Affordable Art Fair: Top Takes at the Tunnel

Good Looks Everywhere at Preview

Charm, Variety Win Results for Dealers

Pace Snobs, Interesting Works with Unexpected Themes

This explosive photo construct by Julia Callon, “Supermarket”, is 30″ x 40″, $1000 unframed, $1500, one of an edition of 5 C-prints, one of the five that Emily McKinnes of EYEBUYART (with Michael Usling) brought from Toronto that won one of the ten favorite selections of Harper’s Bazaar Senior Editor Charlotte Cowles at the fair – five of which were Emily’s (See http://eyebuyart.com/julia-callon/supermarket) Says Callon: Supermarket and Royal Bank are constructed small scale models that represent otherwise orderly places in a state of chaos and disarray. The tension in the images seeks to represent a culture of abundance and excess, exploding at the seams

The Affordable Art Show rose again for another stimulating and attractive five day run this weekend (Thursday Sep 25 thru Monday 29) in The Tunnel on 11th Avenue and 27 St, arranged in a long corridor of booths left and right. This ideal arrangement allowed the crowd to encounter every booth in sequence and not to miss any work, with all of them presented on the same accessible footing, often by the artists themselves.

Young and good looking – the crowd or the art? Actually both, as well as the staff and the artists, at the Affordable Art Show at The Tunnel, Thursday night

The preview evening Thursday Sep 25 was swarmed by a well heeled young crowd which often bought on the spot one of the copious array of interesting works, some immediately appealing and satisfying, others of slower but more substantial interest, but almost all worthy of attention, whatever your taste – and within range for all budding collectors.

"title="Another Charlotte Cowles pick:  Adam Rankin "Eric", C-Print, 30x30" from the series Moving, edition of 5; $1000 unframed, $1500 framed, from Emily McKinnes, Founder/Director, EYEBUYART, Toronto, 416-200-8774.  "

Another Charlotte Cowles pick: Adam Rankin "Eric", C-Print, 30×30" from the series Moving, edition of 5; $1000 unframed, $1500 framed, from Emily McKinnes, Founder/Director, EYEBUYART, Toronto, 416-200-8774. “

Art tells a story

AT EYEBUYART, captions were exceptionally complete, giving the story of the composition as well as the basics such as prices, which ranged from $100 to $2000. For example, Adam Rankin’s Moving Series is a set of portraits taken in the weeks leading up to the sale of his family home, says Rankin.

“In each portrait, the subject floats above and through a shared memory, heading towards something new and undocumented, collectively redefining what the idea of home and family is becoming. Moving was shot in Edmonton, Alberta in the summer of 2006. The 5th member of our family, the red canoe, has been around as long as I have. Oddly enough, it has never seen the water and was sold shortly after the Moving series was taken, along with the family home”

Location and layout of the Affordable Art Show is inspired – it ensures that visitors see every work in every booth left and right as they wander down 70 yards of corridor, and can easily engage with the beautiful and charming staff of each, not to mention each other

Ideal layout to see and be seen

This was not only a well produced show in a venue in the right place with great air and vertical space above the booths but the 70 yards or more of long corridor with booths left and right allowed attendees to walk up and down and see every single gallery on the same terms, with total accessibility to both works and gallery owners and their uniformly charming, handsome, pretty, and helpful staff (or so they seemed to us).

“To me, good art is really about telling stories,” says the idealistic Emily McKinnes, who founded the on-line gallery EYEBUYART in Toronto to support young emerging photographers, and won five accolades out of the ten awarded at the show by Charlotte Cowles, we think deservedly. She is married to Jonathan Galliban, the guitarist of Canada’s popular band, Moist.

Why online display is also worthwhile

“To me, good art is really about telling stories,” says Emily McKinnes of EYEBUYART (above) who makes sure that the photos she sells have extensive explanatory captions. Though she does have a gallery space and office in Toronto she favors the Web where “you can see all of the work and control is in the hands of the person who is looking at it,” and where “online is an opportunity for those stories to come to the forefront” which gallery staff may not have the time to recount.

Another Charlotte favorite favorite from Emily's EYEBUYART, Gabriela Herman "Jump", 20x14" from the series Self Portraits is a C-print in an edition of 25 each $500 unframed and $800 framed.

Another Charlotte favorite favorite from Emily’s EYEBUYART, Gabriela Herman “Jump”, 20×14″ from the series Self Portraits is a C-print in an edition of 25 each $500 unframed and $800 framed.

Thus, Gabriel Herman’s Jump (2007) above has this story line attached:

“This image was taken while I was living in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and It was during this period that my interest in self portraiture really grew. I often felt isolated during this time, and would often pick up my camera and set out on a creative journey; a certain light seeping into the bedroom, or an empty city street could ignite a spark and get me taking pictures. I spotted the white hanging socks in this image first, and knew that there was some sort of picture there. When I take pictures of myself, it is an exhaustive task that often ends with my heart pounding and my body covered in sweat. I jump, I dance, and I run back and forth between the scene and the camera until I feel I’ve worked out every possible angle. This image captures this fleeting, freeing moment and represents the idea of everything being up in the air.”

Emily draws on artists from Canada, the US and Britain who have all won prizes at the international competition Flash Forward that she founded four years ago. “Prizes, exhibitions, museums and being published in magazines is all great,” she says, “but to me one of the best ways to support a young artist is to buy their work, right? So I have tried to make this business about making that easy for people.”

Here is an example of how affordable her selection from young, emerging artists of the camera can be, the $500 Diner from Ryan Schude:

Ryan Schude: “Diner”, 20×24″ from the series Tableau, C-print edition of 25, $500 unframed, $800 framed. Ryan explains this striking assemblage: This photo was based on an idea I had been kicking around for about a year at the time, which was initially more focused on a couple sitting in the middle of a crowded restaurant mid-breakup. The idea was to have them sitting there quietly while the waitress was spilling a tray of food in the background. Once I decided on the location we ended up using, the idea expanded from an interior shot to the pulled out mess you see now. I kept the central themes with the man holding the flowers longing for the woman inside, and the waitress spilling the food, but the exterior perspective allowed us to throw in a marching band, a cat on the roof – we even had a huge pot belly pig that ended up not making it into the final shot. The location is in Sun Valley at an old 50s diner that isn’t in business anymore except to be rented out for shoots. The people were all cast from an actor’s website.

Here is a rather magnificent ocean wave study by Kerry Shaw that is another example of EYEBUYART’s full, museum standard captions:

Kerry Shaw: Post-Typhoon Surf Wave, Amami Oshima, Japan, 40×40″ from the series Water Brother, C-print edition of 5, $1500 unframed, $2000 framed. Shaw writes: Water Brother is a series dedicated to my brother Stuart, who died in 2001. These images are part of an ongoing series of landscapes and waterscapes captured on and near lakes, rivers and oceans. Combined images from Paraguay, Aruba, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Cuba, USA and all over Canada. I’ve learned to rearrange my longing for my departed brother, by celebrating his existence through epic imagery. I now see him in all forms of waters’ change. He is part of the cycle, a body gone back to the molecular beginnings we all come from. He is a shape shifter and these are my visual meditations. The images presented here are made up of multiple layers and combinations of captures, sculpted together to create a larger story. Each detailed nuance and gesture of cloud and waters’ surface is a character. They are carefully painted into a choreographed, waterscape dance.

Gin and pizza

We were not influenced at all in our judgment by the blue crystal balloon goblets of Bombay Sapphire East distilled dry gin from London being served with Q premium tonic, ice, black peppercorn, lemongrass stalk, and lemon instead of lime, designed to make you “brilliant and inspired”, although they were delicious. Pizza and other light snacks are also sold at the show, and Phaedon has display of art books on sale at a show discount.

If you like gin, this is the one to sip while appreciating the art and the staff of the great variety of galleries among the 46 showing at the Affordable Art Show

If you can afford $10,000...

There was a great variety of styles and subjects well executed and framed and with prices ranging from a few hundred to five or six or even ten thousand dollars (that would be Damien Hirst butterfly paintings, in his latest, mellow style, details at Manifold Editions.com) from New York and London to countries as far away as Israel and Chile.

A brief jump into high end promotion art: Damien Hirst has switched to a more palatable mode than cows in formaldehyde with these butterflies which he calls Longing (Love Poems) in this polymer engraving with etching, an edition of 55 for the Paragon Press. 2013, available from Manifold Editions for $10,000 including frame, but not sales tax. (manifoldeditions.com +44 (0) 20 7570 7202)

Many works of many hues

One characteristic of the show was the presence of many works in which many colors of every tint and shade were mixed into the work as a major element of the composition.

Rufus Knight-Webb at Mark Jason Gallery from London stands in front of circles of butterflies cut out from postage stamps by Rebecca Coles (Stamps 198, 100x100cm, $5300 before tax), a line which sold ten copies by Sunday evening, with five more on order.  Beyond the Coles is the equally colorful Event 15, by Stuart Hartley, Acrylic on Birch Ply and Beech mounted on board, 100x100cm, $6500.

Rufus Knight-Webb at Mark Jason Gallery from London stands in front of an arrangement of butterflies cut out from postage stamps by Rebecca Coles (Stamps 198, 100x100cm, $5300 before tax), a line which sold ten copies by Sunday evening, with five more on order. Beyond the Coles is the equally colorful Event 15, by Stuart Hartley, Acrylic on Birch Ply and Beech mounted on board, 100x100cm, $6500.

Rebecca Coles’ “butterflies” are handcut from recycled postage stamps and proved highly popular at the Fair, which was full of variations on the theme of variegated color detail by many artists

Another variation on many hued work, Debra Franses-Bean's "Stick-Up Art Handbag" sold multiple copies for its shinily provocative appearance,  with the contents visible through the cast resin popssibly the contents of the client's life if he or she wishes so each one is unique.  The artist attends the vacuum cast of each one, which is one reason why each is priced at $9500.  Three were ordered by Sunday night at Marc Jason.

Another variation on many hued work, Debra Franses-Bean’s “Stick-Up Art Handbag” sold multiple copies for its shinily provocative appearance, with the contents visible through the cast resin, possibly from the client’s bag or life if he or she wishes, so each one is unique. The artist attends the vacuum resin cast of each one, which is one reason each is priced at $9500. Three were ordered by Sunday night at Marc Jason.

Subtle contemplation from Vietnam

On a quieter note, a fine selection of Vietnamese work was seen at Judith Hughes Day’s display of Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art, where we found every painting offering growing appeal when given time. Immediately impressive were The Girl in the Red Hat by Nguyen Thanh Binh, 60, at $8,400 and the same artist’s First Step from 1999, $3,200, which inspired little girls to dance before it as they passed by during the weekend, we heard.

Judith Hughes Day stands in front one of her most interesting prizes in the Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art she offered (www.artnet.com/judithday.html), The Girl in the Red Hat by Nguyen Thanh Binh, 60, oil on canvas, 39.5" x 51", $6,400.

Judith Hughes Day stands in front one of her most interesting prizes in the Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art she offered (www.artnet.com/judithday.html), The Girl in the Red Hat by Nguyen Thanh Binh, 60, oil on canvas, 39.5" x 51", $6,400.

First Step, a 1999 oil on canvas by Vietnamese artist Nguyen Thanh Binh (31″x43″), $3,200, inspired many children of a similar age as the subjects to try out a few dance steps as they passed by the gallery of Judith Hughes Day, who specializes in Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art.

Artists Who Like Animals

The relationship of artists to animals was explored in some images, including this striking Little Red Riding Hood from Shlomi Nissim at Tel Aviv’s Contempop Gallery (www.contempopop.com 1 646 647 6147), which may look feral (untamed) but is not so much afterall (see caption; click to hugely enlarge photos at this site):

Shlomi Nissim's Little Red Ridinghood (C-print 40"x60" Edition of 8) $6000), actually not an attack but a romp with Red Riding Hood whose family brought her and the wolf up in a cave in Israeli (they were a religious sect, long story)  explains Yaron Lavitz at Contempop Gallery  of Tel Aviv ,  who would be pleased by selling four of the striking  images by Sunday night

Shlomi Nissim’s Little Red Ridinghood (C-print 40″x60″ Edition of 8) $6000) , actually not an attack but a romp with Red Riding Hood whose family brought her and the wolf up in a cave in Israeli (they were a religious sect, long story) explains Yaron Lavitz at Contempop Gallery of Tel Aviv , who would be pleased by selling four of the striking images by Sunday night

As its name suggests, the animal images at Feral Fine Art a pop-up gallery in Edmonton, Canada (780-903-5211) are truly wild, even though they are mixed up provocatively below with a couple of gorgeous bra-fillers in ‘Balance’ (acrylic on board, $3200). For all we know artist Jenny Keith Hughes, who with her singer-songwriter husband Jordan Norman (whose group in Jordan Norman Wisdom teeth) lives half an hour from the Rockies, may be projecting a doubly cheerful self, for the relationship of humans to animals preoccupies her as an aspect of the human condition.

Interpret this how you might, it is certainly a striking image from Jenny Keith of Edmonton, Canada, where wild nature is very close to warm urban refuges.

Jenny Keith has imagined a number of juxtapositions of human and wild, and here a wolf inspects a telephone.

Can humans coexist with wild wolves, or must they displace or tame them, seems to be the question being asked in Jenny Keith’s images.

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