Find great art at Fresh: Art Fair

Today I Lost My Glove, by Irene Jones. Hybrid Gallery

Today I Lost My Glove, by Irene Jones. Hybrid Gallery - Credit: Archant

Following his February glimpse into what makes great art, Fresh: Art Fair co-founder Anthony Wardle tells us how to find ‘greatness’ at the Fair this April

Fairlight from the Watermeadows IV (Goya), 2018, by Alan Rankle, oils on canvas, 100x80cm. Frickleto

Fairlight from the Watermeadows IV (Goya), 2018, by Alan Rankle, oils on canvas, 100x80cm. Frickleton Fine Art - Credit: Archant

The thrill of the chase

There are few greater pleasures in the world of art than spotting what you believe to be an exciting new talent, buying their work for a song, watching them evolve and seeing their popularity, recognition and value blossom. All great artists start nowhere.

You may see an artist's potential in the quality of their drawing, or their use of colour, their brush strokes, their rich impasto or their re-imagining of a landscape, an object or a person. You may spot a Matisse-like eye for line and form, or a Picasso-esque rendering of human emotion. You may see hints of Gormley, Moore or Frink in a simple sculpture in bronze or marble. Or you may see complete originality. Look again because you may be seeing nascent greatness.

Degrees of greatness

Canaletto, Rembrandt, Monet, Rousseau, Gauguin, Hokusai, Rodin and more beyond count, fall into my 'All Time Greats' category. More recent additions would be Picasso, Chagal, Miro and Henry Moore. Then there are the 'New Greats', mostly living artists that have blazed new trails in creativity …Hockney, Hirst and Emin, Banksy, Blake and Gormley, household names made famous by prescient patrons, influential publicists and not a little audacity.

My third category is the 'Nascent Greats'. These are the painters, sculptors, ceramicists and print-makers who may be on the road to greatness, may have already achieved recognition, may have letters after their name and work in important collections around the world, or they may still be nowhere but showing the early signs of true talent. This is where the fun lies.

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Go compare

If you want to find an art legend in the making, it might be helpful to stand in a room with work by Picasso, Miro, Moore and Chagal, by Hockney, Hirst, Emin, Banksy and Blake, hung amongst a large body of work by artists in the earlier stages of their journey to greatness. It would be helpful and fascinating to draw comparisons… it's also possible.

All of these great artists will be hung at Fresh: Art Fair. Most will be original prints… lithographs or etchings, maybe silk screens... sometimes signed by the artist, always authenticated. All will be enough to see clues as to what makes greatness.

All will in fact be for sale and at prices that may, surprisingly, fall within your budget.

Make time for art

Time is probably our most valuable commodity these days. If you're looking for a painting or a sculpture you may have to spend days trawling galleries. You might choose to trawl online but you may find it more difficult to judge art on a screen. Art fairs have become popular because they bring together a huge choice of art in one convenient place.

Fresh: Art Fair is the biggest art fair outside London. You can see 6,000 original prints and paintings, sculpture, glass and ceramics in a couple of exciting hours with a coffee or a glass of wine. There will be 51 leading galleries from all over the UK and beyond. There will be work by 600 artists at all stages on the road to greatness.

Look for Alan Rankle at Frickleton Fine Art, Stand 4. Rankle paints mostly abstract expressionist landscapes in oil on canvas. His work is in public and private collections in the UK, Europe and the USA and a series of high profile solo exhibitions in Copenhagen, Berlin, Milan and London have confirmed his status as "one of the most innovative painters working today".

Look for Pete Monaghan at Hadfield Fine Art, Stand 3. Monaghan is drawn to dilapidated vernacular buildings. He sketches them on site then develops the sketch into a rich collage of found objects including pieces of china, maps and corrugated cardboard. Parts of the painting are retained as drawn elements to reflect the fragility of the structures. He has work in public collections in Wales and Germany and has exhibited frequently with the Royal Academy in the West of England, MOMA Wales and the Royal Institute of Watercolour Artists at the Mall Galleries in London.

Look also for Irene Jones at Hybrid Gallery Stand 29. Jones' dramatic portraits are inspired by a love of Elizabethan portraiture and theatre, producing rich and sometimes fanciful costumes and a sense that the painting is interrupting an unfolding drama. She works mainly in acrylic on panel.

Finally, visit Fresh: Art Fair's outdoor Sculpture Park where you will find 50 or more sculptures by 15 artists in bronze, wood, marble, stone, iron and steel. More greatness in the making.

Fresh: Art Fair will be in The Centaur building at Cheltenham Racecourse from April 24 to 26, with a Private View from 5.30 pm on Thursday, April 23.