Exposed; London Art Fair

By Jo Phillips

Among the endless rows of artwork, multi-layered pigments and textural compositions, styles, and scales collide, an amalgamation of global aesthetics from East to West, North to South, slowly emerge. After all, London is considered to be the multi-cultural centre of the world and is reflected through the eyes of artists at the London Art Fair. Going 30-years strong, the London Art Fair still keeps people on their toes.

Here are a few artists among many who are worth noting this year:

Stepping into Rebecca Hossack’s booth, the first piece that caught our attention was Phil Shaw’s The truth in black and white with some grey areas 3, 2014. Rows of book spines in every possible shade of grey filled the image, a resonating visual about the nature of truth. Taking a step closer, it represented a selection of book titles that dealt with the topic. Unexpected titles, such as The Truth About Penguins, are juxtaposed with more serious ones, such as Hegel and the Absolute Truth. Although all titles were authentic, the physicality of the book wasn’t. With a touch of “serious joke”, intensive research, and digital manipulation, Phil Shaw explained to us that this piece is just one of a hundred he made in a world where visual and textual elements came to play to make the viewer look (and even think) twice.

EXPOSED-The-Truth-in-Black-&-white-with-some-gray-areas-part-3-(detail)Fragment of The truth in black and white with some grey areas, 2014, archival print, 89 x113cm.

To find out more about Rebecca Hossack, click here.

To find out more about Phil Shaw, click here.

A few steps away stood La Lanta where some of Eri Imamura’s work was exhibited. In the Nippon Phenomenon series, the creative explores the disconnection the country has developed whilst coping with the disastrous aftermath of the 2011 earthquake-tsunami that lead to the nuclear explosion in Fukushima. Despite the international headline-making horror and trauma, the people have superficially reverted to their daily lives. Behind the manga-style and kimono design processes, brightly-coloured bead embroidery, and graphic abundance on a crouched back, the consciousness of the artist comes to life as a superhero who tackles the radiation threat head-on, hence the ever present radiation symbol. Each piece puts a focus on different reactions of the public through commercialised imagery.

EXPOSED-Delusion&Illusion(Left to right) Illusion, seed beads, cut beads, 24k gold beads, antique Japanese Kimono textiles, wood, stuffing, 48 x 70x 8cm. Delusion, seed beads, cut beads, 24k gold beads, antique Japanese Kimono textiles, wood, stuffing, 38 x 65 x 8cm.

To find our more about La Lanta, click here.

To find out more about Eri Imamura, click here.

At Portal Painters‘ station, Lizzie Riches’ late ’60s style and Heather Nevay’s surrealist folklore-inspired scenes made our heads turn. As Lizzie was standing on a stool against a large painting, going through some finishing touches, we couldn’t help but notice her precise yet gentle brushstrokes. With a love for science and art, Lizzie’s penchant for well-executed botanical drawings only seems natural, as Lizzie recalls: “naming things is the first step to understanding things; drawing is the next step to understanding how things work”.  The composition of an Elizabethan painting may look restrained, bordering on monolithic, but the essence of the story lies in the details; for instance, the dress can tell a person’s status, education, wealth, personality, and political views. This process is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also enables a story to be encapsulated within a bigger one. In The Mermaid’s Child, Lizzie depicts an extensive repertoire of fauna and flora form the ocean. The character is even wearing a crown made out of pearls and algae. In her ‘anomalies’ series, Lizzie envisions a universe of “what if …” possibilities, such as “what if little boys had had access to paper in the sixteenth century? Would they have invented paper aeroplanes?” In the case of A Private Audience, this concept takes shape in an anachronistic piece of a sixteenth century lady listening to music through her earphones.

EXPOSED-LondonArtFair-Lizzie(Left to right) The Mermaid’s Child, oil on canvas, 138 x 91 cm. A Private Audience, oil on canvas, 30 x 23 cm.

To find out more about Portal Painters, click here.


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