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Spencer Lewis, the artist who keeps abstraction real by painting on rough jute

2 min read  ·  05 Jun 2023

Spencer Lewis, Untitled (2022). Copyright The Artist, Courtesy Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder

Spencer Lewis, Untitled (2022). Copyright The Artist, Courtesy Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder

Spencer Lewis is on the HENI News radar. The abstract painter’s star is rising internationally with solo shows in New York, London, Hong Kong and Vienna plus a high-profile fan back home in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles-based artist’s HEN Score—a unique artist sentiment—has surged by 184% as collectors in the US, Europe and Asia snap up his gestural paintings on unprimed jute, a rough and unconventional material he prefers to traditional canvas.

Lewis’s paintings are relatively untested at auction but in the past six months sales have totaled $320,000. In May 2023, a 2019 untitled painting sold for $113,400 at Christie’s for above its high estimate and his painting Little Figure (2013) sold for $76,200 at Phillips, its estimate.

Lewis, who was born in 1979, works with several galleries internationally. Over the past two years he has had an impressive number of solo gallery shows organized by: Vito Schnabel and Harper’s in New York; Josh Lilley in London; Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder in Vienna; Woaw Gallery, Hong Kong, and in Massimo de Carlo’s Hong Kong space.

His dealers have shown his work at major art fairs, including the Armory Show and Art Basel.

Lewis's works have been offered for between $50,000 and $80,000 over the past two years on the primary market.

The artist's colorful, dynamic and gestural abstract paintings have been described as muscular. So is his approach to creating them. He is known to drag his jute paintings on the ground, throws rocks at their surfaces, embracing any wear and tear. He has also worked with cardboard and rough-hewn wood to make more sculptural pieces. The artist told Hyperallergic that he aims to “anthropomorphize abstraction”.

The US comedian and collector Kevin Hart is a fan of the artist’s physical approach to painting. After a recent studio visit by Hart, Lewis hinted on Instagram: “He’s got real vision and a great collection. Happy to be a part…”

To get a deeper understanding of Spencer Lewis's career visit his HENI Dashboard ; a unique graphical data tool illustrating an artist’s auction sales, shows, profiles, mentions and their HENI Score. You can search for any one of the 100,000 Artist Dashboards to quickly appreciate their trajectory as well as sharing via email, text and WhatsApp.