Sam Gare, Director of the Affordable Art Fair Bristol, picks out ten of the most exciting artists on show at this week's fair.
For an idea that has been up and running for less than 20 years, the Affordable Art Fair has done a great job of embedding itself in the collective consciousness of art lovers on the lookout for new talent.
There are now shows all across the world, but the basic philosophy is unchanged: with a ceiling of £6,000, this is a place to buy a piece that you love rather than one that will be a surefire long-term investment. Of course, you might win on that score as well if you happen to buy a piece from an artist who goes on to bigger and better things.
The latest edition of the fair takes place in Bristol this weekend. We asked Sam Gare, Director of the Affordable Art Fair Bristol, to pick out ten of the most exciting artists on show – and we’ve also got insights from gallery owners and art critic Melissa Scallan.
The Affordable Art Fair Bristol takes place from 8-10 September at Brunel’s Old Station, which adjoins Bristol’s Temple Meads railway station in the city centre – you can buy tickets here.
A former art teacher, Pam Carter is known for her colourful oil paintings depicting the majestic cliffs and fishing villages of Scotland’s rugged coast. The vibrant shades and broad brushstrokes in her work will brighten and energise any space.
Born in London, but now based in Cornwall, Ben takes inspiration from the rugged Penwith landscape which surrounds his studio. His paintings evoke the feelings and emotions conjured up by the full force of the coastal elements and represent some of the best in Cornish art.
“Ben Catt is a key member of a new generation of artists working in Cornwall today. His paintings offer a personal response to the often stark landscape of the west of the county. With broad free-flowing brush strokes he hints at distant hedgerows or exposed moorland carns while his subtle tones and limited palette capture the mood of the elements and the changing seasons.”
Matt Piper, Eleven and a Half
A leading figure on the contemporary Vietnamese art scene, Thanh Chuong is known for his unique lacquer paintings which have helped shape Vietnam’s modern fine art style. We’re really excited to offer visitors the opportunity to pick up distinctive and eye catching works by a giant of Vietnamese art at the upcoming fair.
“Thanh Chuong’s art is fascinating. His paintings never fail to stir the viewer’s thoughts and imagination. His art is unique, and to many “unusual”, with the expert use of colours, lines and shapes in portraying familiar subjects, such as happy family, love, children, and himself in his self-portrait series.”
Angie Hoa Nguyen, Hanoi Art House
One of the more adventurous travellers amongst our artists, Bristol resident Elaine Jones captures the inspiration for her works on her trips to remote and often uninhabited places across the globe.
Whenever I look at one of her pieces, I always find I’m transported to the wild landscapes and climates of the places she’s visited: from Arctic glaciers to Costa Rica’s rain forests.
“Elaine’s stunning oil paintings have a unique quality fed by her passion for painting, her unusual technique and an overwhelming desire to travel to remote and distant places to give her the inspiration she need to create her large and powerful canvases.”
Andrew Hood, First Contemporary
Stuart is one of the exciting up and coming talents from the University of the West of England’s graduating class showing in a dedicated exhibition at the fair.
His oil paintings capture the movement and expression of his subjects in great detail whilst also maintaining an ethereal quality which is really fascinating. We’re really proud to be supporting upcoming talent, and giving our visitors the opportunity to pick up works by promising young artists early in their careers.
A Bristol resident, Hannah is known for the detail and dark humour in her work, which combines surreal with the melancholic. Her works almost always include an element of collage to create playful yet unsettling miniature worlds. Rather than telling the full story, Hannah always encourages viewers to use their imagination to fill in the narrative by creating deliberately ambiguous works.
“The artworks by Hannah Battershell are finely detailed, humorous and, given she has a master’s degree in English Literature, might reference a quotation, a book sentence, a gothic tale or incorporate an historic element, such as a vintage tin, a cut paper silhouette or a forest found in Victorian children’s book illustrations. ‘England’s Glory’ is a small sculptural piece: a vintage matchbox containing a caricature of a whale breaching the surface, exhaling and sending up a plume of water. Playful and interesting, it would be a conversation piece.”
“Hannah is the kind of artist you dream of discovering, her unique and darkly humorous miniature works are packed with wit and eerie appeal, combined with a craftsmanship and attention to detail that really sets her apart.”
Alice Philimore, GX Gallery
Known for her animal sculptures, Dorcas’s work is really distinctive and full of emotions and sensations. Her studio at Jamaica Street is like walking into a dream, full of creatures reanimated from found textiles.
Her works have always proved popular with our visitors and the art world more widely – she was even selected to take part in Banksy’s large scale installation DISMALAND in 2015. We’re really excited to welcome her back this year!
“Dorcas’ unusual pieces draw so much attention and intrigue as to how they are made. She is a rising star in the art world, and the quality of her expressive animal portraits speak for themselves.”
Leah Heming, Bristol Contemporary Art
Counting Charles Saatchi among her collectors, Natasha’s landscape works depict fantastic imaginary spaces which are full of colour and humour. Her work The Invisible Worm, which will be shown at the upcoming fair, plays with proportion and colour to depict what appears to be a modern day fairytale.
“At first glance, the unusual composition, pleasant colour palette and conventional floral images of ‘The Invisible Worm’ by Natasha Kissell converge to convey an appealing and compelling artwork. However, knowing that it was inspired William Blake’s ‘The Sick Rose’ – a poem on love or life destroyed by an invisible night visitor – the artwork takes on an altogether more sinister tone. On closer inspection, the reclining figure appears rigid and unsmiling, the tendons strain in her arched neck, her diminutive stature serving to emphasise her vulnerability. The pale rose is dying – its outer petals are wilting and discolouring; the leaves upon which the figure lays are not rose-like but more similar to those of a cactus, tipped with white spiky claws; and are those eyes of monstrous creatures peering from the shadows? A painting with a dark and thought-provoking subtext.”
“Natasha Kissell’s pieces are beautiful and poetic, a new romanticism with a classical natural aesthetic combined with contemporary architecture or design. She studied painting at the Royal College of art and is a truly skilled painter with an eye for the contemporary. She has a great track record and a great artist to truly enjoy on your wall for years to come and follow her exciting career.”
Julia Alvarez, BEARSPACE
Corine’s paintings combine delicate details with pastel colours to create fragile, yet beautiful scenes and figures. Her works are deliberately soothing and would make a calming and contemplative edition to any room.
“This beautiful and striking artwork by French artist Corine Ko is one of a series of equally lovely large-scale pieces depicting contemplative figures dressed in ballgowns, positioned against pale abstract backgrounds. Under Ko’s skilful hand, the colourful painted skirts have intensity and depth: full, layered and flowing, the material drips away into the earth. The figures do not gaze back at us but are bound up in their own thoughts; the subject of ‘The Incantation’ appears to long for the robin to carry her or her dreams elsewhere. Invariably, the figures are presented outdoors, in landscapes of interesting and varied textures and materials. The subject and content of these works by Ko would provide long-term fascination and enjoyment.”
“Corine paints with very diluted acrylic and ink, using various materials to create her identifiable style, all contributing to the timeless and sometimes accidental journey. The material never seems under control, nor locked in a definitive form. Her paintings suggest a subtle invitation to share what makes us human. By creating places of meditation and contemplation, the viewer is invited to walk, rest and dream as the cathartic experience soothes and nourishes.”
Eleanor Wardle, Paragon Gallery
Originally from India, and now based in Bristol, Chitra has shown at the Bristol fair since 2011. Her prints depict buildings and landscapes which take inspiration from ancient Indian historical sites and artistic traditions and are brilliantly bright additions to this year’s fair.
“Chitra produces stunning silkscreen prints of both depth and intricacy. The vibrant colours she uses reflect her Indian heritage and make the pieces real showstoppers! Chitra has a unique talent as a printmaker and is one to watch, having already had work exhibited at the RA on more than one occasion.”
Susie Michelson, Hidden Gallery
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