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NEW YORK STUDIO | LIZA LACROIX.

Meet the Montreal born, New York based, OTOMYS artist Liza Lacroix.

As OTOMYS prepares to head to America this week, we reflect upon the last time we were in the USA; visiting Liza Lacroix in her New York Studio.

Follow us into Lacroix’s realm of gestural movement, bold strokes, dark hues, soft pastels and abstract figures.

‘I exalt in the aura that comes both from the historical prominence of painting and from its potency as an emotional object. Throughout the painting process, I am compelled by the heightened subconscious and intuitive possession that takes hold as a painting comes together, component by component, stroke by stroke. I am open to chance, accidents and awkward colour juxtaposition. I place the agency of the painting materials above personal intentions for storytelling; the paint has a life of its own.’

‘While my influences are drawn from the canon of abstraction, I reject the dichotomy between figuration and abstraction. I prefer to refer to my work as abstract figurative painting. Using large canvases and a rich but muted colour palette, I create soft but arresting paintings using texture, wide strokes and watery oils. I often use reference material that contains images of humans, a practice in line with the history of abstract painting. I push my abstraction to a place where it becomes almost entirely non-respresentational – but it must still maintain a human presence. I wish to always maintain a trace of humanity.’

Liza Lacroix | Brooklyn Studio

VIEW | Liza Lacroix’s work at OTOMYS. Beyond the Online Gallery, we share access to Lacroix’s NYC art portfolio and facilitate commissioned projects. Facilitating commissioned projects is a very rewarding part of our work at OTOMYS. Representing both client and artist, we seek to deliver the most unique work for the specific space, whilst honouring the integrity of the artist. Schedule a Liza Lacroix appointment | studio@otomys.com

Further Reading –

Liza Lacroix | Liza Lacroix x OTOMYS

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Otomys in Europe: Life and Style with Director Nikki Finch.

After 15 years of living abroad, Otomys UK Director Nikki Finch and her family recently relocated to the UK and home has now become the beautiful Georgian city of Bath.  Set in the rolling countryside of the South Western county of Somerset, Bath is a town best known for its natural Roman-era hot springs, 18th-century Georgian architecture home to famed 18th century writer Jane Austen.

Independent, creative, unique and classed as a designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, tourists flock to Bath all year-round. Many come to experience the infamous Baths and breathtaking 7th century gothic Abbey which are built from Bath’s remarkable honey-coloured stone. This is the stone that founded Bath’s trademark architecture and continues to deliver a sense of elegance and history that will forever set Bath apart from its neighbours. After the Abbey, the Royal Crescent and The Circus are top spots for taking in this Georgian architecture and undoubtedly one of the most photographed parts of town!

(Top to bottom: Bath’s Pulteney Bridge and famous Bath stone architecture)

For Nikki though, it was no easy decision to finally depart from her contrasting Asian shores and head towards the UK “As a family, we have always been so stimulated by the buzz and slightly chaotic nature of living in developing countries.  However, we knew it was time to settle down for a few years and allow our teenage children the chance to experience a European culture.”

Nikki and her family are loving the change in pace having fun exploring their new surroundings. Nikki’s Bath highlights include:

Nikki admits that “The surrounding villages and countryside is equally charming.  I have become a regular visitor at Hauser & Wirth in Somerset – who have created a wonderfully creative hub for art enthusiasts and guest speakers that bring the community together. The gallery hosts exhibitions by internationally renowned artists so there is always an excuse to come back regularly”

(Top to bottom: Scenes from Hauser & Wirth in Somerset)

Nikki goes on to explain that “My parents were a great influence in my appreciation and love of art.  From a young age, we visited art galleries, auction houses and museums.  They always liked to change the art on the walls at home, depending on the season.”

Now based close by in Belgium’s Antwerp, Nikki’s parents provide the best excuse (like she needs one!) to jump on the Eurostar on a Friday evening for a long weekend visit. In the culturally rich, ancient city of Antwerp you’re never far from a Rubens’ Flemish Baroque masterpiece in the Belgian artist’s home town. However, most recently Nikki agrees that with his incomparable eye and keen sense of beauty, renowned interior designer Axel Vervoordt has put Antwerp back on the map in a more contemporary way. “In the last 10 years, Antwerp feels like it has evolved into modern city, seamlessly fusing the old with the new. It’s well worth the visit if your Europe bound!”

Nikki’s favourite Antwerp activity? “It has to be browsing through the beautiful homewares and fashion at Graanmarkt 13 . A remarkable concept developed by the owners, Tim and Ilse and described as having ‘a white facade, 3 floors, 14 windows, a balcony and an open door’ it’s a traditional townhouse in the centre of town renovated by Vincent Van Duysen, – one of Antwerp’s best architects.” This exquisite building is divided into a fabulous restaurant, a curated high end design store and luxurious apartments on the top level.

(Top to bottom: Graanmrkt 13’s apartment & a selection of delicacies from the restaurant. Images courtesy of Frederik Vercruysse)

In between exploring her new home in Bath and regular design trips to Antwerp, we asked our UK ambassador Nikki, what she has lined up for Otomys “We have so many exciting plans for Otomys UK this year! I’m just about to launch our gallery at the Affordable Art Fair in London this month.  Along with this, we’re working on expanding our collection to include both some exciting artists AND new art forms -so keep an eye out for features and on our facebook or Instagram.”

“Finally establishing our UK arm means Otomys art will now be accessible to a much wider European audience and I’m so excited to be part of the vibrant London Art Scene and Otomys new endeavour. It’s going to be our best (and busiest) year yet!”

Stay in the loop and follow our journey abroad on Instagram and facebook.

Thank you Nikki, for letting us peek into your new design-led lifestyle- we can’t wait to hear and see more soon!

Destination: Cape Town

What makes a holiday so inspiring? There’s much to be said about holidaying with a large budget but it is often the simple things that make a deeper impression.

I recently travelled to South Africa with my family and adored the change of pace, the soft African light, the early morning calls of the hardee-da birds, ocean swims, mountain hikes and G&T’s sitting on the large sculptural boulders on the beach at sunset – nature never disappoints.

When I travel it is not only the physical experience that excites me but the visual – I take my eyes and mind on holiday!

Cape Town is set between the deep inky blue hues of the Atlantic Ocean and the rugged, powers of Table Mountain. It is the most livable city in Africa, with a reputation as a leading producer of creative, inspiring and innovative design. In this issue of Chronicles I’d like to share a selection of experiences that resonated for their thrill, style, comfort and inspiration.

OUR TOP AIR BNB STAYS IN CAPE TOWN

  • CBD Apartment of Art Gallery ‘Whatiftheworld’ founders Justin and Cameron
  • The home of Krisjan Roussow – Otomys fine art photographer
  • Seahorse Villa – a coastline retreat – book through Luxury Retreats

Photo credit: Justin Rhodes’ CBD Apartment / Krisjan Roussow – De Waterkant / Views from Seahorse on Beta Beach in Bakoven

WALK, SWIM AND EVEN DANCE

  • Walk through the Kirstenbosch Gardens and up Skeleton Gorge to the very top of Table Mountain. Catch the cable car back down or … walk!
  • District Six Museum for history
  • BoKaap District for culture and colour frenzy
  • Robben Island to do a half day tour of Nelson Mandela’s prison
  • Franschoek for a full day or more of wineries, art galleries and restaurants
  • Babylonstoren near Franschoek for food and design
  • Chapmans Peak Drive – spectacular scenic drive pref from a vintage car with music on!
  • Swim in the icy waters of Camps Bay and Beta Beach and Surf at St James
  • Dance at Caprice in Camps Bay on a Sunday Night with a very cool crowd … keep an eye out for artist Krisjan Roussow!

TAKE IN CAPE TOWN’S ART SCENE

Cape Town is culturally diverse and a rich creative hub for the arts. Here are just a few of my favourite Galleries:
Southern Guild
• Irma Stern Museum
Stevenson
• Goodman Gallery
Whatiftheworld
Everard Read
Moor Gallery
Franschoek

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK..

All day eats
Shortmarket Club
• Thali
Chefs Warehouse – a favorite for lunch al fresco!
Hemelhuijs – exotic South African food
Haas Collective for Art with coffee or lunch

Breakfast
Neighborhood Market in Woodstock
Superette
The Companys Garden

Dinner
Buitenverwachting – for a superb formal dinner in a winery setting

Drink
• The Planet Bar at The Mount Nelson Hotel CBD
The Gin Bar
• Morning tea (or an early G&T?) at the Twelve Apostles overlooking the Atlantic Ocean– full of colonial charm!

GET YOUR RETAIL THERAPY FIX

  • Cecile & Boyd – a unique and eclectic mix of decor finds
  • Bree Street CBD for boutique fashion shops and Greenmarket Square for local souvenirs and sculpture
  • Tribal Trends – for upmarket African interior decor
  • Neighbourhood Market in Woodstock – Local designers covering fashion, art and interiors

I hope this feature inspires you to holiday in Africa and to enjoy all the creativity and beauty it has to offer. And if you have visited before, share with us below your travel highlights!

Lastly, for a phenomenal wild life experience my all-time favourite Game Reserve up North is Phinda … well worth the trip!

Best,
Megan Dicks.

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Take A Tour Inside Tate Modern’s Switch House

London is home to some 1,500 odd galleries and its current art scene is one of the world’s largest, with an international reach that rivals that of other famed art hubs including New York and Paris. However, one that towers (quite literally) over all others is the Tate Modern.

At only 15 years old, most will agree that the Tate has done well in asserting itself alongside the globes’ ‘gallery greats’. When it first opened back in 2000, it seemed the Tate had already entered as a key player at the highest level, levelling with its’ counterparts at New York’s MoMA and Paris’ Pompidou and becoming a pivotal, leading voice in today’s contemporary art scene. We think it’s fair to say that the Tate Modern has settled very nicely into the museum landscape.

Since its arrival, the Tate’s familiar Turbine Hall has been lauded as one of the most photographed spaces in the world of contemporary art. So, where does this leave the new Switch House extension? How has the new building been received so far, and how does it connect with the existing landmark that we’ve all come to recognise in the London skyline?

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The Tate Modern opened its brand new angular extension in June earlier this year. Using 336,000 bricks to wrap around the ziggurat shaped pyramid, Swiss studio Herzog & de Meuron were invited back to design the extension, having been responsible for the original conversion of the former Bankside Power Station in 2000. The latticed brickwork facade intentionally helps to match the exterior brickwork of Giles Gilbert Scott’s original power station. Ascan Mergenthaler, a senior partner at Herzog & De Meuron sums up the spatial design, saying “from the cavernous subterranean Tanks dedicated to performance and installation art, to the lofty top-lit galleries with their large luminescent ceilings, each form a broad ribbon for circulation meandering up through the building, to the generous day-lit education spaces.” (Dezeen, 2016).

Named after part of the power station that housed the electrical switches, the new galleries have expanded the museum by 60% to accommodate its’ thriving visitor numbers (The Art Newspaper, 2016). Frances Morris, the Tate’s new director, explains that the objective for the new building was to harbour more “participatory art or the debate around art and audiences”. Morris pinpointed the 1960s as the decade where this can be articulated with the greatest amount of authority. The 1960s, being a time where massive social, political and artistic shifts were witnessed in society, creating crucial moments in history that deserve to be celebrated within the new spaces (Dezeen, 2016). The installations begin in the mid-1960s in the theatrical basement tanks and as you climb the spiral stairs the narrative from artists of the 20th century begin to take over.

With a view to present a greater variety of artworks and more global artists, the Tate is aiming for an increasingly global portfolio of modern and contemporary art. It’s all part of Morris’ plan to grow the Tate. Not just underground into the Switch House and up ten storeys into the new ziggurat, but within its international outlook and it’s vision to right the gender balance, so that the next generation will understand that women also make great art.

The result? An undoubted consensus that Switch House has had a transformative impact on the city already, reinstating the Tate Modern’s landmark appeal and continuing to be an influential force in honouring the contemporary arts. We can’t wait to climb the spiral staircase to the outlook over the Thames ourselves.

Have you visited the new Tate Modern building? We’d love to know what your experience was like in the comments below.

tate-modern-extension-herzog-de-meuron-london-jim-stephenson_dezeen_1568_33Photography by Jim Stephenson for Dezeen.