Highlighting eight must-see pieces at this year's Collect Art Fair, held at London's Somerset House.
Now in its 19th year, Collect Art Fair is one of the world’s most influential art fairs for contemporary craft and design, showcasing the very best specialist galleries from across the globe. It is organised by the UK's non-profit Craft Council, a body formed in 1972 to support craft makers and businesses to help them grow in the UK and overseas, through training, mentoring, advice and by showcasing makers.
The fair aims to raise the profile of exceptional, contemporary craft to a collectors’ market, gathering some 40 specialist galleries, representing over 400 artist makers from across the globe. Works span craft disciplines including ceramics, glass, lacquer, art jewellery, precious metalwork, textiles and fibre, wood and paper to works using non-traditional materials including resin and bone.
Nicky Wilson, philanthropist, collector and co-founder of Scottish art foundation Jupiter Artland is on this year's Selection Committee. She gives her thoughts on the top eight things to look out for at this year's Collect.
Amber Cowan, North Lands Creative, UK
Amber Cowan's sculptural glasswork is based around the use of recycled, upcycled, and second-life American pressed glass. She uses the process of flameworking, hot-sculpting and glassblowing to create large-scale sculptures that overwhelm the viewer with ornate abstraction and viral accrual. With an instinctive nature towards horror vacui, her pieces reference memory, domesticity and the loss of an industry through the re-use of common items from the aesthetic dustbin of American design. The primary material used for her work is glass cullet sourced from scrap yards supplied by now defunct pressed glass factories as well as flea-markets, antique-stores and donations of broken antiques from households across the country.
Dawn Bendick, Joanna Bird Contemporary Collections, UK
Xanthe Somers, Galerie REVEL, France
Xanthe Somers was born and went to school in Harare, Zimbabwe. She graduated from Michealis School of Fine Art, UCT in Cape Town in 2015, majoring in printmaking - she went on to be awarded a grant to study a MA Postcolonial Culture and Global Policy at Goldsmiths, University of London which she completed in 2020 with distinction. Her work has gravitated towards large scale installation and sculptural forms and she defines herself as a contemporary ceramic sculptor. Somers's current practice deals with creating functional domestic objects- to try and reimagine the everyday. Through a sense of play, the hope is to challenge the prevailing ideas of the ‘normal’. The bright colours, the exaggerated shapes and the over- sized pieces mock the circus that is our day-to-day.
Samuel Nnorom, Galerie REVEL, France
Born in Nigeria in 1990, Samuel Nnorom is a multi-award- winning artist whose work poetically crosses tapestry-like sculpture and pre-loved Ankara wax fabric. Since early childhood, elements that now shape his contemporary practice have surrounded him. Self-proclaimed “custodian of material culture”, Nnorom draws upon materiality in a unique way, dedicating his art to textile recycling and a sociological reflection on the human condition. Through sewing, tying and cutting, the rising artist creates intricate constellations of fabric-covered foam balls meticulously stitched together, evoking a metaphor for a “fabric of society” composed of closed social structures forming the bubbles in which our daily lives are wrapped in. Using Ankara textiles – whose origins are complex in the history of the continent, Nnorom explores its protean symbolism and reappropriates a contemporary fabric omnipresent in his community.
Ahryun Lee, Pik,d, Lebanon
Recently graduated from Royal College of Art, UK (2016), having studied ceramics in South Korea and UK, Ahryun Lee explores numerous creative possibilities by embracing different perspectives between East and West. Her practice has developed in varied ways based on using a combination of professional skills alongside fundamental knowledge of materials.
Popping colours and intriguing textures are the main feature of her work, the unique object is visually material-driven and highly skillful, which contains both aspects between tradition and contemporary.
Anthony Amoako-Attah, Bullseye Project, US
Anthony Amoako-Attah is a PhD student in Art and Design (glass and ceramics) at the University of Sunderland, where he received an MA (glass) in 2016. He completed a BA in Industrial Art (ceramics) at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. His work has been exhibited at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, and at Sunderland Museum, which commissioned him to produce an artwork for their collection in 2020. Amoako-Attah was awarded Winner in the Aspiring Glass Artists 2020 category in Warm Glass UK's The Glass Prize.
Reynold Rodriguez, Charles Burnand Gallery, UK
Award-winning Reynold Rodriguez (b.1971), multi-disciplinary designer and artist creates furniture, interiors and special projects; his work includes handmade furniture and lighting made from plaster and salvaged wood, imbued with distinct character that is both familiar and curious at the same time.
With an industrial design degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, Rodriguez has over 20 years of creative experience. He is the recipient of an I.D. Magazine Design Distinction Award and he was also a finalist in the International Design Competition in Osaka, Japan for his work in aerodynamic architecture.
SUH Moonju, Craft Scotland, UK
SUH Moonju is a South Korean artist based in Edinburgh. Her background is in graphic Visual Communication Design, with a particular focus on drawing characters. During her MFA study, she took an interdisciplinary approach to develop her artistic work by combining two different disciplines of Graphic Illustration and Glass. Through this approach, she was able to develop her art from a creative, hybrid perspective which is different from traditional studio glass artists.
She also explored playfulness within my creative practice by taking a kitschy approach in developing her glass artworks. She is inspired by Kidult toy culture and adultescent behaviour which she uses to inform her work. Her artwork gives the viewer a feeling of happiness and playfulness when they engage with the work.
Collect Art Fair runs 3 - 5 March 2023 (previews 1 & 2 March) with an extended period on Artsy.net until 12 March 2023.
This article was featured in:
The Healing Issue