Brighton Art Fair 2008

Brighton Art Fair (known to friends as BAF) is back at the city’s Corn Exchange. The annual show is organised by Worthing artists  Jon Tutton and Sarah Young, who have brought together a great collection of painters with just enough quirky artists to make the whole show interesting.

There’s a full review on Artists and Makers, picking out the best of the bunch, but here’s a more personal take from last night’s private view.

Firstly, will somebody buy me a painting by Christopher Noulton. His odd little paintings capture an old-fashioned England, full of milkfloats and whicker men, Routemaster buses and round edges of Art Deco architecture. If you like Ladybird books or Thomas The Tank Engine illustrations, you’ll join me in starting a Noulton fan club.

Natalie Martin is similarly brilliant, with a series of brooding, slightly menacing paintings that capture lost corners of buildings and deserted staircases in almost architectural detail. I’ve known Nat for a long time now (we used to exhibit at Contemporary Gallery events and at Brighton Art Market) and back then she produced installations and odd assemblages. ‘I didn’t know I could paint like this,’ she said modestly at the private view last night.

Make sure you check out The Arthouse, hidden away by the cloakroom. They produce editions of work by people with learning difficulties, and it’s all marvellous stuff. Might treat myself to that rock ‘n’ roll T-shirt.

And make sure you avoid Fran Docherty’s pottery. I do since she had a go at me at a previous BAF preview. She didn’t like my suggestion in a Brigton Festival review that the Fiveways Open House Trail was the art establishment these days… and the Fiveways committee were ‘considering taking action’ apparently. If ever I go missing, you know who’s to blame.

But do find Sam Lock‘s chunky, all-male abstracts, painted on nice bits of wood and feeling like they’ve been chiselled off the walls of buildings facing demoliton. Like Natalie, he’s an old friend from Brighton Art Market and he’s a very nice chap. A masterful (and again, very modest) painter.

Have fun finding the roosting birds, carved by recent graduate Chris Knight.

Before you leave, make sure you say hello to Democrat-supporting resident of Virginia, Farhanna Hussain, who got very excited by my Barack Obama badge.

And one last thing – if you see Fred Pipes, say hello. He didn’t appear to be at the preview last night. Maybe he said something critical of Fiveways in his blog, eh?