Here at the Artnet Gallery Network, part of our mission is to find new artists every month from our expansive website, and single out just a few that we think are particularly exciting—and whose careers we think are ones to watch! Artists in our December roundup hail from Hong Kong to New York, plus a few places in between, and include works from sculpture to painting to photography. They all also have current exhibitions that are definitely worth checking out.
While we’re sure these five artists will capture your imagination, you too can explore and discover more art and artists from home through Artnet’s Gallery Network—and be sure to watch for our shortlist next month.
Tap Chan at Mou Projects, Hong Kong
Hailing from Hong Kong, multidisciplinary artist Tap Chan (b. 1981) focuses on the dualities and multiplicities inherently present in all of visual reality. Chan frequently uses pairs of near-identical objects in her work, invoking both the uncanny and meditative reflections on the nature of experience. (2022) is characteristic of this artistic mode, featuring two very similar fake plants carefully presented in a symmetrical, stanchioned framework. The artist is also the subject of a current exhibition at Mou Projects, “Lime and Tangerine in a Wormhole”—her first solo show with the gallery—which is on view through December 31, 2022. Comprising 12 new works ranging in medium from sculpture to video, the exhibition engages with absurdity and fantasy, and stems from a hypothetical: What if two ordinary fruits found themselves inside a wormhole?
Tesfaye Urgessa, Saatchi Yates, Miami
Originally from Ethiopia, Tesfaye Urgessa (b. 1983) studied under the country’s eminent Modernist, Tadesse Mesfin, before relocating to Germany, where he currently lives and works. Employing Ethiopian iconography and infusing it with traditional figuration, Urgessa has created a singular style that reflects his unique experiences. Through his figures, which take shape through lithe line work and the blunt application of color, the artist is able to evoke complex mental states and nod to race and identity politics. His solo show at London gallery Saatchi Yates’s temporary pop-up in Miami is on view through January 2, 2022, and presents Urgessa’s newest body of work—including some of his largest paintings ever.
Maike Illies, Setareh, Düsseldorf
Based in Berlin, Maike Illies (b. 1996) studied art at the Friedrich Wilhelm Universität in Bonn before enrolling at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where she was a student of Stefan Kürten and Sabrina Fritsch. The title of her solo exhibition at Setareh gallery, “Subkutan” (on view through December 23, 2022), is German for “subcutaneous,” meaning under the skin. The paintings featured in the show give the impression that they could be microscopic studies, but their compositions suggest a relationship in scale to the human body—a catalyst to visceral and psychological reactions to the work. Illies’s method for creating these brightly colored paintings with high affect is complex and involves preparing the canvas with multiple layers of primer, followed by a mix of chalk, colored pencil, or pastels before being painted over. The materials building up on the work allow Illies to explore and experiment with texture and finish, and it provides an element of dimension to the paintings.
Asgar/Gabriel, Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna
Asgar/Gabriel is an artist duo comprised of Daryoush Asgar (b. 1975) and Elisabeth Gabriel (b. 1975). Asgar, who is from Iran, and Gabriel, who is from Austria, began their artistic collaboration in 2005, and the entirety of their oeuvre is considered a joint effort. The idea that painting is the one true way to express and represent the inner world is at the core of the duo’s ethos. Their paintings frequently address liminal spaces and imaginary worlds, where the physical and the psychological are not well-delineated realms but instead have a boundary that is fluid and undulating. Asgar/Gabriel’s current exhibition (through January 13, 2023) at Galerie Ernst Hilger, “Obscure Things and the Sun,” features figurative paintings that are laden with references to various periods, movements, and aesthetics from art history, collectively creating a new timeline that is up for interpretation. The works are also exemplary of the artists’ signature ability to manipulate representations of dimensional space, ultimately generating a new realm that is not beholden to the laws of reality.
Jess T. Dugan, Clamp, New York
American photographer Jess T. Dugan engages with themes and issues around identity—specifically gender and sexuality—in her work. Most recognized for her portraiture, and taking inspiration from her personal experiences, Dugan’s practice balances between self-expression and connecting with others. “Look at me like you love me” is an exhibition at Clamp gallery that presents photographs from the artist’s 2022 monograph of the same title. On view through January 7, 2023, the works in the show range from self-portraits and portraits to still lifes and photos of couples, which together capture a sensitive and lyrical interpretation of contemporary intimacy. The directness of Dugan’s artistic style presents the subjects as refined symbols of themselves, while simultaneously holding space for the viewer’s own thoughts and internal world. Dugan was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant as well as named by the Obama administration as an LGBT Artist Champion of Change in 2015, and was the recipient of an ICP Infinity Award in 2019.