In life, there are a couple of days that you will always remember clearly: may it be the day of your wedding, firstborn or your first time Art Basel. One of the days for me was exactly two years ago, August 4th 2020: The day of the Beirut explosion. The catastrophe caused over 7,000 casualties and 218 deaths. One of the people who passed away was the father of Zeid El-Amine.
As August is seen as the death of businesses, including the art world, Zeid reversed the situation and founded Août Gallery. Août (French for August) Gallery symbolizes doing the unthinkable, and, which is of more importance, acts as a remembrance of his father; who was a fond art lover and collector. The gallery located amidst Beirut showcases emerging contemporary artists from all over the world. Furthermore, by participating in fairs globally, the gallery strives to convey its love for art worldwide. I was fortunate enough to meet Zeid at the CAN art fair, while also seeing the artist displayed in his booth.
Portraying her inner feelings on raw, unstretched canvas, ones that would otherwise go unexpressed, Minyoung Kim exudes liberating softness through ghostly, yet adorable characteristics. Utilizing unstretched canvas provides the Seoul-born artist with additional space, frolicking with mystical sceneries taking shape in the ethereal, secluded from the ordinary world. In the emancipating world of her works, Kim inhabits the bodies of characters to her liking, for example transforming into a cat, and experiencing the unattainable. Kim’s spot-on, perplexing compositions, continuously leave the viewer in wonderment.
Shaping figures with hints of humanoid appearances, paired with enlarged facial features, Australian artist Zac Yeates strives to exhibit the imperfection, may I add, in all of us. Providing a place for characters who would be otherwise overlooked, Yeates renders ambient primed surroundings suitable to the theme of the composition. The protagonists occupying his work, induce an uncanny, although familiar, sensation into the viewer, directing them to inspect every nook and cranny of the canvas even more. Lately, Yeates has been injecting life into mundane, everyday objects, leading to comical portrayals.
Alienated from nature at a young age, Josiah Ellner seeks to reconnect with the environment through his work. Drawn by the dynamic characteristics of nature, the Xi’an-born artist captures the whimsicality of it in a lively manner paired with hints of mischief. Inspired by interactions with the natural world, be it directly or indirectly, Ellner's cartoony works have a certain pleasant atmosphere to them, seizing moments of connectedness between the protagonist and Mother Earth, undisturbed from society.