What to expect at Fresh: Art Fair in 2018

Little Buckland Gallery: Abstract landscape, by Arabella Kiszely

Little Buckland Gallery: Abstract landscape, by Arabella Kiszely - Credit: Archant

Pictures...worth a thousand words. “Well, only eight hundred actually but all the more room for the pictures”. Anthony Wardle, co-founder of Cheltenham’s Fresh: Art Fair, tells us about the paintings and sculptures you will be able to see at the Fair in April, with a particular focus on those to be shown by Cotswold Galleries

Campden Gallery: 'The Spanish Clown', by Paul Wadsworth

Campden Gallery: 'The Spanish Clown', by Paul Wadsworth - Credit: Archant

The great advantage of an art fair is that it brings the art to the art lover. You don’t have to traipse around the country. You can see nearly 5,000 paintings and sculptures in one place in a couple of very pleasant hours with a decent glass of wine in your hand. Perfect.

There are 48 galleries exhibiting at Fresh: and while only eight of them are technically Cotswold they alone make a fine cross section of contemporary art.

Starting in the north, Campden Gallery lies at the heart of the quintessential village of Chipping Campden and shows a broad spectrum of work by established and emerging British and European artists. They will bring six artists to Fresh: including Paul Wadsworth whose bold expressive work is in private and notable corporate collections in Britain and the Middle East.

Traipse just a little South of Broadway and you’ll find Little Buckland Gallery. Hidden away in a tiny village, Arabella Kiszely’s gallery is well worth finding. She has a fine collection of paintings, sculpture, glass and ceramics and will bring at least five artists to Fresh: including her own distinctive abstract landscape work.

The Cotswolds has been home to the John Davies Gallery for forty years, many of them in Moreton-in-Marsh. John is almost a legend in art circles, selling fine post-impressionist, modern and contemporary art and holding nationally acclaimed exhibitions. There are few galleries in Britain that can match his experience or expertise or the quality of the work that he shows.

Wren Gallery: 'A Puffin', by Neil Cox

Wren Gallery: 'A Puffin', by Neil Cox - Credit: Archant

On to Burford and wWren Gallery, for twenty years the realm of Chris King. “We’ll be showing work from our two much loved Cornish based artists Cyril Croucher and Joan Gillchrest along with a selection of still life and wildlife artists”. There’s one word for Cyril Croucher’s surrealist architectural work...inimitable. I love it.

Coming into Cheltenham from the east is the Sevenhampton home of Hadfield Fine Art. Sally Coelho holds regular exhibitions of carefully chosen paintings by promising British artists, and the Gallery is available to view by appointment. Among ten artists she will bring to Fresh: is Pete Monaghan whose fascinating take on vernacular architecture finds room for bits of tin, rusty wire, broken crockery and cardboard, worked into his evocative paintings.

Paragon Gallery in Montpellier Street is Cheltenham’s leading contemporary art gallery, representing nearly sixty local, UK and international artists. Owner Eleanor Wardle is the inspiration behind Fresh: and curator of the Fair. She will bring at least nine artists, among them the highly acclaimed Ukrainian painter Iryna Yermolova, selected for the last five years by the Royal Institute of Oil Painters to hang in London’s Mall Gallery.

At the end of our journey we come to the village of Chalford near Stroud, home to two Fresh: Art Fair exhibitors. Gallery Pangolin is the fine art gallery of Pangolin Editions, Europe’s leading sculpture foundry. Pangolin undertakes bronze casting work for Damien Hirst, and cast the Philip Jackson memorial to Bomber Command and the Martin Jennings bronze sculptures of Dickens and Betjeman. Gallery Pangolin Manager Sally James says “We’ll be showing an impressive selection of bronze and silver sculpture, including the stunning ‘Walking Cloaked Figures’ by Lynn Chadwick and Jon Buck’s dazzling red ‘Inner Man’”.

Just over the road in Chalford is Wet Paint Gallery. Celia Wickham has been a leading art consultant for 25 years, specializing in the Modern British and contemporary work of such famous names as Mary Fedden, Sandra Blow, Graham Sutherland, Hockney, Frost and Piper. Among a dozen artists at Fresh: she will show the celebrated work of Sir Peter Blake.

Fresh: Art Fair is not just about pictures, there’ll be glass and ceramics too and lots of sculpture including a new outdoor Sculpture Park showing seventy works by 15 leading artists.

If you do decide to go traipsing make sure you visit the galleries more than once …most of them change what they show quite often. Eleanor at Paragon Gallery, Cheltenham says “I re-hang every two or three weeks, not always a complete re-hang but always enough to show a fresh range of work. We represent sixty artists so we simply cannot show them all at once. We tend not to do solo shows because the Gallery is just too big for one artist’s work and also because we feel that our customers want to see some variety”.

You can see all of these Galleries and many more at Fresh: Art Fair, April 27 - 29 at the Cheltenham Racecourse.

For more information, and to book tickets, visit the Fresh: Art Fair website here.