Wednesday, 15 January 2014

London Art Fair: Garageland Highlights (Part 1)

Magnifying glasses in hand, Garageland gumshoes extraordinaire Corinna Spencer and Travis Riley have inspected London Art Fair top-to-bottom to track down this year’s must see artworks.

Not ten steps through the front door of the fair, Union Gallery is showing four pleasingly ramshackle Rose Wylie portraits. The paintings combine simple-lined naivety with canny (and slightly grotesque) wit, and provide a superb opening to the fair.

The Hepworth have hauled a full mini-exhibition across from their gallery in Wakefield titled The Development of British Modernism. Amongst the historically arranged array of works, the dusty white brushstrokes of John Wells’ Landfall provide the quietest moment of the art fair. Chalky greys and sketchy pencil lines fill in the bare bones of an unsettled modernist landscape.

Fold Gallery have installed nine paintings from Tim Ellis’s United in Different Guises series. Painted on pillowcases, the rectangular geometric images could be mistaken for a collection obscure flags. A varnish coating shows the wear of many years of service.

Ra di Martino’s photographs, on display at Tryon St Gallery’s stand, depict the ruined sets of iconic films including Star Wars and Lawrence of Arabia. The now disintegrated dwelling of Luke Skywalker shows a futuristic 70s vision already in disrepair.

Space in Between have taken an intrepid anti-commercial stance, using their space for a single installation work. The piece by Nicole Morris fills the room with a triangle patterned monochromatic ceiling and a video work that finds the artist sweating through a series of bikram yoga poses. The yoga is interspersed with a pleasingly scratchy and lo-fi, frolicking animation, forming one of our favourite art fair moments this year.

Travis Riley

London Art Fair, 14-19 January, London N1

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