It’s a well-known fact that female artists haven’t enjoyed the same recognition, patronage and prestige as their male counterparts. In recent years, feminist art historians have had to rewrite and revise art history to include the stories of female artists; beforehand only a few figures sprung to mind — such as Georgia O'Keeffe or Frida Kahlo — when considering leading female names. Only recently have we seen galleries like Tate Modern champion women artists through solo retrospectives, with artists such as Agnes Martin, Sonia Delaunay or Fahrelnissa Zeid finally getting the attention they deserve.
But things are gradually changing. As blockbuster galleries announce their 2018 programmes with more and more female creatives on the bill, young women and emerging female artists are steadily encountering the same opportunities as men within the art world, whether it's running spaces and galleries, or making art themselves. Here at the Affordable Art Fair, we’re delighted to promote so many women at our fairs and online; and what better way to celebrate Women’s Equality Day than by highlighting the vast array of female artists that are part of the Affordable Art Fair family. From the minimal landscapes of Hannah Ludnow to the structuralist cityscapes of Melanie Bellis, our website has an expansive range of female artists to collect and inspire.
Showing with Bristol Contemporary, Chowwai Cheung’s recent series of collagraph prints sees landscapes and geometrics collide. In these intriguing, layered prints made through collage, contrasting shapes jostle for attention, as Chowwai juxtaposes the flat planes of green coastal paths with angular three-dimensional forms and shifting, muted colours. Her work is informed by transient moments of daily life and the relationship between humans and weather; from natural rock formations to manmade buildings, and the spaces in between. Cheung studied printed textiles, which gives her works their pattern-like quality. A new addition to the Affordable Art Fair online platform, we’re thrilled to have her on board!
We’re huge fans of the brooding and intense paintings of Hannah Ludnow, artist and founder of Columbia Road Gallery. Her work breathes a sense of both drama and calm, a beautiful addition to a busy room or a quiet corner. Inspired by the light and skies of where she grew up — the Cornish coastline — Hannah’s work gives an atmospheric sense of the outdoors whilst still maintaining its abstract feel. Deeply evocative, their firm favourites with both the Affordable Art Fair team and our visitors alike.
We love the delicate, transient works of Simone Webb, renditions of flora and fauna which carefully illustrate cycles of bloom and decay. Simone deals with contrasts beautifully; fragile, pale pink roses stand out on midnight blue backgrounds, whilst dark blue petals contrast to the stark white paper they lie on. With intriguing names such as Silence is Yours or Dancing in Radiance, these prints have a life of their own, as petals seem to drip from the work or fade into the background. Definitely one to watch!
The structural, monochrome works of Melanie Bellis serve as a fascinating visual diary of London’s ever changing skyline, as cranes, scaffolding and new, now-familiar buildings populate her prints. Key to Melanie’s work is the theme of change: she’s drawn to unfinished, metamorphic buildings that seem suspended in a state of flux. Melanie creates etchings — an intense printing process which lends itself to the starkness of her urban subject matter. But the intensity of Melanie’s etchings also give way to the lightness of the background, creating a captivating yet subtle interplay of dark and light forms.
Another Cornish based artist, Nickie Carlyon’s subject matter waxes between figurative and landscape, using rich oils and inspired by travel, social history and her own family memories. Her latest collection, In My Mother ’s Footsteps, was created after a forgotten set of negatives were found, taken when her mother was a child and allowing a glimpse of her idyllic childhood growing up in Vancouver. This weaving of personal narrative into her artistic practice creates pieces which are both evocative and touching, little glimpses of the past which are tinged with a deep sense of nostalgia.
The intriguing and detailed fabric sculptures of Anne-Valerie Dupond play with caricatures, humour and stereotypes - she may create a hunting trophy using flowery fabric, or wearing a whimsical expression. As Dupond explains, “I try to create a world crafted from sensitivity, ranging from the bestial to human representations such as busts of historic figures, pin-ups, and baroque sculpture.” Represented by DECORAZONgallery and based in France, particularly beautiful are her Fabric Paintings series, which show naturalistic female forms painstakingly rendered through fabric, creating peaceful yet lighthearted expressions of women sleeping. In the past, Dupond has collaborated with fashion house giants including Kenzo and Comme des Garçons, but still finds time to create her sometimes playful, sometimes serious fabric works; we can’t wait to see what she does next!
Erin Cone, Escape, £4,450, Acrylic on canvas, H 81 cm X W 112 cm X 4 cm, 4kg, 2008, DECORAZONGallery.
Featured artworks from top to bottom:
Chowwai Cheung, Dartmoor Red, £1,500, Collagraphs on paper, H 104 cm X W 83 cm X D 4 cm, 20kg, 2017, Bristol Contemporary Art.
Hannah Ludnow, Coastal Drift, £650, Oil on board, H 40 cm X W 40 cm X D 1 cm, 3kg, 2016, Columbia Road Gallery.
Simone Webb, Silence Is Gold, £685, Giclee on paper, H 75 cm X W 75 cm X D 0.1 cm, 1kg, Edition of 5, 2016, The Contemporary London.
Melanie Bellis, Tate Modern Project, £300, Etching on paper, H 72 cm X W 54.5 cm X D 2 cm, 2kg, Edition of 20, 2014, Plein Air Contemporary.
Nickie Carlyon, In A Blue Cloud, £400, Acrylic on canvas, H 40 cm X W 40 cm X D 4 cm, 5kg, 2017, Prince and Pilgrim.
Anne-Valerie Dupond, Lea 2, £2,000, Mixed-media on canvas, H 80 cm X W 100 cm X D 4 cm, 2kg, 2014, DECORAZONGallery.