Transformer Auction: ArtSee Picks

As we started with (e)merge, the ArtSee team has decided to pick our favorites from the lineup for the 10th Annual Transformer Auction & Benefit Party.  For the last decade, Transformer has been hosting their annual fundraiser at the Corcoran to include an array of the best of the best in DC's art scene. The organization puts on the event every year to provide the necessary funding for a year of programming and exhibitions. In its' 10th year, the auction will include 200 original pieces by local artists and those from Colombia, in honor of the Auction Diplomatic Chair, Carlos Urrutia, The Ambassador of Columbia. The event is a one-of-a-kind chance to interact with local artists, collectors and other arts enthusiasts, like us! 

Read on for our favorite picks... 

Elizabeth Grazioli, ArSee Founder and Creative Operations Director

Rachel Farbiarz, Study (with rockers)
Starting Bid: ???

As not only an ArtSee favorite, but one of my personal favorite artists, it was easy to select Farbiarz's work as my pick for this years' auction. Her piece, Study (with rockers) is a drawing of perhaps the beginning thoughts of one of her sculptural pieces that was recently featured in Heiner Contemporary's Take Me With You. Farbiarz has focused much of her recent work on displacement and migration of people and cultures, but this piece perhaps simplifies those thoughts to a collection of chairs. Although being auctioned off on Friday, the piece was part of her show at Heiner and when I saw it, I was immediately drawn to it. The way in which Farbiarz can use drawing to transformer her work is so unique. I am sure, even without a starting bid, that it will be a big winner of the night! 

Shira Karsen, ArtSee Creative Assistant

Joshua Johnson, Bractea
Starting Bid: $350

One of my favorite pieces in this year's auction is Joshua Johnson's Bractea, a hand-sewn, hand-painted and hand-worn mash-up of multiple centuries worth of armor details. Johnson's inspiration is "historical flatness," the idea of taking the romanticized ideals, fashions, stories and legends from different centuries, and incorrectly flattening them into a more specific time period. This piece, having seen it in person during its many stages, was worked and reworked to ensure that everything, down to the fake gold leaf, was done with purpose. Bractea is also a living work. As it ages, specks of the leaf will fall off the fabric, eventually cracking the superficial surface and creating a forced "vintage" look. 

Naomi Minkoff, ArtSee Creative Intern

Brooke Bronner, Project Life – Ft. Green
Starting Bid: $900

I enjoy Bronner's works because they take an interesting perspective on urban life. Though she has experienced three different cities—born in Brooklyn, raised in Asia, and now living in DC—there is a sameness in the way Bronner depicts the cities while still visually depicting the small details which make each one recognizably distinct. She uses a zoomed out perspective of cityscapes to emphasize their blocky and repetitive natures. Still, somehow these landscapes appear to be very personal as each building and each floor is different from one another. The viewer is drawn in to ponder life in these cities and the people who, like the artist, live in this geometric maze.

Roxanne Goldberg, ArtSee Creative Writer

Mei Mei Chang, Untitled 1
Starting Bid: $290

Mei Mei Chang has had a fantastic year. Most recently exhibited in Brooklyn, Dallas, and Berlin, in addition to a number of galleries in the DC-area, the artist’s complex and multilayered works offer opportunities for viewers to glimpse into the artist’s mind. At auction, Chang’s 2012 Untitled 1 is a small-scale mixed-media work on handmade paper. The object’s size entices the viewer to approach the work, and thus to confront his perception with that of Chiang. Seen at close proximity, one identifies muted grey houses overcome by yellow, blue and white geometries that together, reference an Asian screen, intended to shield oneself in modesty. This play on peeking is complemented by a bridge coming from an anonymous source. It’s as if we are invited, given permission to surpass the barrier. Given Chiang’s alluring subject matter and her upcoming solo show at The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Arts Center in Silver Spring, Untitled 1, previously exhibited at (e)merge art fair and the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh, NC is an excellent buy for both its aesthetic qualities and market investment.  

Mica Hartman, ArtSee Creative Writer

Breck Brunson, HA! and YEA!
Starting Bid: $50

Corcoran College of Art + Design alum, Breck Brunson has two works featured in the Transformer auction. HA! and YEA! are book paper collages with used frames. Brunson’s use of these aged materials creates a vintage-inspired quality. The images contain soft, muted colors to enhance this timeless look. Brunson’s use of very delicate napkin cutouts, overlaid atop the faces of his now anonymous subjects is very intriguing and is a continuation of this antiquated, lost but preserved in time feeling evoked in HA! and YEA! The retail value is “Priceless!” while the starting bid is $50. This is interesting commentary within the construct of the trash-to-treasure nature of thrift goods. It will be very interesting to see how much these works are auctioned for, adding yet another layer to the “history” of these unique pieces.

For more information on the Transformer 10th Annual Auction, visit the website here. And for a complete list of artists, click here

Bringing the Art in DC to You, 
The ArtSee Team