London Art Fair returned from 20-24 April 2022, highlighting a selection of the best galleries from the UK and beyond. The Fair featured work by some of the world’s most renowned artists working across a variety of media, including Henry Moore, David Hockney, Bridget Riley and Paula Rego.
London Art Fair’s specialism in Modern art continues to be strongly represented through the participation of some of the UK’s leading galleries in the field. Thomas Spencer Fine Art presented a selection of Modern British works on paper, including a previously unseen work by John Nash RA and a large 1970s gouache by Mary Fedden. Gilden’s Fine Art Gallery showcased a selection of works by American and European Modern Masters, including etchings by Joan Miró and linocut prints by Pablo Picasso. Christopher Kingzett Fine Art focused on British art of the 50’s and 60’s and exhibited a pencil drawing by Elizabeth Frink that features two of the artist’s favourite motifs, The Running Man and a Baboon, combined to make a narrative. Meanwhile, Waterhouse & Dodd’s display was focused on the work of David Bomberg and his students, such as Dennis Creffield and Dorothy Mead. Mead’s recently re-discovered oil paintings, which have not been shown publicly for over 40 years, were display alongside previously unseen works by Martyn Brewster.
Here’s a guided tour through the fair.
Moore and Ayrton were life-long friends who pursued an on-going rivalry at Table-Tennis; a competition which according to Ayrton’s biographer Justine Hopkins ‘’Moore usually won’’ (Justine Hopkins Michael Ayrton 1994 p.331). Moore had a house in Forte de Marmi and in 1966 the two artists were collaborating on a commission from Thames and Hudson for a book on Giovanni Pisano. Ayrton affectionately referred to Moore as ‘Old Henry’ and acknowledged the contribution he made to his development as a sculptor.
This painting is another version of the same title No. 206 in the catalogue raisonne compiled by John Gledhill and it is of similar size and slightly more freely painted. Smith often painted versions of the same subject, sometimes at the same sitting, this was painted at a time when Smith was consumed with painting nudes, and he was a great admirer of Rubens’ work along with many of the old masters.
John Monks’ archetypal subject matter revolves around architectural spaces. He fragments the traditional tropes of form and reconstructs them through rays of light that fracture in his interiors. Monks’ paintings encompass the binaries of past and present, light and dark, decadence and dilapidation. The paintings become portraits of abandoned rooms filled with whispers of the past. Sharing his time between his London studio and his studio in France – both formerly abandoned and steeped in history – John Monks continues to embark on paintings of monumental interiors.
“Still life is at the centre of my practice. I create sets in my studio which I observe over extended periods of time, scrutinising abstract patterns and colour relationships. In response, I make, revise, disrupt, and remake repeatedly, accumulating and obliterating, in a search of a tension, order and structural integrity across the picture plane, that satisfies my intentions. I am particularly interested in perception, the grand illusion created by our brain, and resulting issues surrounding representation and visual language in painting.”
Sarah Gillespie makes mezzotint prints, an old, slow and painstaking method that produces unique velvet blacks and soft tones. Her work encourages us to refocus our gaze toward the everyday and the overlooked; moths, blackbirds and winter-suns. Sarah’s series of moth prints comment critically on the 50% loss of Britain’s wild diversity since WWII. She says, “It is not too late though, the beauty, the intricacy and entangled lives of moths are there for all to see, and love with, if we will but open out eyes.”
By using the aesthetic and provenance of classical fine art methods and materials, such as Carrara marble, while referencing contemporary, ubiquitous and throwaway objects, Chris Mitton establishes a counterpoint and in so doing raises universal questions surrounding the subjective nature of value, both aesthetically and conceptually, whilst also addressing the impact socially of the original object through the time and skill invested in the creation of the artwork.
Jon Schueler’s intense focus on the sky began as a boy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he was born in 1916. This fascination deepened during his time in active service and ultimately led him to the Highlands of Scotland where he discovered the perfect landscape to inspire his pursuit of the Sublime. His skyscapes exist on the border between figuration and abstraction, being at once wholly recognisable as the skies above the Sound of Sleat, yet at the same time expressing an emotional and psychological gravity. This careful balance gave him a unique position within the Abstract Expressionist milieu with which he was so closely associated.
Ian Davenport’s paintings are made by pouring and dripping household paint on to prepared canvases, boards and aluminium panels, tilted so that gravity and the consistency of the paint determine the final composition. He usually works on medium density fibreboard rather than canvas, and most often employs household gloss paint, meaning the viewer can see their own reflection in the work.
This original etching and aquatint in colours is hand signed in pencil by the artist “Francis Bacon” at the lower right margin.
A wonderful early charcoal drawing by Frank Auerbach, extended to the left facing margin by an additional length of paper to aid composition. Retained by the artist until donated to the 1987 Sotheby’s Help the Hospices sale, an auction including works by Lucian Freud, Ivon Hitchens, Keith Vaughan, Leon Kossoff Elizabeth Frink and John Hoyland, amongst many others. Catalogued by Sotheby’s as 1961 in error. Subsequently confirmed by the artist as a work from October 1951, as signed and dated.
London Art Fair | April 20th – 24th.
Images are courtesy of London Art Fair.