Emerging Artists to Watch in 2024
As the art world steps into 2024, the unfolding narrative includes everything from the resilience of blue-chip works in auctions to the intersection of positive economic forecasts, breakout artists and the hybridization of physical and digital gallery spaces. Among the many artists and trends poised to influence the art scene in 2024, we focus on emerging talents who stand out for their distinctive styles and approach.
Emerging artists gain significance for various reasons, often rooted in their ability to challenge conventions and infuse fresh perspectives into the art world. Noteworthy for their unique voices, Rachel Garrard, Lottie Cole, Oriele Steiner, Nuno Gil and Kuo Yen Fu are artists whose works captivate with a distinct language, push the boundary of the medium and offer narratives that invite viewers into uncharted territories. Join us as we explore in detail why these are the emerging artists to keep an eye on in 2024.
Born 1984 in Devon, UK, Rachel Garrard weaves together threads of reference to the human body, geometric structures, and ritualistic practices. What sets the artist apart is not only the subject matter but also her deeply conceptual approach and the choice of unconventional materials, such as rock powder pigment or black sand and found objects ranging from seed pods, sticks to coconuts.
In a departure from conventional pigments, Gerrard works with natural dyes and soil, which infuse her works with a contemplative spirit. Her layered compositions manifest the awareness of the qualities of the chosen materials, highlighting their potential to transcend the confines of ordinary pigmentation. Having exhibited across notable galleries in Berlin, New York and Mexico, Garrard’s projects include ‘Only in Time Will You Understand This’ (2022) at Casa Wabi, Oaxaca. The installation brings together found objects and sculptures crafted from Oaxacan clay, arranged in specific relations to represent the sequence of non-linear time. Drawing inspiration from ancient cultures and questions of quantum physics, the artist creates in her work a system of symbols, where timelines move backward and forward.
At the heart of Gerrard's artistic exploration lies a fascination with visibility, light, and perception. Works such as “Continuum” (2021) unveil a contemplative internal methodology, where the mixture of process and materiality reveals an enigmatic quality. The palette she employs, characterised by faded hues and organic tones, is a testament to her resourcefulness in utilising found materials collected during her travels and residencies.
Lottie Cole’s evolving body of work is an exploration of comfort and intimacy of familiar spaces. Working mainly in oils, gouache and watercolour, the artist dedicates her paintings to homely interiors mediated with soft brushstrokes and warm colour palettes. The artworks celebrate not just the tasteful decor of the rooms, but rather a sense of personal choice behind the details we find in them – the way rooms and their objects reveal glimpses of personality of those who inhabit them.
Elected an Associate Member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 2021, Cole often returns to physical spaces in her paintings, but does so innovatively, using the representation of home as a window onto profound questions about the nature of inhabiting space and preserving memory. Despite the rich tapestry of details, her depictions of the domestic space carry an underlying sense of absence, evoking a situation of departure or longing for human presence that is no longer there.
Featuring a collection of personal objects – a fish plate, sculpture, stone – displayed against a mirror containing a reflection of bookcases, “Chimney Piece” (2021) leaves the viewer curious about a broader narrative surrounding the setting. Cole’s paintings revel in fragments of existence, getting close to intimate details without making human presence associated with them explicitly known.
Oriele Steiner’s paintings reimagine the representation of sexuality and desire, challenging our conformity to the preconceived ideas about femininity. The characters present in her work appear in outsized body shapes, displaying muscles, folds of skin and curves that defy conventional expectations of female beauty. In “You're Talking Over People” (2021), two figures take the full space of the canvas, their interconnected red bodies extending into playful shapes, beyond standard proportions. Woven into this and many other works is a disruption of the ordinary and the familiar, evoking the experience of Jamais Vu – the circumstances ‘when something happens which seems like it should be familiar but isn't’ as described by the artist herself.
Selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2016, Steiner portrays her characters in situations of physical closeness that nevertheless speak to the alienation of the modern age. In ‘When all is said and done, more is always said than done’ (2021), two human figures appear caught in a violent embrace, yet their backs are turned against each other, mediating a tension between intimacy and detachment. Presenting a bodily language that oscillates between dance, wrestling and a sense of entanglement, Steiner’s paintings question the nature of human attachments, putting at the forefront moments of vulnerability and solitude experienced despite a close physical presence of another being.
Based on a visual vocabulary of cutouts, Gil's works unfold as visual symphonies, each a testament to the meticulous labour involved in the creation of thousands of unique patterns. The artist's commitment to precision is palpable throughout his body of work, as each cutout constitutes a component in the larger system of colours and shapes. Within the expansive surfaces of painted papers or embossed leathers, Gil’s patterns follow an all-encompassing logic.
The utilisation of materials and techniques traditionally associated with crafts adds another layer of richness to Gil's vocabulary. The fusion of these elements not only pays homage to the artistic tradition of Henry Matisse but also propels his work into a contemporary realm where the old and the new coalesce seamlessly.
Represented in several public and private collections in Portugal, Spain, France, UK, United States and Mexico, Gil's works invite viewers into a world marked by a dynamic interplay of form and evolution. His works celebrate botanical inspiration, meticulous craftsmanship, and transformative processes, creating a visual language that speaks to the perpetual cycle of creation and recreation.
Kuo Yen Fu
Kuo Yen Fu’s journey from the world of pop music to the canvas exemplifies the boundless possibilities of artistic reinvention. Fu's paintings feature dynamic compositions, translating the competitive spirit of sport and its rhythm into a universe made of lively brushstrokes and bold colour combinations. The early works from his Suitcase series quickly garnered international acclaim, finding home in an exhibition at the Louvre and catapulting Fu into the global spotlight.
As a singer turned painter, Fu reveals a unique ability to capture the hard-to-name and elusive, so typical to music as a medium. His representation of ring fights, group running and other forms of movement translate complex qualities of interpersonal relationships into striking emotions and tangible expressions.
Fu’s depictions of athletes in motion not only showcase technical prowess but also emanate a palpable sense of passion and dedication. The artist's dynamic yet meticulously balanced vision draws inspiration from scenes in classic films and pivotal moments in media history. This mixture of influences creates a rich visual language that transcends traditional boundaries, inviting viewers into a space where art and motion coalesce seamlessly.
Given their distinctive voices and perspectives, Rachel Garrard, Lottie Cole, Oriele Steiner, Nuno Gil, and Kuo Yen Fu position themselves as emerging artists to watch in 2024. Together, they epitomise a diverse, dynamic tapestry, pushing artistic boundaries in the evolving 2024 art scene.