London is abuzz with art fairs this week – Frieze London 2015 art fairs, to be exact. Regent’s Park is the Frieze hub, playing host to both the Frieze Art Fair and Frieze Masters. The contemporary fair is celebrating it’s thirteenth year, and is presenting an impressive selection from over 160 contemporary galleries from almost 30 countries. Frieze Masters’ outing it’s the fair’s fourth. It’s offerings this year are from 131 of the world’s leading modern and historical galleries, with works spanning all the way from antiquities to Medieval art; modern and post-war to Old Masters.
The selection from both fairs this year is astounding, both in calibre and sheer mass, so I’ve chosen but a snippet of the wonders on show at Frieze Week 2015 to share with you.
Scottish artist Michael Fullerton lives and works in London, having completed his MA in 2002 at the Glasgow School of Art. Working primarily in oil portraiture, Fullerton manages to capture the fleeting but oddly intimate glances of his subjects, often pairing down his compositions to their bare essentials. Fullerton’s portraits are undoubtedly contemporary – no mean feat for a portraitist, considering the omnipresent fine-line between modernity and the sometimes-stuffy mode of more classical archetypes.
Josef Albers’ series “Homage to the Square” is right up there as some of my favourite contemporary art. Albers started the series around the same time as he began at Yale (as a teacher) in 1950. There are more than a thousand works in the series, completed over 25 years, the body of which is made up from paintings, drawings, prints and tapestries. This is a work on paper, a study for a painting.
Another Scot, artist Tim Braden hails from Perth, Scotland, but lives and works in London. Born in 1975, Braden received his MA from the Ruskin School of Fine Art at Oxford University, and also attended Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. Braden’s works in painting span various techniques, both figurative and abstract, and most all of his works are as wondrously colourful as Abstract 111.
Alfred Stieglitz is one of the most influential figures in American art. Married to Georgia O’Keeffe after leaving his wife for the painter, the two artists had rather an unconventional marriage. This portrait is not of O’Keefe, but rather Stieglitz’s mistress – a woman named Dorothy Norman. A photographer in her own right, Norman and Stieglitz remained lovers for some 24 years, until his death in 1946.
Japanese multi-media artist Shimabuku is based out of Berlin. His work is often playful and curious, and this, his series featuring a well camouflaged seahorse, is no exception. This and several of the other images in Shimabuku’s ‘Something that Floats/Something that Sinks’ are captured from a 2011 video work by the artist.
Sonia Delaunay was a most fascinating woman. Born in Hradyzk – which was then of Russia but is now of the Ukraine – she moved to St. Petersburg as a young child to live with her uncle, who was a successful lawyer. She was eventually adopted by her uncle and aunt, and at 18 moved to Germany to attend art school. Upon moving again, this time to Paris, Delaunay married a German gallery owner, Wilhelm Uhde, who was gay. The marriage was not a long one, as a year later Sonia met and fell madly in love with Robert Delaunay, whom she eventually married and remained with until his death in 1941.
Los Carpinteros, or ‘The Carpenters’, are a Havana-based collective of Cuban artists. Made up of Marco Castillo, Dagoberto Rodríguez and, until 2003, Alexandre Arrechea, the group formed in 1992. Priding themselves on play and making art with a humorous edge, Los Carpinteros merge architecture, design, and sculpture to create their quirky works.
I didn’t know who Mela Muter was until I came across this painting, which is more than a shame and something I intend to swiftly rectify. Maria Melania Muter was a trailblazer; one of the first Polish women to become a professional painter, and the first professional Jewish woman painter in Poland. A friend of such brilliant minds as Diego Rivera, Gino Severini, and Rainer Maria Rilke; Muter also suffered many losses in her life – including that of her great love, socialist activist Raymond Lefebvre, who is thought to have been killed by order of Stalin.
LA-born visual artist Anne Collier works in appropriation, photographing books, album covers, posters, magazines, postcards, and various other items. Her work often focusses on and reinvestigates the same themes, including pop culture, consumerism, gender politics and feminism.
Austrian artist Gustav Klimt is probably most famous for the works from his ‘golden phase’; a series of paintings including many which feature gold leaf. This is a work on paper, a sketch, called ‘The Dancer’. Klimt painted a finished work also called ‘The Dancer’, although it was formerly titled ‘Ria Munk II’. The painting was long thought to be of the daughter of Alexander and Aranka Munch, who committed suicide after a bad break-up. Considering the sultry nature of the portrait, it was later assumed that the picture was in fact of the Munch’s younger daughter, Lola.
Artist Ryoko Aoki was born in Japan, and lives and works in Kyoto. Aoki’s simple but witty works are often done as drawings or paintings, and take their inspirations from far and wide. Drawing on everything from animation, advertisements, nature, and the art of Aboriginal Australians – Ryoko Aoki’s art is worth taking the time to really look at.
This lovely portrait is painted by a father of his daughter. The artist just happens to be Pablo Picasso, and the sitter his daughter Maya, who was born to Picasso and Marie-Thérèse Walter – one of the enigmatic Spaniard’s many mistresses. Marie-Thérèse was the model for ‘The Dream’, the pair having gotten together when Walter was 17, and the artist 45. Maya, born María de la Concepción, was the subject of several paintings by her famous father.
Both art fairs kicked off Frieze Week on October 14, with the Frieze Art Fair running until October 17, and Frieze Masters until October 18. You can read more and explore the fairs over at friezelondon.com, and friezemasters.com – as well as over at artsy.net.