Each year Platform focuses on a single distinct theme, the section includes galleries presenting well-known, overlooked and emerging artists that align to the theme.
London Art Fair: Edit
At a time when the world is ever changing, curator Candida Stevens presented Folk Art, a view to our cultural heritage, our communities and our identity and how artists who are working in the Folk tradition have chosen to pass on this cultural heritage of knowledge and inspiration.
Cultural heritage is unique and irreplaceable, it is an expression of the ways of living, developed over time by a community and passed on from generation to generation. It can include customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. The cultural heritage of a community reflects and shapes values, beliefs, and aspirations helping to define people’s national identity.
With global industrialisation, machines replacing the handmade, cultures all over the world are at risk of losing knowledge, skills and cultural heritage. Artists now working in the folk tradition are expressing the importance of their heritage.
For the Fair’s 33rd edition, Platform explored artists who have revived lost knowledge, developed inherited skills, and shared inherited legacies. Whilst todays objects may be decorative, once they would have been utilitarian, but the passing on of knowledge remains the same.
LAF EDIT welcomed; Cavaliero Finn, Ed Cross, Gibbons & Nicholas, Jaggedart, MADEINBRITALY, Outside In, Robert Young Antiques, Ruup & Form, Candida Stevens Gallery, Ting-Ying and Vessel Gallery.
jaggedart presented works by four female artists whose practice is embedded in heritage, inspired by storytelling and rituals, creating pieces using traditional ways of making and infused with new narratives.
Thurle Wright, Tapestry Sampler II [Detail] 2020. Courtesy of JAGGEDART
Abigail Booth, Forest and Found [Detail], 2020. Photography Max Bainbridge. Courtesy of JAGGEDART
Thurle Wright, Marking Time 3 [Detail] 2020. Courtesy of JAGGEDART
Ruup & Form displayed a curated experience of works with storytelling as its point of convergence, bridging the gap as it has done for centuries between people and cultures. The artists presented for this exhibition work with different material, threaded with their quality to interact through their storytelling, yet reminiscent of a bygone era.
Clare Malet, Abbots Pool Vessel, 2019. Photography, Tim Bowditch. Courtesy of RUUP & FORM
Ellen Hayward, Gathering 1, 2019. Photography, Tim Bowditch. Courtesy of RUUP & FORM
Line Nilson, Fjell, 2020. Photography, Tim Bowditch. Courtesy of RUUP & FORM
Robert Young Antiques presented “Silhouette”, a selection of works that share a boldly static graphic quality, which is common to many significant works of folk-art sculpture and naïve art. This curated collection aimed to explore and draw attention to the timeless qualities of anonymously created naive art in a contemporary context.
English Vernacular Metalworker, Silhouette Running Fox Weathervane, c.1870, [Detail]. Courtesy of Robert Young
W. Bishop, English Naïve School Boldly Graphic Pair of Primitive Homing Pigeon Portraits,1887 and 1892. Courtesy of Robert Young
Northern European Vernacular Woodworker, Fine Primitive Working Waterfowl Decoy, c.1900. Courtesy of Robert Young
Candida Stevens exhibited three artists who look at history.
Katharine Le Hardy explores the cultural heritage of play, recording the most universally enduring childhood games, demonstrating the elemental importance and significance of togetherness.
Anthony Stevens, a self-taught artist influenced by Buddhism makes several works inspired by Tibetan Prayer Flags shining a spotlight on the larger cycles of time.
Cecilia Charlton explores the history of stitch, working within the lineage of embroidery and needlepoint which extends from prehistory to present-day, often incorporating gold leaf in acknowledgement of the Renaissance and its significance.
Anthony Stevens, Prayer Flag no 2 [Detail], 2020. Courtesy of Candida Stevens
Cecilia Charlton, The Dawn of a New Day (Blue and Red) [Detail], 2020. Courtesy of Candida Stevens
Katherine Le Hardy, The Rules of the Game [Detail], 2020. Courtesy of Candida Stevens
With over 60% of the words in the English vocabulary having Greek or Latin roots, one can’t really overlook the deep links we do have with the civilisations that across the centuries have developed around the Mediterranean Sea which from the 5th century BC onwards have laid the foundations of modern Western civilisation how do we know it today.
The curatorial project of MADEINBRITALY focused on Mediterranean cultural identity, its heritage and its contemporary interpretation and still extraordinarily strong influence.
Bottega Vignoli, Mediterranea large plate, 2020. Courtesy of MADEINBRITALY
Francesco Raimondi, Allegory vase, 2017. Courtesy of MADEINBRITALY
Martha Pachon Rodriguez, Starfish bowls (set of 3), 2019. Courtesy of MADEINBRITALY
The work of Abe Odedina, presented by Ed Cross Fine Art, offered objects which embraced their objecthood: a gesture both radical and very simple indeed. What is folk art but art which serves a function — practical or cultural, as the case may be?
Abe Odedina, Glory, 2017. Courtesy of Ed Cross
Abe Odedina, Heart and Mind, 2018. Courtesy of Ed Cross
Abe Odedina, Measure for measure, 2020. Courtesy of Ed Cross
Each of the artist’s work which exhibited with Cavaliero Finn have roots in folk art, be that working in response to cultural stories and decorative images from the past or employing traditional techniques passed down through cultural communities in the making of their work.
All four artists look back on cultures, values and aesthetics around the world and weave these into their work in different ways using different media, in this case clay and canvas.
Björk Haraldsdóttir, Tapestry 6.6 [Detail], 2020. Courtesy of Cavaliero Finn
Helen Ballardie, A Garden After Fra Angelico, 2020, [Detail]. Courtesy of Cavaliero Finn
Soledad Christie, Llamitas Siluetas – group of 6, 2020. Courtesy of Cavaliero Finn
Outside In responded to the theme of ‘folk art’ by showcasing works by three artists; Horace Lindezey, Joanna Simpson and James Alison. All the artists express identity, heritage and community though their artwork.
Horace Lindezy, Princess Diana’s Dress, 2018. Courtesy of Outside In
James Alison, A Dragon Bird [Detail], 2019. Courtesy of Outside In
Joanna Simpson, Good Luck Gum Nut Folk [Detail]. Courtesy of Outside In
Gibbson & Nicholas presented an installation that has been added to over the last three years, evolving from the themes of family, death, birth, home and life. It is exemplary of the artists’ response to observations made from the world around him.
Marty Kelly, Aeroplanes [Detail], 2020. Courtesy of Gibbons & Nicholas
Marty Kelly, Show me how to throw a wheel [Detail], 2020. Courtesy of Gibbons & Nicholas
Marty Kelly, Show me how to throw a wheel [Detail], 2020. Courtesy of Gibbons & Nicholas
Vessel Gallery presented five international applied art artists working with traditional glass and ceramic techniques by pushing material boundaries and expressing them in new directions whilst still looking and referencing each of the artist’s personal heritage and cultural tradition.
Chris Day, Imposter Sindrome, 2020. Courtesy of Vessel Gallery
Maarten Vrolijk, Sakura TRP20017, 2020. Courtesy of Vessel Gallery
Vanessa Hogge, Daphne Vase, 2019. Courtesy of Vessel Gallery
Ting-Ying Gallery exhibited a group of artists using familiar materials and imageries like clay and flowers to address sexuality, motherhood, politics and waste in our society.
Alice Walton, Avon Ribbons, 2020. Courtesy of Ting-Ying
Carol McNicoll, On a Wing and a Prayer, 2017. Courtesy of Ting-Ying
Emma Witter, The Living Dead, Installation [Detail], 2020. Courtesy of Ting-Ying.
CANDIDA STEVENS GALLERY
American artist Cecilia Charlton presented by Candida Stevens Gallery, creates technicolour, highly-patterned textile works that reference personal and cultural histories while questioning notions of medium by bringing together traditions of painting, craft, abstraction, and folk art. Aesthetically revolving around formal references to abstraction, the works’ titles often reveal autobiographical content.
Alongside Cecilia Charlton, Candida Stevens Gallery presents Katharine Le Hardy and Anthony Stevens. Katherine uses her hometown, London, as her inspiration to investigate the space between the real, the past, the lost and the hopeful – documenting key features and places, witnessing the process of urban regeneration, and contemplating the cultural heritage of ‘place’.
Currently documenting deserted funfairs, and researching the history of play, Katharine observes the forlornness of a deserted place of play and how this conflicts with our presupposed associations of jubilance, how our memories entwine with our fantasies.
Anthony Stevens is a self-taught artist, based in Brighton, and is presented in Platform by the charity OutsideIn. Anthony creates bold and engaging hand-embroidered textile collages influenced by his practice of Nichiren Buddhism that theorise about the fundamentals of the human experience.
Using found or gifted materials he has found a distinctive visual language with recurring characters and themes that include monkeys, ghosts, snakes and skulls. Primarily, his work is about expressing and processing trauma and its after-effects.
MADEINBRITALY: A MEDITERRANEAN ESCAPE
The curatorial project focusing on Mediterranean cultural identity, its heritage and its contemporary interpretation and still extraordinarily strong influence.
MADEINBRITALY’s presentation connects the deep links between the Greek and Latin civilisations that across the centuries have developed around the Mediterranean Sea. Laying the foundations of modern western civilisation how we know it today.
The vision for Threading Forms was to demonstrate the variation currently at play within fine art textiles. The variety of art forms presented here incorporates machine and hand stitch, tapestry, deconstructed fabrics, collage.
Linking in with the Modern British origins of the fair, Oxford Ceramics Gallery presented Peter Collingwood. Collingwood is largely considered the pre-eminent British artist weaver of the post war Modern British period. He is described as a technical innovator, teacher and mentor. The visual results of Collingwood’s work are calming, symmetrical and light.
Professor Alice Kettle presented by Candida Stevens Gallery continued the work that Collingwood started.
Described by the V&A as a ‘pioneer’ and ground-breaking she is a contemporary educator, pioneer, innovator. Kettle incorporates a blend of analogue and digital, using machines both old and new alongside the use of hand-stitching.
The visual results of Kettle’s work, always rich in narrative, are dynamic, colourful and arresting. Southampton City Art Gallery, the Fair’s museum partner 2020, acquired Odyssey, a significant work by Kettle.
Arusha Gallery shown Julie Airey whose work has a delicacy to it. Layers of fine muslin combined with thread and paint to create an ethereal quality. Suggestions of shapes, nearly there figures, comment on the vulnerability of the human condition. Airey is an artist who trained as a painter and now incorporates the materials of paint and thread in her work.
Cavaliero Finn show woven and cut tapestries by Jacy Wall alongside ceramics by Björk Haraldsdóttir. The visual harmony of the two artists is striking. Bjork’s knowledge of architecture is evident in her geometric forms and marries in with the deconstructed pattern structure of Wall’s work.
Atelier WeftFaced also present tapestry, combining the skills of hand woven tapestry and hand crafted costume. Better known commissioned pieces include Tirra Lirra by Gillian Ayres (2014) for Alan Cristea Gallery and Amigos (2016-19) for Martin Creed.
Having these two different presentations of tapestry links with West Dean Tapestry Studio who will be on site demonstrating the art of tapestry weaving throughout the duration of the fair. The fair team kindly agreed to give some space to two charities, West Dean College of Arts and Education and OutsideIn to bring a broad reaching appeal to Platform.
OutsideIn is a charity that works with artists who face significant barriers to the art world due to health, disability, social circumstance or isolation. Several of their artists use textile art as their primary form of expression. Anthony Stevens, whose work is presented here, uses hand stitching to create expressive pieces that he says work as a form of therapy and self expression.
The vision was to allow Platform Threading Forms to stand out, to have it’s own identity, to make it both visually and emotionally different, to emphasise it’s unique place within the larger fair. The idea was to activate the space by having a live performance of ‘textile art in the making’ throughout the week. Demystifying artistic process is key to allowing collectors to confidently access art, as textile art becomes a trending art form there is more interest than ever from collectors. With live demonstrations throughout the week of tapestry by West Dean and machine and hand stitching by Alice Kettle, visitors will be enlightened and inspired.
PLATFORM GALLERIES AND ARTISTS 2020
Arusha Gallery: Bringing works by Julie Airey
Oxford Ceramic Gallery: Bringing works by Peter Collingwood
Cavaliero Finn: Bringing works by Jacy Wall, Björk Haraldsdóttir
Atelier Weftfaced: Bringing works by Katharine Swailes, Caron Penney
Candida Stevens Gallery: Bringing works by Alice Kettle
On its launching edition, Platform explored the expansive territory of Ceramics.