FROM the 27-30 September Spinningfields is hosting Manchester’s fifth Buy Art Fair. The fair seeks to inspire members of the public to become active participants in the art scene by housing a huge range of affordable art under one roof.
With over 50 galleries and 500 artists there's a great deal to piqueinterest. The event has been designed as the antithesis of the intimidating atmosphere of the fine art gallery and talks and tours will take place throughout the fair which aim to ease people into the world of art collecting.
Below are some hand picked highlights from the huge selection of work available for purchase at the fair.
A brain tumour was the catalyst that began Michael Ashcroft’s journey into the art world. It was this event that led him on to the BBC’s Show Me the Monet programme which sought to uncover the future stars of Britain’s art scene. Ashcroft was shortlisted as one of thirty finalists on the show and has since enjoyed a surge of interest in his work.
Ashcroft’s solemn painted studies of urban scenes are reminiscent of the works of Edward Hopper in the melancholy they evoke through a keen understanding of the interplay of light and dark.
Ashcroft’s work often features the city in motion but his deft hand portrays the scenes as though they are trapped in amber, full of potential and mystery. The luxuriously deep colours coax the viewer into the city.
Inspired both by the Old Masters and contemporary realist painters, Darren Baker has been developing his realist style of painting for a decade and has achieved a huge amount of praise from a diverse range of admirers.
Earlier in his career Baker was appointed the official artist of the Professional Footballer’s Association. Since then Baker’s attention to the subtleties of his craft and his deft hand have resulted in him painting portraits of Prince Charles, Tony Blair and even The Queen.
Baker is one of the leading figures in the British Art classical realism genre and works with a variety of subject matter. His work hangs in St. James Palace, the House of Lords and Downing Street.
James Stewart’s art work is a vibrant mix of cartoonish playfulness and still life subtlety bringing to mind the work of pop artist Patrick Caulfield or Hockney’s studies of L.A.
Stewart’s work has led to a number of successful international exhibitions in New York, London and Sydney. He currently has work in the Royal Portrait Gallery, London as part of the BP British Portrait Awards.
In addition to these highly acclaimed shows Stewart has been commissioned to produce portraits of Sylvette David who was Picasso’s model for the Girl With a Pony Tail series and Sir Peter Blake, father of British Pop Art and a huge influence on the artist.
Bill Ward, known for playing Charlie Stubbs in Coronation Street, will be exhibiting his collection of photographs entitled Passing Through. The photographs are a re-evaluation of the places around Manchester which impacted upon Ward during his time on the soap and at the Royal Exchange Theatre.
The collection is composed of images taken at extremes of day and assess the paradoxes within the city. Old and new, light and dark, water and land are all shown in harsh contrast but are poignantly beautiful.
The work on show at the Buy Art Fair has been produced using a new printing technique which does full justice to the chiaroscuro effect he has skilfully captured. The largest formatted print will be available on aluminium which releases the full potential of the images.
Alison Erika Forde
Drawing inspiration from the underlying sinisterness of fairy tales and the irreverent style of comic books Alison Erika Forde’s work is darkly humorous and deeply silly.
Forde’s art often features young girls in perilous situations and wide eyed woodland critters on the verge of annihilation. Viewers become absorbed into the painting by the initial cheerfulness of the scenes before the underlying sexuality or the impending doom of the characters becomes apparent.
An element of the surreal is imbued into all of Forde’s work which complements the wild and dangerous suggestiveness of her works’ narratives. The juxtaposition of innocence with danger and cartoon simplicity with surreal, dreamlike elements form a sort of visual pun in Forde’s work.
Forde frequently paints onto found objects allowing parts of the original to show through. This contributes to the spontaneity and unexpectedness which characterise her work.
Leanne Richardson primarily works in the medium of paper collage. Her work examines our relationship with the media and in particular the effect constantly reproduced images have on our understanding of the world.
Richardson creates new images on the covers of magazines using small pieces of paper ripped from images inside the publication. ASLIONS is one of her most accomplished pieces, in this piece Richardson has superimposed the image of a lion onto an ASOS model’s face.
The absurdity of the resulting image is disruptive and raises awareness of the seductive nature of the images we are continually faced with in the media. The skill with which Richardson executes these images, using only fragments of existing print, also points to the creative potential of the magazine format.
ASLIONS is included in a selection of other pieces which are available to buy at the Buy Art Fair.
Horace Panter’s work is an exuberant combination of kitsch icons, historical figures, found images and propaganda. His time as the bassist in The Specials has resulted in international tours where Panter has absorbed the myriad cultures and iconographies of the world.
Panter’s work is indebted to the reckless stylings of Henri Rousseau, the deconstruction and reevaluation of images done by British pop artists and the experimentation in colour carried out by the Colour field painters and abstract expressionists.
Panter often folds his theories about the potency of icons and the recyclable nature of images into his subject matter. His studies of robot toys questions the status of the symbol in modern society whilst retaining a disarming innocence about them.
Manchester's Buy Art Fair is free with advanced registration. For more information about the fair and to register for tickets visit the fair's official website here. It is located in Spinningfields in marquee accommodation and also in the adjacent Quay House.
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