Create! Magazine is excited to share the announcement of Go Figure!, a group exhibition at Daniel Raphael Gallery, which will run from July 21 - August 3. Marking longtime collector Brad Keats' curatorial debut, this survey of contemporary figurative art will feature the work of Natalia Arbelaez, Simon Butler, Peter Frederiksen, Erin Milez, Hannah Murray, Aysha Nagieva, Conor Nial Rogers, Wilba Simson, Ivana Štulić, Anne von Freyburg, and Caroline Wong.

Aysha Nagieva contemporary painting
Aysha Nagieva, 'The Bee Profile', 2022, Oil and acrylic paint on canvas, 85 x 60 cm

Go Figure! showcases 11 international artists who are redefining and reinventing the figurative through the exploration of their culture heritage, past memories and pressing societal issues. 

Similarities are drawn across the works of Arbelaez, Nagieva and Wong as each of these talents use a contemporary lens to pay homage their cultural roots. Wong’s Caroline, Katharine, and Alisa, (2022) is a signature example of the artist’s wildly colourful and classically-inspired portraits that embrace a refreshing dialogue around East Asian women. In the same way that her female gaze subverts ideals, Arbelaez introduces sentiments of pre-Columbian peoples of South America whilst ratifying the 21st century identity of what it is like to be a Mestizo, Colombian, American. A sculptural storyteller, her ceramic works simultaneously manage to preserve tradition by shedding light on forgotten peoples. What is visible amongst these artists, is a sybaritic desire for fun as seen in Nagieva’s personified Nevalyashka dolls, vehicles to portray her feelings the moment the brush meets the canvas. 

Butler, Frederiksen and Rogers present the figurative for its communicative strength, highlighting powerful societal challenges through the use of minute details. This juxtaposition of using the small to depict the large is all the more relevant when focusing on the individual and the importance of being heard. Unlike Butler’s work that relays a stark message of civil unrest, Frederiksen’s embroidered cartoon narratives are initially childish in their aesthetic. Yet, as one analyses their significance, it is clear that behind the artist’s playful pastel threads lies a darker view of life, one that balances between a fine line of danger, life and death. Portraying the figurative through textiles can come in many other forms as with Anne von Freyburg’s Trickster (After Fragonard, the Toilet of Venus) (2022) whereby hand-stitched fabrics are layered on top of acrylic ink underlay paintings. The absolute over-indulgence in these works references the excesses of throwaway fashion, selfies and consumerism that has so wildly engrossed the developed world with a constant presence. 

In direct contrast, the likes of Murray, Štulić and Simson have concentrated on the absence of the figurative or the absence of others. Murray’s Pink Island (2022) is highly alluring as the subject’s silky dress and ruby red enamel nails pierce the viewer’s gaze. Her cropped body forces a wave of anonymity also seen in Štulić’s highly atmospheric painting of an unmade bed. In the same vein of absent figures, Simson’s gesturally abstracted works employ the medium of charcoal as a means to record human experiences and memories of space. Milez on the other hand repeatedly makes reference to our everyday lives and couples in relationships that perform mundane tasks in a theatrical manner. The message for the viewer is that couples can build the foundations of intimacy, trust and companionship in even the most unassuming moments such as doing the laundry. 

The show will boast 30 artworks, ranging from mediums of painting and textile to sculptural pieces. 'Go Figure!' opens from 21 July - 03 August 2022 in a new satellite location based in the heart of Shoreditch, U.K. 

Hannah Murray painting
Hannah Murray, 'Pink Island', Oil on linen, 40 x 30 cm
Go Figure! Daniel Raphael Gallery
Caroline Wong painting
Caroline Wong, 'veronica'

About the curator:

Having been a collector for over 15 years and working within contemporary creative projects and advisory for the past 5, Brad Keats has a huge passion for traveling and finding the best in emerging artists. The exhibition Go Figure! marks Keats’ curatorial debut featuring artists that he has personally collected over time and developed meaningful relationships with. “Bringing them all together in London alongside - who I believe to be one of the best young emerging gallerists I have ever dealt with – is a huge privilege.” 

About each artist:

Natalia Arbelaez is a Colombian American artist, born and raised in Miami, Florida. She received her B.F.A. from Florida International University and her M.F.A. from The Ohio State University, with an Enrichment Fellowship. In 2016-2017 she was a Rittenberg Fellow at Clay Art Center; Port Chester, New York and was awarded the Inaugural Artaxis Fellowship. Her work has been exhibited internationally, recognized by NCECA as a 2018 Emerging Artist and was a 2018-19 resident artist at the Ceramics Program at Harvard University where she researched pre-Columbian art and histories. Arbelaez was an artist in residence at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City where she researched the work of historical and influential women ceramicists of color and continues this research as a Visiting Artist at AMOCA in Pomona, CA. 

Simon Butler (b.1989) is an artist and social entrepreneur who lives and works in London. His detailed drawings and mixed media works explore the widespread civil unrest that has taken hold of the world in recent years. After viewing a list of the number of protests and uprisings that took place in a single year, Butler began to explore what it is about the world's current political and social climate that has led to such significant unrest. Driven by his work with Migrate Art, a charity he founded in 2016, Butler began to focus his work on people and the human form. He was most recently selected to take part in the RA’s annual Summer Exhibition (2021). 

Peter Frederiksen (b. 1987) lives and works in Chicago. He attended the School of Art Institute of Chicago, focusing studies on painting, drawing, and fibers. His work has been exhibited most recently in London, Milan, Berlin, and Dallas, and can be found in numerous private collections. This will be the third time that Frederiksen exhibits with Daniel Raphael Gallery. 

Erin Milez (b. 1994) grew up in Chicago and has split her adult years between Seattle and the New York City area. She earned her BA in Studio Art from Seattle Pacific University and her MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2021; she is a recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Grant and featured in Art Maze Mag Issue 26. She currently lives and works in Bayonne, NJ with her husband and daughter. 

Hanna Murray (b. 1994) is an award-winning contemporary figurative painter and art teacher from London, currently based in New York City. She graduated in 2022 with an MFA in Painting from the New York Academy of Art as well as being a CHUBB Fellow. Murray is a member of the Contemporary British Portrait Painters. 

Aysha Nagieva (b. 1999) is a painter who is currently living and working in London. She graduated from City & Guilds of London Art School with a First-Class BA in Fine Art in 2021. Nagieva’s childhood was spent in Moscow, which influenced her to employ a Nevalyashka doll motif as a means to explore self-portraiture and delve into the recollections of her past. She uses the image of the doll she had as a child in order to better conceptualize and understand her creative practice as well as herself. She has taken part in Four You Gallery’s online group show ‘In the Eye of the Beholder’ in December of 2021 and had an online solo show, ‘A Birthday Party’, with the same gallery in May of 2022. 

Conor Rogers (b. 1992) is an award-winning Sheffield-based artist and graduate of Sheffield Hallam University. He was shortlisted for the John Moores painting prize 2014 and was selected to exhibit in the Bloomberg New Contemporaries, 2015. In 2019, Rogers was named the 1st Prize winner of the Robert Walters Group UK New Artist of the Year Award held at the Saatchi Gallery, London. In 2021, he showed work with Guts Gallery, London and exhibited his debut solo show Manor Boy at Yorkshire Artspace, Sheffield as part of the Freeland's Foundation residency program Platform 20. He is currently taking part in a group exhibition EN-GER-LAND at OOF Gallery London and has been commissioned as a collaborative artist for the National Potrait Galleries Creative Connections Programme. 

Wilba Simson (b. 1990) hailing from Melbourne, Australia, he comes to his practice in visual art from a background in Graphic Design. He came to the New York Academy of Art as a painter and draftsman, first for an undergraduate residency, and then completed his MFA in May 2021. A distinguished panel of contemporary artists selected Simson for the CHUBB fellowship as one of three from among his peers and through this fellowship he was shown at Art Basel Miami. Simson believes that we mythologise our memories - that we don't remember the way things as they happened, but rather how we want to remember them. 

Ivana Štulić (b. 1991) is a New York City based Croatian artist. She received a BA (2017) and MA (2018) from the Academy of Fine Art in Zagreb - Croatia and MFA (2020) in Painting at the New York Academy of Art. During her studies, she was awarded the Kylemore Abbey Global Center Residency, LCU Fund for Women's Education Grant Award, New York Academy of Art Scholar Award and Appreciation of the Academy Council from Croatian University. A three-time Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant and two-time Frankopan Fond Award recipient, Štulić has participated in group shows in Croatia, Poland, Italy, Ireland, Brazil, UK and New York. Her work resides in private collections in New York and Europe. 

Anne von Freyburg (b. 1979) is a Dutch artist based in London. She received her MFA from Goldsmiths (2016) and holds a BA in Fashion Design from ArtEZ Arnhem, The Netherlands. She has been selected for the Tapestry Triennial at the Central Textile Museum in Lodz, Poland (2022) and will be presented by one of the most prominent international Textile Museums worldwide. Von Freyburg is the winner of Robert Walters UK New Artists Award (2021) and exhibited at Saatchi Gallery, London. She was nominated for The Ingram Prize (2021) and took part in the PLOP x Cob. Winter Residency followed by an exhibition in November (2021). Von Freyburg’s work is in several private collections all over the world. The large-scale textile paintings are reconstructed Rococo paintings made out of a mixture of tapestry and contemporary fashion fabrics. The imagery focuses on a stylised idea around feminine beauty as found in the tradition of Boucher and Fragonard. 

Caroline Wong (b. 1986, Malaysia) graduated with an MA in Fine Art from City and Guilds of London Art School (2021) and a Diploma in Contemporary Portraiture from The Art Academy (2018). She lives and works in London. Awards include the Drawing Room Biennial Bursary Award (2021), The Society of Women Artists Derwent Art Prize (2018); and the Liberty Specialty Markets Art Prize (2018). Caroline Wong’s work responds to traditional, restricted representations of East Asian women. For Wong, subverting these ideals is the essence of her practice. 

For more information, please visit or contact Daniel Raphael Gallery


Alicia Puig has been a contributing writer for Create! Magazine since 2017. Find more of her work: