Louisa Warfield Art Consultant’s Top 6 Art Picks at London Art Fair 2021

Followers on my instagram account will know that I was delighted to be approved by the committee of London Art Fair to curate a booth there this year. Had life been normal, I would have been up in Islington Design Centre in the London Art Fair ‘Projects’ section meeting everyone and hanging out with the other gallerists – but life is a long way from normal and so I am at home (like everyone else) trying to avoid loading and unloading the dishwasher one more time, wiping the sides, preparing yet another meal and doing yet another load of washing (I still haven’t worked out why there is MORE washing when the kids seem to wear the same tracksuit bottoms and tops everyday – truly one of life’s mysteries!).

Anyway, I have decided to avoid doing all of the above and instead write a blog about what my favourite art picks of London Art Fair were. London Art Fair ran this year from 18th to the 31st January and was their 33rd edition. There were 65 galleries showing a range of art works from the 20th century through to today and here are six of my top picks – art works that I thought were just downright beautiful, interesting or both!

1. Patrick Heron, Girl with Jonquils, 1950 Castlegate House Gallery

Patrick Heron (1920-1999) is an important British abstract and figurative artist and this painting was love at first sight for me. The colours, the subject and the mark making, all tied together with the beautiful black frame make me want to sit and stare at it for hours. Titled ‘Girl With Jonquils’, I had to look up what jonquils were. Thanks to Shelly Hugh Jones (fab garden designer) who is also a member here , I have been put straight! Jonquils are specific type of daffodil known as Narcissus jonquilla, although the name is often used as a more general term for daffodils in certain parts of the country. 

So look closely at the painting. Spot any daffs? No, me neither. So I love this painting even more for the fact that Heron has nicked all the yellow from the daffodils and put it like a window/halo behind the woman and left the actual daffs on the table bare and green stalked. This is a painting that has, I suspect, all sorts of visual secrets that you could spend a lifetime with and never unlock. I adore. I can see this in an elegant sitting room, above a sideboard, or in a key space in a bedroom and whoever invests in this will be a lucky, lucky person indeed.

Patrick Heron portrait painting of a woman with jonquils. The painting is red, blue and yellow and framed in a black frame.
Patrick Heron Girl with Jonquils. Courtesy of Castlegate House Gallery

2. Ambrosine Allen. Bo Lee Gallery.

I think I must have seen Ambrosine’s work over for the first time over 5 years ago and I was immediately struck by it’s beauty. The image is made from tiny collaged paper pieces, Allen’s work references historical print making and engravings but the work’s three dimensionality adds such tone and depth that it is clear (after a double take) that these are more than that. Her small works are exquisite things that you just want to peer into but the larger works have a real sense of majesty. These are works that deserve to be quietly gawped at from a favourite chair in any room.

Collage by Ambrosine Allen. The collage is very detailed and a landscape of a fire.
Ambrosine Allen. A Great Advance of Fire. Courtesy of Ambrosine Allen.

3. Akiko Hirai. Beaux Arts Bath.

Ceramics are a major love of mine and in fact, were some of the first artworks I ever bought. Akiko Hirai is, I believe, one to watch. Her works are quiet, lovely, earthy things – wonderful to live with and even better – try drinking herbal tea from one of her mugs. This large moon jar is, at 60cm high, a large piece for her and I can’t help but think it could be seen as a very significant acquisition in 10 years time. If I had a spare £6000 I would be seriously putting this on my wish list. Imagine this on a kitchen island or hallway bench. This is a work that you can design a whole interior around. Gorgeous.

A large moon jar by Akiko Hirai. The post is white and brown and has large chunks of glaze on it.
Akiko Hirai. Extra Large Moon Jar. Courtesy of Beaux Arts Bath

4. Richard Cook. Contemporary Six

Finding a new painter always give me great joy and discovering Richard Cook at the Contemporary Six Gallery was one of my highlights of London Art Fair this year. Beautiful, beautiful, juicy mark making and palette. Glorious. I can’t help but feel people will be very happy living with these landscape paintings for many years and I can’t wait to start showing them to clients. His work will suit a wide variety of homes – town or country.

 A beautiful green and blue landscape painting by Richard Cook.
Richard Cook. View over London. Courtesy of Contemporary Six.

5. Masha Tehrani. Bavan Gallery.

One of the upsides of everything going online is you can get access to galleries that otherwise would perhaps never had been able to come to the art fair in person. I found the work of Iranian female artist Masha Tehrai and her gallery (The Bavan Gallery) who represents her very interesting. Having recently been avidly consuming the wonderful series on BBC Sounds ‘Moving Pictures’ my observation is that this work shares a lot of its spatial dialogue with “A Sunday on La Grand Jatte by Seurat“. I think there is something very special and complex going on in these works and the artist’s surrealist, romantic style would make for a quirky fascinating artwork to live with and at 2m wide this is sure to be showstopper wherever you hung it.

A painting of people doing different things by Masha Tehrani an Iranian female artist.
Masha Tehrani. The Illusion of Being Watched. Courtesy of The Bavan Gallery.

6. Helen Simmonds. Beaux Arts Bath.

Again, I saw Helen Simmonds still life work more years ago than I care to admit (with Jonathan Cooper Gallery at the time) and the beauty of that quiet work has stayed with me since. There are a number of wonderful still life painters in the UK, but Simmonds is always at the top of my list. Gorgeous works that work in any number of spaces and in all sorts of homes.

A beautiful still life of Chinese paint pots, bowls and a cup in light blues by Hellen Simmonds.
Helen Simmonds. Chinese Paint Pot, Bowls and Cup. Courtesy of Beaux Arts Bath.

So there you have it – my top 6 art picks from London Art Fair. Of course, I would also like to have included works from my own booth – by the amazing Sherry Kerlin and Marice Cumber, but it seems like cheating to add them on the list. Thankfully half of that job was done for me by David Glasser who selected Sherry Kerlin’s ‘The Fashion Conscious Nurse’ as one of his top picks – you can see his review here and if you would like to see the other works by either artist the link is live here until 31st January.

I spend hours and hours looking at art – whether it is online or in the old days, in a gallery. If you would like help with choosing art for your home or (home) office then 10 ideas cost £150. Or we can rehang your existing work to make it look better or create a gallery wall – this also costs £150 for a 2 hour consultation.

Contact Louisa on 07855 803509 or louisa@louisawarfieldart.com.

A ceramic vessel about forgiving yourself by Marice Cumber.
The Cup of Forgiveness by Marice Cumber.
A painting of sunflowers by Sherry Kerlin.
Sunflowers by Sherry Kerlin

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