Saturday, 27 April 2013

The Other Art Fair 2013 - Highlights

The Other Art Fair is a bi-annual art fair held at the cavernous Ambika P3 opposite Baker Street station. It's an opportunity for artists not represented by galleries to showcase their works and for the savvy collector to pick up a bargain - no gallery representation means no commission and reasonable prices.

This format naturally lends itself to the cliched mixed bag of art, some would argue that they aren't represented by galleries for a reason. And last year's fair was disappointing. But this year's jury, including the critically acclaimed artist Yinka Shonibare, has resulted in some great artists being featured.

Here's a run down of my favourites:

Before I even got to the fair, there were Toni Gallagher's rats made of ice lining the walk from the stairs to the entrance. Here they are earlier in the year on the Hungerford walkway that connects Embankment to the South Bank

If it weren't for the fact they were still being laid out as I arrived, I may not have noticed them. 

Once inside the fair, the first stand to really grab my attention was the metal landscapes and cityscapes by Frederic Daty:

I was told that the artist starts with a single sheet of metal and then laser cuts way pieces and uses various substances to rust the sculpture and create the impressive range of colours. I found the more rusted works to be my favourites as they felt more rooted in realism - this forest was one of two that I really liked.

Hidden underneath the stairs were the clever lenticular prints by Shaun Caton and Derrick Santini. Their works change as you walk past them and play out scenes such as two identical women fighting each other or a woman speaking to you.

Clearly a still photograph doesn't do it justice but it was great to see a collection of their work after seeing one work of a swan fighting a woman at Cynthia Corbett's Young Masters exhibition.

Next up was Laurence Poole who take utilitarian objects to make art, such as a colourful canvas of matchbox cars or a soundwave made from vinyl records.

The Acrylicize Collective had a large scale replica of a monopoly board square marked as Euston Station. But it's only upon a closer look that I realised it's made up of hole punched National Rail tickets - very impressive, here's a close up.

Now my next artist has already featured on Londonist for her iPad drawings. I got to see some of Nadja Ryzhakova's newer work and was impressed by her rendition of the Lloyds building in a thunderstorm. It's not on her website but you can enjoy her underground full of fish-people instead. All of her works are all the more impressive for having been done on an iPad.

I enjoyed the photo collage's of Barbara Nati as she merges the present with a science fiction future. There's a cheeky sense of humour at work with an astronaut within a tram on an alien planet.

Last but not least was probably my pick of the fair. Conrad Engelhardt takes corks that have been naturally stained and uses them to create nudes and a portrait of Marilyn Monroe. 

It's a slow process but use of innovative media is doing very well, just look at Nick Gentry and his use of floppy disks or David Mach's wire hangar sculptures. For this reason, I was surprised that a gallery like Opera or Rook & Raven hasn't already snapped him up.

In summary, some great artists on display and well worth the visit.