On the 9th-12th of September, Brunel’s Old Station in Bristol housed 50 UK art galleries for the annual Affordable Art Fair. Each gallery showcased a range of diverse contemporary art work, all priced between £50-£5,000.
Straight from work on the Friday night, Amelia and I went along to the trade preview to see if we could find any exciting new pieces to add to our repertoire. Although marketed as ‘affordable’ art, the average price of the artwork still came to around £2,000, so alas, no purchases were made! The quality of the work on offer was outstanding, and I certainly gained a number of new artist obsessions from the event, some of whom I will do a separate, longer post on at some point.
Here’s my pick of the lot:
Shown at the Woodbine Contemporary Arts stand, Ceri Auckland-Davies paints incredible seascapes which seem to emit a soft glow. The luminosity in his work is achieved by the semi-transparent nature of egg-tempera, a technique which he has truly mastered. The result of mixing egg yolk and paint pigment is a highly dimensional and luminous colour, which is infused with depth of light and movement.
His paintings are mostly of coastal scenes in West Wales, where Ceri Auckland-Davies currently lives and works.
Due to the photo-realistic, heavily detailed nature of his paintings, he only manages to complete a number each year. I was instantly drawn in by the luminosity and vibrancy of the blues in his paintings, and would loved to have taken the one on display home with me!
Influenced from a very young age by her father, an impressionist painter, Linda Sharman’s paintings comprise layered acrylic paint which has been bled, blended and dragged along a wooden panelled canvas.
Her paintings are heavily textured, and she gives the compositions such beautiful movement. The painting displayed at the event by the Cank Street Gallery was of Christmas time in NYC (sadly,I cannot find an image of the exact piece).
A clear fan of architecture and dilapidated buildings, Pete Monaghan is another artist with a preference for a wood panel base. He has a background in mechanical engineering, which is clearly evident from the technical drawing and detail in his work. Straight lines, precision spacing and depth perception.
Pete Monaghan uses acrylics mixed with pastels and spray paint to create collages, and leaves sections of his drawings exposed before layering on top of the base sketch. The above painting is a frenzy of different mediums and techniques. The bold, poker straight lines which continue on from the main structure are so architectural and you can see the collaged corrugated cardboard underneath the painting, adding an interesting texture.
Part of a OS map is visible in this piece. The paint has been dragged and bled.
On display at the Hadfield Fine Art gallery stand, Janet James’s semi-abstract land and seascapes are a complex juxtaposition of textures and paint application techniques, which instantly grabbed my attention amongst the other artists. Fragmented and blurred lines give you a hint of the scenic composition, but the main attraction in her work is her use of colours. Janet seems to select only a few main colours per painting, but manages to mix and apply the paint in such a way to create drama and energy.
‘Slad Valley – Morning Mist’
A series of paintings of fragmented ice and misty scenes across a canal in winter, in textured cold, earthy colour palettes.
‘Evening Sun’- Acrylic paint on paper. The crest of the wave is emphasised by a base texture applied to the paper before painting, possibly scrim or scrunched up paper.
‘Across the Canal’ triptych.
One of the best Bristol artists I’ve come across, Tom White’s latest series of paintings have managed to find beauty in some of the less iconic, but equally fascinating parts of contemporary Bristol. His paintings are large scale and fully transport you into the scene. Tom White seems to re-visit certain places throughout the year in order to capture the seasonal differences. He’s painted scenes from all over the city, and work is widely collected.
Stokes Croft titled ‘Early Spring’.
The steps leading off of Vauxhall bridge, from Coronation Rd to Cumberland Rd.
This looks like a road just off from North Street in Bedminster. An alternative angle to view the iconic suspension bridge and Avon Gorge hotel.
Although this particular painting is of a door in Venice, I had to include it in this line up purely due to the stunning detail and accuracy Tom White’s produced. You can almost feel the roughness of the rusty hinge and the peeling paint.
Although not quite as ‘affordable’ as I’d hoped, the art fair showcases a fantastically diverse selection of artists displayed in over 50 UK galleries. I highly recommend going to the next, larger event at Battersea Park London, from the 20th-23rd of October.