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London Art Fair Platform 2021

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Folk Art

Cavaliero Finn is delighted to present the work of four artists at London Art Fair Edit: Platform 2021

From 20th – 31st January Cavaliero Finn will be presenting work by four artists as part of the London Art Fair PLATFORM 2021, which is of course online only this year, due to the lockdown. 

Like last year, London Art Fair PLATFORM features a small selection of galleries showing work which responds to a theme.  This year that theme is FOLK and the showcase is once again curated by Candida Stevens. The work selected looks at our cultural heritage, our communities and our identity, and how we choose to express this knowledge and pass it on as inspiration.

Our four chosen artists are Helen Ballardie, Frances Priest, Björk Haraldsdóttir and Soledad Christie, a ceramic artist who is new to our portfolio.  Each of Cavaliero Finn’s chosen artists’ work has roots in folk art, be that working in response to cultural stories and decorative images from the past or employing traditional techniques passed down through cultural communities in the making of their work.  All four artists look back on cultures, values and aesthetics around the world and weave these into their work in different ways using different media, in this case, clay and canvas.  Scroll down to see our London Art Fair Edit Platform Collection

Helen Ballardie: Nasturtium Leaf and Flower, Acrylic and oil on Canvas, 102 x 76cm, 2020

Narrative and storytelling is a very strong part of Helen Ballardie’s paintings and she takes elements of stories from the past and incorporates them into her paintings, bringing a new story to life.   One of her biggest influences is painter Henry Darger (1892–1973), a self-taught artist who created and inhabited an imaginary world through extensive writings, paintings, and drawings. His private collection was shown at the American Folk Museum in New York in 2010.  Like Darger, Helen collects writings, paintings and drawings and encompasses elements of these into her work.  Cavaliero Finn is presenting a new body of work for London Art Fair which sees Helen working with a range of cultural floral motifs found in her collections of Victorian collages and Indian miniatures.  Helen likes to take her subjects out of their context, to give them a flat background. She’s not interested in full landscapes or interior scenes, but rather the interplay between abstraction and figuration, flattening the images into more of a map like configuration.

Soledad Christie: Altiplano Silueta I, Hand-built ceramic sculpture, 24 x 15 x 8cm, 2020
Altiplano Silueta IV (black), Hand-built ceramic sculpture, 30 x 31 x 20cm, 2020

Ceramic sculptor Soledad Christie was born in 1962 in Viña del Mar, Chile. She has lived in San Pedro de Atacama for almost 30 years. Surrounded by a vast and amazing landscape, she connects with the strength of an ancient local language: pre-Columbian pottery. Her work is deeply rooted in the ancestral pre-Columbian pottery tradition and its ancient shaping, burnishing and firing processes. It is in the slowness of the process of building each piece where she finds a sort of rhythm between volume and form, stillness and movement, balance and tension. 

Soledad makes one-of-a-kind hand-built, sculptural vessels using the traditional techniques of pinching, coiling and paddling. Each piece is burnished with a small river stone several times during the drying process, in order to achieve a tactile surface. Each piece undergoes two firings, a low-temperature gas kiln firing and then a traditional open sky firing, using llama and goat dung as fuel.

Through an ongoing relationship with clay, the artist’s work expresses intuitions and sensations that are constantly present when inhabiting the vast Atacama Desert and Altiplano territory and its outstanding atmosphere. The territory has become a part of her identity; silence, solitude and vastness have shaped her and her work immensely.

Björk Haraldsdóttir – Alfkona I, Stoneware and Black Slip, 53 cm (H) x 21 cm (W) 2020 – Alfkona II, Stoneware and Black Slip, 36 cm (H) x 12 cm (W) 2020

Originally from Iceland, the strong geometric patterning and both natural and architectural forms of Björk Haraldsdóttir’s works are heavily influenced by her Nordic upbringing and training as an architect.  At the core of Björk’s work is a conversation between three-dimensional form and two-dimensional pattern. The pattern is draped across the form and changes the perception of the shape. The artist started her ‘pattern journey’ referencing old textile work and stitching patterns from Iceland and the Nordic Culture.  This has developed over time into patterns inspired by ideas and images she comes across in nature and daily life. Björk is constantly working into the pieces ‘making stitches’ or lines of weave and the result is often cloth-like in appearance. The ceramic sculptures are mostly built in stoneware clay and painted with slip which is then scraped back to reveal the base material in two-tone monochrome patterns. The scrape marks are visible and the surface is a plane of shallow relief, much like a tapestry. The tactile nature of these pieces is important – they are an invitation to touch, much like one would like to handle a draped cloth.

Frances Priest: Gathering Places – Grammar of Ornament – India Series II Small
Sculptural Vessel, 20cm diameter, Incised ceramic with oxide wash, vitreous slip & glaze

Artist Frances Priest’s work is inspired by the Grammar of Ornament, a seminal book first published by Owen Jones in 1856 that looked at decorative patterns around the world and the influence of different cultures on decorative design.  In the opening chapter of the Grammar of Ornament, Owen Jones remarked upon the fact that one of the universal qualities among man is the desire to make beautiful things ‘From the universal testimony of travellers it would appear, that there is scarcely a people, in however early stage of civilisation, with whom the desire to ornament is not a strong instinct. Man’s earliest ambition is to create . . . to stamp on this earth the impress of an individual mind.’

Like Owen Jones, Frances has travelled extensively and uses the designs documented in his book as the starting point for her contemporary work, looking back on these distinctive decorative cultural patterns and colours and applying them innovatively to her own work.  Frances incorporates her love of colour and pattern, gathering motifs from different places to create new decorative patterns, incorporating different glazes and colours to recreate the feel of a particular country or historic period. Each hand-built ceramic form incorporates inscribed line, earthenware glaze and vitreous slip.

Participating London Art Fair Edit Platform 2021 galleries alongside Cavaliero Finn are as follows:

  • Candida Stevens Gallery
  • Ed Cross
  • Gibbons and Nicholas
  • jaggedart
  • MADEINBRITALY
  • OutSideIn
  • Robert Young Antiques
  • Ruup and Form
  • Ting-Ying Gallery
  • Vessel Gallery

The London Art Fair Edit Collection

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