Friday, March 2, 2012

Parallax Art Fair


David Welch

Several months ago I received an email from Chris Barlow of London, England who I’d never met or heard of before.  He said he found my art off the White Columns Artist Registry (by the way, all artists should submit their work to on-line registries for exposure) and he thought that I might be interested in exhibiting my work in London at an art fair he organizes called Parallax AF.  The submission was free so I submitted my work and was accepted into the show.  Now normally I refuse to exhibit my work for a fee because I’d be broke if I accepted every opportunity that had a price tag on it (artists beware… there is a huge industry out there that preys on artist’s desperation for recognition), but in this case the price seemed totally reasonable.  For approximately $400 I was able to exhibit one 22” x 30” drawing, two 18” x 24” drawings, five 11” x 14” drawings, and forty 5 ½” x 8” drawings.  Moreover, by choosing to exhibit drawings that I was able to roll up work I was able to bring it for free on the airplane as a carry-on.  Anyway, I flew to London for the duration of the four day show a couple weeks ago.

Fabian Busdraghi
Now to the art.  There were about two hundred artists from thirty countries or so.  People were exhibiting anywhere from one small drawing to several large paintings.  Out of the two hundred artist I estimate about half of them were of a decorative nature.  Of the other one hundred there was no one artist that stood above all the rest… instead there were fifteen or so that I thought were producing work of interest.  The work of Paul Taylor, Fabiano Busdraghi, David Welch, Julia Weck, Grehard Stephanus de Groot, and Bastian Preussager was of the highest quality and depth.  Other notable mentions were the photographers Carmen Spitznagel, Svein Traserud (whose work I’d like to see more of), Elena Duff, Marta Valls, and Irina Quintela, along with the 2-dimensional work of artists Bente Christensen Ernst, Edmund Wyss, Hendrik Moses, Vladimir Titov, and Urszula Sliz (whom only exhibited a single piece).

If only David Welch’s photographs in his totem series were larger, or better yet if he had shown some of the sculptures in person, he would’ve had my favorite pieces in the show.  Regardless what his concept was for making these totems and taking photos of them they have a charm to them just as Paul Taylor’s photographs do.  Both of these artists have created art rich in metaphor and they’ve done so in such a way as to draw the viewer in and participate in the creative process.  What I mean is that both artists have given the audience just enough wiggle room to fill in the missing blank and complete the meaning of the piece.  Art that is too open to interpretation reads as chaos to the audience… art that is too obvious shuts the audience out of the interpretive process… but art that has just the right balance sets the stage for the audience to play a small role in the action that can determine the ultimate meaning of the piece.  I liken this concept to Chinese and Japanese ink brush paintings that suggest entire landscapes with minimal brushwork.  This allows the audiences mind to fill in the gaps and engage in the creative act.

David Welch
David Welch
Paul Taylor
Paul Taylor

What I gather about the German artist Julia Weck is that she has an affinity for the handmade.  The subject matter of her work is simple which I find refreshing at a time when you see more fecal matter represented in art than you do of someone's face.  But above and beyond all else I thought her work was illustrative of what I call "punching through the target".  In martial arts the fighter derives much more strength to their punch when aiming just beyond the surface of the target.  The same principle is true for artists.  You can tell when a painter or drawer is creating their work with the finished product in mind as opposed to arriving at a finished product by consequences of their exploration of the subject or idea.  I find this most explicit in Julia's portraits.

Julia Weck
Julia Weck 

In closing I thank Gerhard Stephanus de Groot for showing his excellent little drawings which were much needed at Parallax to represent the rude and the crude and the humorous.  Bastian Presugger's works were very enjoyable to look at... I love the texture, caricature, and subject matter in what I believe were prints.  If you like my charcoal portraits you'll love Fabiano Busdraghi's photographs (http://www.busdraghi.net/works/blow-up).  I wish Isidora Ficovic would have shown some of her paintings, I wish Chris Barlow would've introduced himself to the artists (when you're in New York lets meet up), and I thank Chris and Rebecca Marcus-Monks and all the other folks that put together this exciting and enjoyable art fair.

Isidora Ficovic

16 comments:

  1. Hi Daniel, I found your blog while trying to find out more about Parallax Art Fair NY.

    I, too, went ahead and submitted work because it was free and the fee for exhibiting, if chosen, was so reasonable for NY. In less that 24 hours I have received a letter of selection.

    SO after reading your review, I gather that you will be showing in the NY show, even though you were not impressed with the bulk of the artists chosen for the London show. What aspect of your experience in London makes you choose to do it again: good press, lots of connections, even (fingers-crossed) a SALE?

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  2. Hey there,
    PAF is the first art event/fair that I am participating in aside from working with independent collectors/auctioneers so I am happy to be a part of something that I hear many good things about. Unfortunately I will not be able to physically make it to the art fair due to my available funds so my pieces were shipped there to be taken care of by someone working the show. Maybe you could give me a little bit of insight on how it works for other artists that are not present with their work. I am nervous that maybe it will not be worth it in the end just because I am not very able to network and socialize with artists and the community as if I was there. I realize that one of the main advantages of PAF is the networking and meeting of artists alike so it does discourage me a little to know that it is going on while I am in Seattle. Any information regarding the topic is very much appreciated for it will be on my mind most of the weekend.
    Good luck with your speaking and I hope that the artists are up to great standards for the first New York PAF. Enjoy and if you get a chance check out my little panel spot...Though I am not there my mind will be all weekend haha.
    Thanks much, have fun

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  3. I did the same. And i was unable to attend. But, it remains to be said that sometimes not being there is OK too. I went ahead with plans for the London show in October.

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  4. Thank you for sharing. I was researching the PAF before sending my fee and I ran across these entries. Very helpful and insightful

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  5. I've also received an invite to take part in the London event next Feb (2013). However I will be taking part in an event in Dubai at that time so it is interesting to see that there is a possibility of sending my work up there. I will look into that further. The fees do seem very reasonable (especially compared to another event I took part in in the same location) so it is very tempting. Thanks for the insight.

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  6. I am so happy to find this post and discussion. Like you, Daniel, I received an email from Dr. Barlow. I was stunned and have been seeking more information. I have not heard back- it was yesterday, but feel better having read about your experience.

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  7. Another conversation about the art fair: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Feedback-on-Parallax-Art-Fair-756247.S.198457372

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    1. Hi "Nora" - you joined Blogger specifically to place this link (which actually contains positive comments) and we know you are an internet troll who recently had other content removed by Google. Readers should be wary of you and the law will catch up with you soon.

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  9. Hi Daniel,
    Same as the others on here , I have found your blog trying to find out a bit more about Parallax Art Fair in London, as have received an email from PAF. Regardless of all the great comments about the exhibition I'm not sure it's the place for me. I gather from your article and these comments that it's a great place to exhibit paitings, photographs and drawings, how about handmade silver jewellery? I'm a bit puzzled why I've been approached. Would appreciate any comments form all who attended one of London's exhibitions?

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  10. Hi All, I've just been doing some research into the PAF as I too have been invited to apply by Dr Chris Barlow for the October London fair, but was uncertain if it was the venue for me - the venue itsef I know well and will undoubtedly be populated by collectors of the right demographic, but as I make soft felt sculptures (cuddly VW Campervans and VW Beetles) I wanted to do a bit more research before committing myself. Very interesting to read all your feedback.

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  11. Finally is it recommended to join the show or not?

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    1. I had work in a Parallax show in London last year. It was a farce - a depressing, cynical, expensive farce.

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  12. I do feel that these comments, as well as the blog post, are fairly vague... It is easy to 'make connections with artists' in any exhibition situation... but with no sales and no concrete response from gallerists/collectors, it is sort of wasted? At least in my opinion.

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  13. I participated in the Parallax AF in London 2015 and had a great time, you can read about it in my blog at www.stacidawnslight.com

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  14. did you sell anything or connect with any collectors - that is the point

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