The Art Under $1,000 on Our Curator’s Wish List
My daily work curating collections on Artsy has many parallels with collecting. It’s a continuous journey of expanding my artistic palate by discovering new artists and exploring their distinct practices. The art canon is constantly evolving, giving birth to new trends and genres, from the grotesque to the vibrant compositions of contemporary abstraction. For me, the excitement lies in stumbling upon fresh, captivating artworks.
One of my favorite collections to curate each week is Finds Under $1,000, a selection of unique and editioned works by emerging talents and household names, all priced below the $1,000 mark. Every week, art lovers can unearth hidden gems at a relatively accessible price point that offer a fresh entryway to collecting, or an opportunity to cultivate one’s personal taste.
Collecting art not only allows us to champion artists, but also to elevate the spaces where we live and work with pieces that spark conversation or inspiration. As we approach the holiday season, I’ve curated a new collection of artworks under $1,000 that can make meaningful gifts for those who appreciate the magic of art. Here, I share five of my favorite works from the collection.
Kamohelo Blessing Rooi, Two Figures of Women, 2023
Whilst browsing works on Artsy, this particular piece by South African artist Kamohelo Blessing Rooi caught my eye. Two Figures of Women (2023) depicts two local women against the backdrop of the colorful Sowetan township. The painting is part of a series of portraits that document the vibrant culture of the artist’s beloved hometown. Employing flat brush strokes of acrylic paint, Rooi captures a moment of daily life in his community.
This artwork particularly resonates with me as I’m naturally drawn to artists of color who depict their communities in a positive light. Many of these artists excel in portraying moments of joy and intimacy in their portraits, and this ability adds a compelling dimension to their work. Over the past decade, figurative painting by Black artists has taken center stage, and this piece stands as a true embodiment of the dynamic genre.
Hannah Lim, Fiery Xixi-Fish Snuff Bottle, 2023
This sculpture by rising artist Hannah Lim has been at the top of my wish list for a while. I first saw Lim’s work at her solo exhibition at Huxley-Parlour in London last winter and was instantly drawn to her intricate snuff bottles. Lim’s practice explores her dual British and Singaporean heritage, critically examining the legacies of colonialism, Orientalism, and historical depictions of East Asian culture.
The artist crafts miniature furniture-like sculptures that reimagine the 18th-century chinoiserie trend. Through a blend of playful imagery and personal symbolism, Lim brings her own identity to life. This particular piece incorporates Lim’s signature style, featuring anthropomorphic handles and legs.
Julio Le Parc, Untitled, 1989
I’ve always admired the many ways in which Op Art pioneer Julio Le Parc challenges the boundaries of perspective. This particular work by the Argentine artist caught my attention due to its otherworldly qualities—Le Parc draws you in using light and shadow, creating an almost vacuum-like effect. The piece seems to take inspiration from the interplay of light, cleverly toying with concepts of reflection and refraction.
Le Parc is perhaps better known for his immersive light installations that have earned critical acclaim and gained popularity on platforms like Instagram. Now in his nineties, the artist’s playful works remain equally cherished by older generations as well as the social media–savvy Gen Z. Most notably, this limited-edition pochoir print presents budding collectors with the opportunity to add the work of a leading artist to their arsenal.
Amy Beager, Green Maiden, 2023
What immediately grabs my attention in this work on paper by Amy Beager is the mesmerizing burst of color. Combining acrylic, pastel, and oil, the British artist’s radiant composition engulfs her subject in fluid swathes of green.
Drawing inspiration from classical fairy tales and Greek mythology, Beager’s portrait effortlessly transcends the confines of reality. With a lowered gaze and enigmatic expression, the subject embodies the essence of the artist’s signature celestial figures. I’m particularly moved by Beager’s ability to create a sense of intimacy through her painted subject matter.
This is a truly exciting opportunity to collect a unique work by the emerging artist at a more accessible price point, specifically an artwork that stays true to Beager’s oeuvre.
Trudy Benson, PLONK, HAND-FINISHED, 02, 2022
Abstract art has seen a surge in popularity, with collectors showing an insatiable appetite for the genre. From the emotionally charged canvases of Abstract Expressionists to the recent success of emerging talents, abstract art is undoubtedly having its moment in the spotlight.
This dizzying abstract composition by Trudy Benson is a perfect example of the growing trend, boasting bold geometric patterns under playful lines. I was particularly drawn to the hand-finished print because of its vibrant patterns and energetic, almost frenzied squiggles. Benson employs a colorful visual language, taking inspiration from computer graphics and Roy Lichtenstein’s iconic pop art.
As abstract art continues to evolve, it offers a spectrum of possibilities, from lyrical abstraction to color field painting, making it a dynamic and captivating facet of contemporary art collecting.
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