On a bustling weekend with the sun shining high, myself and an equally arty friend headed west to check out Ben Cooper’s all-new Chelsea Art Fair. Housed in the stunning, late-Victorian Old Town Hall, the fair oozed class and quality. Unlike previous years, each gallery was allocated their own selling space, lending an easy-to-follow structure, thus allowing art fans to stroll around openly and freely. The small, open-plan layout meant that students, such as myself, could not only enjoy viewing the artwork on show, but also steal glances at who was buying what.
Well-known names such as Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst drew large crowds of admirers, but it was the sculptures that managed to capture my heart. Philip Jackson CVO was one sculptor whose work instantly caught my attention. Dramatic and imposing, Jackson’s sculptures can’t help but draw you in. Ranging from smaller, ornamental figures to life-sized statues, Jackson’s work is elegant and always perfectly poised.
This notion of elegance seemed to remain with me as I weaved my way through the stalls. A closet girly girl, I was drawn to everything bright and beautiful. Chung Shek’s exquisite oil paintings of ballerinas reminded me of Rodarte’s saccharine gowns in Black Swan – without the excess. Crafted entirely in greyscale, bar a flash of buttercup yellow here, or a hint of tangerine there, Chek’s paintings encapsulate the beauty of ballet without the need for sugary pink.
Candice Tripp’s work caught my attention soon after. Surrounded by land and cityscapes, I was intrigued by these miniature illustrations suspended in white space. Tripp works in oils and ink to create dark, yet oddly calming snapshots of imagined experiences. Tripp’s ‘It’s Time For Tea And Sycophancy’ was an absolute favourite of mine – allowing me to imagine the rest of the story.
The New Chelsea Art Fair had something for everyone. Admittedly, there were a lot of landscapes and paintings of London – for someone else, this might be ideal, but for a fashion student like me, I was simply content with chandeliers, imagined tea parties and willowy statues…
The New Chelsea Art Fair took place at:
Chelsea Old Town Hall
Next year’s fair runs from Thursday 10 – Sunday 13 April 2014. You can already sign up for free e-tickets on the Chelsea Art Fair website.