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gilf!

Street artist gilf! tests the eye and delivers a potent wake-up call with her spray-painted metal dialogues, presented in the style of classic optometry exams. At first disorienting, it's nearly impossible to walk by without stopping to read her rousing messages about using one's eyes, from "Take off your blinders," to "Stop looking the other way."

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Marni Kotak

Best known for her recent work "The Birth of Baby X", in which she actually gave birth to her first child in an art gallery, Marni Kotak reprises the theme of childbirth and its postpartum aspects in three different performance pieces. The first focuses on her own personal experience with postpartum depression, featuring a bedridden Kotak surrounded by authentic items from the episode, as well as her own writings and audio-recorded memories. The second and third pieces incorporate her child Ajax, who acts as both subject and collaborator as he is outfitted with a video camera of his own throughout the show.

Fountain Art Fair runs through the Sunday, 11 March, 2012.

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