Affordable Art Fair, Battersea Park, 2012 – Tired Feet, Tired Eyes, but Fresh Discoveries; The BEST being Philip Maltman

March 22, 2012

Lots of impressionistic scenes.

Lots of weak non-objective painting.

Those were the negatives for me.

But each to their own, and if it sells, it sells, and that’s what this event is all about.   And we all have our own likes and dislikes.  I won’t complain, I won’t explain. 

BUT!!!!   Standing out for me, oh JOY, I found myself meeting two paintings by Philip Maltman, who I have not come across before.  I liked “No Leaf” the best.  My heart!  How inspiring to see painting like this!  Philip Maltman’s painting was at the fair via ArtDog…

Other bright lights for my visit:

John Scarland “Large Picnic”, Dooze Storey “Red Bow”  Charlie O’Sullivan “Gathering Thoughts on an Incoming Tide” (Nice Title too!) Roisin O’Farrell “A Moment of Truth”  De Angel “Power Struggle” Nicholas Chistiakov “The Red Room with Two Visitors” Relton Marine “Low Row II” and Russel Frampton “Winterbourne, Droves Road”.

They will be in my notes, for sure.  What interesting work.  I find it vital to identify artists and particular paintings by them, in order to spend time looking and learning from the evidence of their hand and eye.  Skill is learnt, and it takes years of experience and years of  study.  “Gift”  is not something which you are just “given”; there is an element of that, yes, but it must be grown and developed, and this takes practice.  I am finding at the Art Fairs I am making a point of visiting right now that in some painting, the years of work reveal themselves…You can actually see it in the painting.  It’s an almost tangible sense of what the eye has seen and the traces it has left on the painting (and this is the same for non-objective painting!).  I think it’s about inner vision, being communicated.  Wether expressed through recognisable objects or not, there seems to be a point at which you can say this has been successful or not, and it is the somewhat mysterious “point” (which maybe is the meeting of the emotion and intellect) along with the drive, of the artist, and the meeting of that with the materials, which creates a kind of joyous and beautiful creation.

My visit to the Affordable Art Fair has pretty much sealed my decision to concentrate on non-objective painting this year, even though I struggle internally with the feeling that I OUGHT to be painting objects!  If people don’t have the eyes to see non-objective painting, if they don’t give it the time, if they don’t give themselves the time, then let that be their loss. Not mine. One has to stay true, and I haven’t signed a contract with myself not to paint representational paintings; there is a time and a season for everything.  I can always indulge myself with a little obvious subject matter, if I please.

I think it more pressing right now to work on developing an intimacy with my materials, and I feel that through this, whatever I do, my painting will benefit.  There is also the need, whatever goes on around me, to bury myself in what I am painting in the moment I am painting it.  I loved the painting of all those painters I have listed, and I will, as always, take the time to find out more about their work and see more of their paintings.  It’s on my agenda this year to widen my awareness of what is going on around me, and I am already learning a lot through this process.  It’s helping me steer my own way ahead, and enabling me to develop more focus and direction in my painting.

I’ve also been to see “Die Harder” 22 Feb – 6 April at Southwark Cathedral.  An amazing sculpture by David Mach RA.  The blurb says: “The figure of Christ in paint and anguish pierced by thousands of spears, that single body acting as a conduit for the cares and woes in the world.  That body can feel everything and the hangers don’t just pierce: they stand on end, electrified like thousands of antennae transmitting messages out into the word and receiving them back simultaneously”

I’ve started another blog, with Blogger:

It’s going to have pretty much the same as this one in it I expect.

I’ve just seen the Joan Mitchell exhibition of some of her later works at Hauser and Wirth and LOVED the scale of them.  I also noticed a little iridescent paint on one of them, which I am experimenting with myself at the moment.  I have been drawn to her painting for some time.   I love the sheer single-mindedness of it.


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