LAF Selects: Tabish Khan

Tabish Khan | Art Critic, Londonist, FAD & freelance

Tabish Khan is an art critic with a focus on London’s art scene and he believes passionately in making art accessible to everyone. He visits and writes about hundreds of exhibitions a year covering everything from the major blockbusters to the emerging art scene.

He is visual arts editor for Londonist and has been for 10 years, he has a regular top 5 and column with FAD, and writes freelance for other publications. He has appeared numerous times on television and radio to discuss art exhibitions and art news.

Tabish has also written about books, theatre, food and experiences.

Tabish Khan

On this years Selection, Tabish says…

“London has such a fabulous art scene that I’ve focussed my selection on London based galleries and artists I’ve seen at their spaces. I spend as much time as I can going round London’s vibrant art scene and my selection reflects the diversity of work I’ve encountered over the years. It’s also a reflection of the range of works I expect to encounter at the London Art Fair, so I’ve included painting, photography and print in my selections. Borrowing from Samuel Johnson’s famous quote, I genuinely believe that someone who is tired of London’s art scene is tired of life.”

Francis Bacon, Study for Portrait of John Edwards, 1987 Courtesy of Tanya Baxter Contemporary
John Monks, Chateau, 2022 Courtesy of Long and Ryle
Jasper Goodall, Twilight's Path 001 - Cedars, 2019 Courtesy of MMX Gallery

Francis Bacon, Study for Portrait of John Edwards (detail), 1987. Courtesy of Tanya Baxter Contemporary

“Francis Bacon was such a superb painter that I always get lost within his works, and they don’t often make for easy viewing. After seeing the powerful, tender and emotional exhibition of his works at Royal Academy of Arts, here’s another great opportunity to see the work of a phenomenal painter.”

John Monks, Chateau (detail), 2022. Courtesy of Long and Ryle.

“A grand room that’s fallen into disrepair so I speculate on its history, what took place within and how it fell into neglect. John Monks captures this sense of history through his fantastic style of painting that captures the sense of fading and flaking paint on the walls.”

Jasper Goodall, Twilight’s Path 001 – Cedars (detail), 2019. Courtesy of MMX Gallery. 

“A forest at night is something beautiful but also foreboding, and I get the sense of both in this photograph. To be alone within a natural setting and the dark both elicit something primal within us all that includes a mix of fear and wonder.”

Nick Smith, Van Gogh with Grey Felt Hat XL, 2022 Courtesy of Rhodes Contemporary Art
Jack Milroy, Dressed to Kill, 2020 Courtesy of Art First

Nick Smith, Van Gogh with Grey Felt Hat XL (detail), 2022. Courtesy of Rhodes Contemporary Art.

“The brilliance of Van Gogh continues to inspire contemporary artists, including Nick Smith who recreates a famous self-portrait using his trademark colour chip squares with the names of the colours themselves creating a narrative pertinent to the work. I’ve always been a fan of his signature take on iconic masterpieces.”

Jack Milroy, Dressed to Kill (detail), 2020. Courtesy of Art First.

“I’ve always been a fan of Jack Milroy’s cut out collages and this one is particularly striking with the blackened ‘dead’ flowers surrounding the more colourful ones as his commentary on the destructive nature of war with the pages relating to books about war. It’s a bold and eye-catching statement.”

Phil Shaw, The Truth in Black and White with some grey areas 3 (detail), 2016. Courtesy of Rebecca Hossack

“What is the truth? It’s something I’ve definitely been questioning in an era of fake news and falsehoods that spread on social media. It’s cleverly represented in this bookshelf print of titles that all include the word truth in their title, and it’s fitting that there are shades of grey.”