Subtle. And effective. The Affordable Art Fair Hampstead 2012 is a treat to one's eyes. Beautifully curated. It flows through the aisles like a brook. Smaller than its Battersea sister and much more manageable. It feels you can see it in one go and discover exceptional artists. As Will Ramsay, the Fair founder, says: "Collecting art is a lot easier than you might think. Contrary to what a lot of people think, you don't have to be an art expert or a squillionaire to take part."
Kindly reproduced with the permission by Quantum Contemporary Art and the artist: Alison Pullen. Exhibited at the Affordable Art Fair Hampstead 2012.
As always, I have done my own selection of five artists that seem to represent the best in Visual Art exhibited at the Fair. Starting by Alison Pullen. Her work, which is reproduced in the article, transports us to interiors and homes with a highly skilled soft cubism. Alison uses magazine pages as a background playing with what you see and what you do not in a very original way. After completing a commission for HM Queen Elizabeth II of the Throne Room in Buckingham Palace, she went on to become 'Artist in Residence' at the National Trust's Osterley Park House. Having graduated from the Royal College of Art, one can expect nothing less that a superbly crafted painting. She is represented by Quantum Contemporary Art.
Jack Frame, represented by the Cube Gallery, in his Pink Blossom Series, combines trees with a golden leaves background. Summer and Autumn in one work. It works. And it is exquisitely beautiful. Jack was born in Kent and moved to Glasgow in 2007, where he graduated from the city's school of Art with a sell out degree show. Describing himself as a magpie in his approach to his art, Frame is also a romantic in the way he engages his artistic sensibility - always striving to strip away the heaviness of a scene, be it a landscape or figurative painting. Thus in this series of works, the trees stand alone, often with gold leaf as the backdrop to the studies.
A much younger artist, Rachael Rebus from the Lime Tree Gallery, is by far one of the most exciting artists now. Rachael graduated from the highly thought of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee. The Water Deepened Sharply opens up a world of experiences, a guided tour, a very subtle painting that tell us a story, a never ending narrative. She says: "My paintings are reminiscent of liminoid spaces occupying the thresholds of each change in the cyclical process. These thoughts are integral to my understanding during the process of painting, responding firstly to the medium itself".
Photography is also present in the Fair and Ben Gold is a fine example. He is a talented, technically skilled photographer who works on both personal and commercial projects. Ben graduated from the Brighton University in 2002. His images combine narrative depth with a keen eye for striking composition. Although you know it is a real photograph, there is always a surreal element that makes it challenging to the preconceptions of photography as a medium for archival purposes. His series of Festival Nights are particularly haunting. "I don't think I try to engage, it's more that things engage me. My work is all around my life and my experiences, what I encounter on a day to day basis", he claims.
Finally, Emma Levine's installations at the Store Street Gallery's space stood out as poetic beauty. Delicate intricate layers of shapes made in paper allowed us to enter a fragile and quiet world. As she says: "It's a silent language usually revealing itself beyond completion".
As with previous fairs, all art is priced between £40 and £4,000. However, art enthusiasts shopping on a more modest budget this season will find a new focus on art under £500. Artwork priced under £500 will be made easy to spot at both fairs, there will be specially crafted 'Really, Really Affordable Art' tours at the Battersea event helping visitors unearth an affordable gem and Hampstead will host a special 'Art Under £500' showcase at the entrance.
Thursday 1 - Sunday 4 November 2012
Opening hours: 11.00am - 6.00pm (Late View Thursday 1, 5.30-9.30pm)
Ticket prices: £10 - £25 (concessions £8 - £13)
Visit www.affordableartfair.co.uk for more information.
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