Galleries - October 2018

annual shows at the Mall Galleries would confirm –it's just that it was all spread a little too thin. This is my understanding of the thinking behind an enterprising new informal group calling themselves British Plein Air Painters who are holding their first exhibition this month at the Menier Gallery. With two of the RA's few surviving plein air artists, Ken Howard and Fred Cuming heading things up, some 27 leading figures in the field have been brought together, with 200 or more works on show. With the likes of Pete Brown, Richard Pikesley, David Curtis and Trevor Chamberlain in the mix along with a nice sprinkling of rising stars in the field like David Pilgrim, Haidee-Jo Summers, Adebanji Olade and Daisy Sims Hilditch, this show represents something of a dream team, that will hopefully change perceptions of plein air's continuing artistic relevance. Nicholas Usherwood It would be true to say that October is a big month for art in Manchester as the newly rebranded Manchester Art Fair (previously Buy Art Fair) opens its doors at the grand single arched Victorian Manchester Central. Since it all began in 2008 the event has had an exciting agenda including a charity auction of Damian Hirst doodles, the development of The Manchester Contemporary and its collector programme and record art sales including works by Tracy Emin and Grayson Perry. Plans for 2018 include affiliated events and initiatives spilling out across the whole city . The 120 Fair exhibitors are a curated selection of established galleries, emerging galleries and artist-led spaces including Ffin y Parc Gallery –who point out with pride that they are the only gallery exhibiting from Wales, and Edinburgh based Arusha Gallery. Ffin y Parc specialise in 20th century and contemporary Welsh art, and are taking a generous list of artists to the Fair including Ceri Auckland Davies and Gerald Dewsbury. Arusha meanwhile are showing work by young recent art graduates Rhiannon Salisbury, Isaac Aldridge and Sam Drake. Don’t miss the free weekend ticket offer for our readers using the promo code ‘GALLERIES’ on the Fair website. MT AND FINALLY. . . Taking note: Frieze London Oct 4-7 (see Coda), AAF Battersea Oct 18- 21, Landmark Art Fair Oct 20-21, Chelsea Art Society Oct 25-29. style is strong meat by the standards of contemporary figuration, and the Abbey's acquisition of this work has caused something of a critical storm among elements of the congregation. I can only hope that the Abbey will hold its nerve and that its critics relent when they come to terms with the powerful character of the work when it is fully and finally installed – and that they recall also perhaps just how visceral and strong so many Medieval and Early Renaissance paintings of saintly martyrdoms we now so admire, really are. The diptych and the five studies Gollon made for it go public on the weekend of 20 October as part of the Festival of St Ethelflaeda. Time was when (despite its name) that very English tradition of plein air painting still represented a significant bloc within the Royal Academy membership and the Summer Exhibition. That's long gone in the RA's race towards the often largely anonymous 'international' contemporary, with plein air's leading practitioners dispersed across a whole range of exhibiting societies – notably the New English, ROI and RBA. The effect, inevitably, has been to give the impression of plein air painting in decline, or at least, dimunition as an activity. Nothing could be further from the truth as any visitor to those societies' OCTOBER 2018 GALLERIES 11 from left M att Calder ‘Layer - Nurture’ Landmark Art Fair Rhiannon Salisbury ‘Accessorise With A Tiger’ Arusha Gallery Peter Seal ‘Untitled’ Anthony Hepworth Fine Art Chris Gollon ‘St Ethelflaeda’ Romsey Abbey in association with IAP Fine Art Paul Feiler ‘Gandria Grey and Black‘ Redfern Gallery John Walsom ‘Molesey Towpath’ Menier Gallery P romo code Good airing