ENCOUNTERS PANEL - A SHIFTING PRACTICE: FROM CREATIVE PROFESSION TO PRACTICING ARTIST
Saturday 21 January 2023
Talks Theatre, Gallery Level
Pryle Behrman, Curator of Encounters
Nathan French, Artist, Shame Gallery
Luqmaan Godfrey / Damilola Odusote, Artist, April Contemporary
Virginia Damtsa, Virginia Visual Arts
Listen to the recording
Encounters is a new section launching at London Art Fair 2023 and Pryle Behrman, curator and member of the Encounters Selection Committee, introduces some of its key themes in conversation with a panel of exhibiting artist who have experienced shifts in their careers and practices. The recent COVID-19 lockdowns prompted many of us to re-evaluate our priorities and several of the participating artists in Encounters have moved from another creative field into artmaking, using this opportunity to challenge their understandings and explore new ideas and media.
All Talks are free to attend with a valid ticket to London Art Fair.
Book your ticket to London Art Fair to register your place for the free Talks Programme.
If you have already purchased your ticket to the Fair, click here to register for talks.
Luqmaan Godfrey is the alter ego of Damilola Odusote who is a successful muralist and commercial artist with commissions from Converse, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, LinkedIn, NEXT, Microsoft, Google, YouTube, Caplin and most recently Brixton House for his large-scale mural works. Odusote has a very unique background and in creating the Luqmaan Godfrey persona, he wants to explore the underlying issues that formed his identity as a Black person brought up in a rough White estate in Essex by foster parents from the Romany Gypsy community – Luqmaan is one of his Nigerian middle names and Godfrey is in memory of his foster parent’s surname. The proposed work for LAF is his first outing as Luqmaan Godfrey and will be an installation in the style of his mural work consisting of vignettes of smaller mixed media drawings, poems, text and collage linked to a central spherical map drawing. Fundamental to his work is navigating the complex political, cultural and identity dislocation of his personal journey as a microcosm of contemporary human discourse.
Dr Pryle Behrman is a curator, art journalist and academic, who is Senior Lecturer for the BA (Hons) Art & the Environment and MA Environment & Creative Practice courses at Writtle University College in Essex. Prior to curating this year’s Encounters section, he was the curator of the Art Projects section of London Art Fair, and he has recently gained a PhD from University of Westminster, which centred on his curatorial practice within London Art Fair.
‘The sculptures seem to emit a subtle light, distinguishing them from the flatness of tradition’ Nathan David French was born to Welsh and Anglo-Indian parents. French pursued an education at Central Saint Martins; his creative talents blossomed in the London art school, where art was conceived to include the strange and the outsiders, rather than being conformed to social norms or the strict demands of the fashion world. His free, imaginative designs and meticulous attention to the human shape lead him to create wearable art later seen at Paris and London fashion weeks, and worn by iconic performers such as Björk and Lady Gaga. Throughout his practice French became interested in the representation of human bodies; he would experiment with bold, other-worldly textures and colours, then grounding them in earthy sculptural forms. French references the gods and deities depicted in statues from Greek antiquity. He questions these idealised bodies in his own sculptural forms, that seem to want to break free from their caste; they expose human fragility, and exude subjectivity and diversity over that which is to represent ‘man’ or ‘god’. In his constant search for texture and innovation, each phase of French’s career brings on a new material to explore, from feathers or wax to his new obsession, crystals. He grows the crystals in huge baths, drowning his sculptures to allow the natural process of crystallisation. By doing so, the artistic process has a mind of its own, creating subtle hues invented by natural elements. By slightly altering the process, each of French’s sculptures becomes a unique rendition of nature, completed only when the crystal process stops. Exhibitions include Trauma Fauna, Shame Gallery, 2022; Homografía, 2021, Pretty Ugly, Shame Gallery, 2021; Orgasmus Mulieribus, Hôte Gallery, 2020; Wasteland, Park Park Studios, 2019; Juiceland, Park Park Studios, 2019; Austrian Embassy, 2018 (all Brussels); and Adornism and Skin, the Ballery, Berlin. French’s artworks have been shown at the Accessible Art Fair and Antwerp Queer Arts Festival. Three of his sculptures are included in the Loosveldt Collection.
Virginia Damtsa, Director of VVA VirginiaVisualArts Ltd. is an Art Dealer, Art Gallerist and Artist Agent with experience spanning more than two decades. She is known for establishing Riflemaker Gallery in London (2002-2017), spotting new talents, making the emerging artists established and working with the most prominent artists.