You may have seen the advertising posters for the Affordable Art Fair Battersea Autumn 2014 whilst on the underground, in a magazine or even on a bill-board around London over the last month or so – and if you have you’ll already be familiar with the work of Maria Rivans.
Whether you know her, or not, the brilliant Maria has been going from strength to strength over the last few years… and the momentum is growing. The advertising campaign for AAF Battersea, for those of you who did not see it, featured one of Maria’s portrait collages, much like the one below, which was expanded into the scene which included a model made up as a 3D creation based on Maria’s work.
Maria is best known for her collage portraits, using found images to create beautiful and eye catching patterns and creative scenes. Those on display at Liberty Gallery at the fair included figures with serpents and birds as part of their headdress, and one rather glamorous lady with a diamond necklace comprising hundreds of cut out diamonds layered to make a dazzling motif. This fair gave Maria’s newer work a chance to have the spotlight – with fantastical imagined cityscapes joining Maria’s portraits on the stand. These large scale cityscapes were hugely popular… with not one of them staying on the wall of the stand from one day to the next! Created using a similar technique to the portraits, the cityscapes combine found images of buildings and people layered and contrasted to great effect.
This autumn, the range of techniques and media of pieces on display was as varied as ever, with collage side by side with oil on canvas, lithographs with bronze sculpture and screen printing with monotypes. One new technique I had never come across, but whose impact was stunning, was used by Lucy Carty exhibiting with Artshouse. Having studied Biology and Environmental Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, Lucy’s technique is self taught and her work is inspired by her trips around the world, most recently to Iceland. Inspired by aerial photographs of the landscape of Iceland, Lucy uses resins and wax, together with other mixed media to create pieces that cross the boundary between two dimensions and three and entice the viewer to touch the surfaces that are created.
Lucy’s work varies from pieces that could be mistaken for worn marble to pieces that look as if they are still flowing from a volcano in Iceland, all of which are unique and refreshingly different. Lucy’s work is the perfect compliment to the other artists work on the Artshouse stand, including artist and gallerist, Natasha Kumar, whose recent volume of work inspired by the architecture of India and in particular the narrative depicted on the inside of a dome showing Krishna is truly beautiful.
Also at the fair, for the first time, were the Reduced Shakespeare Company performing a specially commissioned performance of “A Complete History of Art (Abridged)” compacting the entire cannon of (Western) art into just 10 minutes. Provoking laughter and rounds of applause for their candid representation of some of the best known artists and their iconic creations, the Reduced Shakespeare Company were certainly a very welcome addition to the Affordable Art Fair.
Affordable Art Fair, staying true to its name, continues to be a source of art for the less established collector – or indeed the established collector looking to find new emerging talent – but goes much further. By exposing graduate artists, together with gallery’s promoting work of artists producing “affordable” art to a collector market is promoting growth, development and experimentation among these artists. This year, more than ever, artists were on hand to provide information and help regarding their work, but I also suspect that the feedback they receive over the five days of the fair is invaluable.