James Elwes, Creative Director of ELX Art, picks six of the best pieces at Battersea this week.
With work by over 1,100 artists, spanning from oil to neon lights and with prices starting at as little as £100, the Affordable Art Fair provides a glut of choice for the discerning aesthete. The fair takes place three times a year in the UK and, this spring, you’ll find it in Battersea Park, London SW11 (March 12–15).
1. Clare Halifax, Bridging the Thames
I’m a sucker for good illustration and Clare Halifax’s work fits the bill. Bridging the Thames presents the bundle of tracks, routes and roads that make up the London Bridge area and, beyond, the City in congested splendour. This picture puts the commute in perspective—the hurly burly of rat racing and pigeons at play is viewed dispassionately from the safety of the clouds.
Price: £750 (unframed)
2. Keaton Henson, Flora
Musician-cum-artist Keaton Henson’s melancholic crockery provides a contrast to the majority of work on show at the fair. Flora is a silk-screened plate, a little reminiscent of David Shrigley’s recent work at Sketch. While Henson’s work is somewhat more sombre in tone, I enjoy the idea of mock Spode being used as a means to convey misanthropy.
3. Jonathan Purday, Jungle Fever
Jonathan Purday’s contemporary landscapes are a delight. His work hails from a multitude of sources – domestic and local scenes, holiday photos, found journalistic images and dreams. Memory, personal or recorded is crucial to his work – the dreamy quality of Jungle Fever feels like replica the mind’s airbrush.
4. Susan Kirkman, Landscape
Susan Kirman’s Landscape is an invention, but was inspired by the beaches of Devon. Predominantly collage, with touches of acrylic paint, this piece reminds me somewhat of John Piper’s landscape paintings. The rather sumptuous, wavy central section was in fact found in the centre pages of The Guardian newspaper—it is a photograph of rice fields.
5. Iva Troj, Red Lake
‘Growing up in Eastern Europe was a blessing in disguise,’ says Iva Troj. Schooled in Soviet-endorsed strict Classicism, Troj her retained his educational principals, but subverts them, adding more contemporary-feeling surrealist imagery to his work. Red Lake was made using traditional techniques and is painstakingly detailed. I’d like to hang it alongside a Old Master or two and tally how many people twig!
6. Chris Wilson, Shorelines III
While its scale does not tally with his trademark work in bronze, Shorelines III exemplifies Chris Wilson’s practice. This consideration of coastline—the interplay of sea and land, where geology, geography and Nature combine—is central to his work. Wilson does not think of himself as primarily a sculptor or painter, as such, this multi-perspectival piece makes for a good investment.
James Elwes is Creative Director of ELX Art, a consultancy that works with private and commercial patrons and visual artists to develop bespoke commissions, events and art sponsorship opportunities. To learn more, visit the ELX website (elx-art.com). To discuss the a potential commission, contact James on firstname.lastname@example.org
Country Life rounds up the best things to see, do and book this week.
Living and working in London during the week? We reveal 10 activities to keep you entertained after hours.