This March the Collect Art Fair returned to London’s Somerset House, bringing together over 400 of the world’s leading artists in contemporary craft and design. From ceramics to pieces made of precious metals and art jewellery – the fair was a feast for the eyes and an inspiration for the minds of collectors and interior designers alike! Anna Agapova took special note of some exceptional highlights when she visited the event. Here are just a few that caught her eye:
Bio installations have quickly become a top trending art form. Artists explore natural as well as biocompatible waste materials and use them to create installations, which are often inspired by nature and a yearning for a cleaner, more environmentally aware lifestyle. Issues such as climate change and environmental challenges are the top focus for many artists, who are looking for ways to raise environmental awareness and reduce carbon footprint.
Louise Frances Smith of Margate is an artist who demonstrates this trend through her fascinating hanging installation of a seaweed bioplastic and a cabinet of objects made from crushed Pacific oyster shells.
Zena Holloway is an innovator and top-trending artist who uses her ingenious imagination to create breath-taking installations inspired by marine life. She creates soft wall-hangings and root sculptures out of wheatgrass seed, guiding the intricate root structures that sprout within beeswax moulds into beautiful forms. Her work aims to highlight the beauty but also the vulnerability of coral. Her aim is also to spread awareness of the urgent need for ocean conservation. This innovative approach to art truly showcases Zena’s talent and passion for creating something that is both, beautiful and meaningful.
Art can be a powerful tool in raising awareness and preserving marine life. This is perfectly demonstrated by Japanese artist Ikuko Iwamoto. She calls attention to the dire threat of plastic pollution, which has already caused irreparable damage to vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems. To drive this message home, she created a series of porcelain organic forms depicting sea creatures that have been destroyed by plastic waste. Thanks to her art, we are given the opportunity to reflect upon nature’s fragility, and are encouraged to consider our own responsibility when it comes to preserving the planet.
As top art trends evolve, more and more artists are intrigued by the traditional notion of social icons. South Korean artist Hyesook Choi is one of these innovators with her “Relic” series that focuses on iconic 21st century luxuries such as handbags from leading fashion brands and brand-name trainers. Using glass to craft these symbols of style and fulfilment, Hyesook Choi creates an interesting illusion of fragility – a potential future relic that offers a window into modern consumerism. Visitors to the Sklo gallery have the opportunity to come face-to-face with this archive of future relics, crafted from rough glass and open for interpretation.
QEST is currently exhibiting works from artists who take inspiration from the natural world. Among them is a work by Mandy Coppes-Martin, featuring a 1.5m diameter circular piece created with reconstituted pieces of family memorabilia. The artwork is made up of vintage leather gloves intertwined with lace, paper, and silk threads to create shapes reminiscent of life forms found in the physical world, such as diatoms, microscopic cells and skeletal shapes. For this particular work, an essential component was vintage lace made by the artist’s great-grandmother.
The top art trends for this season include a range of timeless colours like terracotta, copper and burnt sienna. Craft-making artists have made the most of this trend by producing some awe-inspiring pieces in new and unexpected hues. Perhaps most impressive was Valeria Nascimento, who presented her beautiful porcelain artworks in striking terracotta colours.
Lis Costa, a paper artist represented by Jaggedart gallery, has captivated the minds of critics and art-lovers alike with her remarkable pieces from her Copper Series. Using mere strips of paper with a tinge of copper gold Lis Costa creates beautiful landscapes. Each stunning piece created by this extraordinary artist invites deep contemplation by the viewer.
Paper artwork is now more popular than ever and Su Blackwell is at the forefront of this movement. Su Blackwell, an artist working predominantly within the realm of paper, presented a stunning series of book-sculptures.
Paper has been used for communication purposes ever since it was invented. Su deploys this uniquely delicate material in order to reflect on the fragility of life our dreams and our ambitions.
While paper art is on trend, Anne Petters has presented a brilliant and poetic way to rethink paper as a medium. Using glass, she crafted captivating book pages. The transparent surface enables us to experience the beauty and the delicacy of the material. Her approach is not only innovative but also poetic and metaphoric.
More and more artists are looking at ways to bring recycled materials to a new life by transforming them into pieces of art. As an interior designer, Anna Agapova gets fully behind this trend: “By acknowledging these unique and original pieces, I can help guide my clients to appreciate these works even more when considering their own home decor.”
The artist whose works caught Anna Agapova’s eye more than any other was Claire Malet: “She creates pieces using both precious and non-precious materials as though they hold equal value. Whether it’s a sheet of silver or a tin can, the artist finds great joy in showcasing the interpretation of the relationship between what we see as valuable and the raw material she chooses to use in her work.”
Shannon Clegg is a South African artist who adheres to recreate biophilic design principles within her art, helping us to deeper connect with nature. Her ‘Bouquet’ works are made entirely of native plants without featuring a traditional vase. An example of her work is her ‘Yellow Kangaroo Paw’ piece which transforms ordinary flowers into an elegant vessel form that stands on its own. Clegg uses biophilic design and plant material in her statement pieces to show the healing and calming effects of nature.
Overall, this year’s Collect Art Fair was an incredible event that showcased some of the most innovative trends in art today. From experimental sculptures to bio installations, there was something special for everyone at this year’s event.
Text: Anna Agapova