Accessible art to be enjoyed at Fresh:Art Fair

Alexei Basanov –'Togetherness'– Paragon Gallery

Alexei Basanov –'Togetherness'– Paragon Gallery - Credit: Archant

We discover what’s to see at Cheltenham’s new Fresh: Art Fair

Co-founder Anthony Wardle at Gallery Different

Co-founder Anthony Wardle at Gallery Different - Credit: Archant

How often do we hear the questions ‘what is art’ or ‘what is great art’? The answers are as numerous as they are troublesome. One thing is certain …that art is what you want it to be and great art does not have to come with a weighty price tag.

This is the philosophy of Anthony and Eleanor Wardle, father and daughter co-founders of the Cotswold’s new Contemporary Art Fair at Cheltenham Racecourse. Here they describe the Galleries and artists that visitors can expect to see.

David Atkins –'An evening in Sorrento' Campden Gallery

David Atkins –'An evening in Sorrento' Campden Gallery - Credit: Archant

“There are so many outstanding galleries in the Cotswolds and so little time to tour them all, so we decided to bring them together in one easily accessible place. It then made sense to enrich the experience with some notable galleries from further afield. We want our visitors to see a very broad spectrum of art for all tastes and budgets, to stretch their boundaries and discover new talent …we want to bring great art within reach, physically, emotionally and financially,” says Anthony.

Fresh: Art Fair will show 5000 works by 400 artists from 45 galleries, 12 of them from the Cotswold region.

The village of Broadway is home to no less than three Fresh: Exhibitors. Over forty-five years, John Noott Galleries has amassed possibly the largest and most varied stock of paintings and sculpture in the country. They will bring work by their own Edward Noott, Member of the RBSA and winner of the RWA Purchase Prize. Priory Broadway will bring the classical still life of Belgian painter Tony De Wolf and Little Buckland Gallery will be showing the expressionist landscape work of Arabella Kiszely.

Wren Fine Art of Burford is a familiar name in the art fair world, perhaps most recognised for the idiosyncratic coastal architecture paintings of Cyril Croucher. Cyril is a winner of the RWA Viewer’s Choice Award and has been selected for the Royal Academy Summer Show many times.

Sir Peter Blake –'Sources of Pop Art IV' Wetpaint Gallery

Sir Peter Blake –'Sources of Pop Art IV' Wetpaint Gallery - Credit: Archant

As a Picasso muse in the 1950s, Sylvette David famously became the subject of more than 60 Picasso works. Today she is a celebrated watercolourist in her own right and her own name, Lydia Corbett. Her work will be shown at Fresh: Art Fair by Bath Gallery, David Simon Contemporary.

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Among other Cotswold leaders will be Cheltenham’s Paragon Gallery showing paintings by the acclaimed Ukrainian artist Iryna Yermolova, Russian star Alexei Basanov and Marseille-based mixed-media painter Corinne Ko. Campden Gallery from Chipping Campden will show work by eight painters and sculptors including the cityscapes of David Atkins about whom famously eloquent art critic Brian Sewell once said “His is a broad brush, the sweep and colour of it bold and clear, and he brings to the city the eye for transitory light and temperature and atmosphere that is more usually applied to rural landscape”.

Notable among those Galleries further afield are Camburn Fine Art of Chinon, France; London Galleries Panter & Hall, Thompson’s and Gallery Different; Gormley’s of Dublin and Belfast, and Courcoux Contemporary of Stockbridge.

Thompson’s of Marylebone will bring the highly distinctive portraits of Paul Wright together with Mary Fedden OBE RA RWA. From the Modern British period they will bring John Piper RA (1903-1992) whose work is held in the collections of The Tate Gallery and The V&A… so distinguished yet still within reach. There will be more Modern British from Lena Boyle Fine Art although the majority of Fresh: art will be contemporary.

Emerging artists will be important at Fresh: with New Blood Art bringing the work of some recent graduates among which they have a talent for spotting rising stars. There will be sculpture in many media with two dedicated sculpture exhibitors, Kaleidoscope and Agora. And there will of course be no shortage of ceramics and glass.

Original art really doesn’t have to come with a high price tag. There will be wonderful original paintings and sculpture from a few hundred pounds. There will also be prints, themselves original in the sense that they are individually produced by teamwork between the artist and the print-maker and in strictly numbered editions. Artizan Editions, Wetpaint Gallery, Olivia Connelly and Eames Fine Art will all bring original prints by such famous names as Sir Peter Blake, Gerald Laing, Bridget Riley, Harvey Daniels and Paul Hogarth at prices to suit most budgets.

There’ll definitely be something for everyone at Fresh: Art Fair.

“The Cotswolds has long been an important centre for British Art. A major Art Fair of its own couldn’t be more appropriate,” concludes Guy Cohen of Campden Gallery.

Fresh: Art Fair will be at Cheltenham Racecourse from 12 – 14 May. The Fair is less than 10 minutes from the M5 with unlimited free parking and a shuttle to and from the Town Centre. What could be more accessible?