‘Under 10K’ by Eugene Cheung
We present the artists at Melbourne Art Fair 2018 that you might be surprised to learn have work available for less than $10,000.
Richard Lewer is know for his expositions on everyday life. Focussing on the unpleasant and in many ways the anti-aesthetic, Lewer questions how we revere the beautiful as well as the sinister.
Adelaide-based Hugo Michell Gallery (stand A4) presents There is light and dark in us all, a series of crucifixes the enable Lewer to speak on broader issues surrounding border protection policies, the politics of survival and the physical suffering of refugees. For an artist recently acquired by the Art Gallery of South Australia, Lewer’s crucifixes are all surprisingly priced under $2,000.
New life is breathed into suburbia through Alan Jones’ Cherrybrook series, presented at the fair by Sydney’s Olsen Gallery (Stand C1). Having started the paintings as digital drawings on an iPad, one cannot help but compare Jones’ practice to that of David Hockney’s recent exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.
Yet, Jones’ experimentation has a unique flair – one moment is captured and made to repeat itself forever, with an astute colour palette stirring apparently forgotten memories and experiences. Flattened by an aesthetic of collage, there is an unshakeable immediacy to each of Jones’ paintings. There will be a selection of works priced under $8,000.
Drawing from the density of language, graphic design, portraiture and symbolism, Julian Hooper has a distinct air of mathematic precision in the way he composes an image. Sydney’s Gallery 9 (stand B8) presents work by Hooper at Melbourne Art Fair this year, spotlighting his depiction of amorphous forms floating in the dimension between abstraction and figuration.
To gallerist Allen Cooley, Hooper’s works are “thoughtful and intricate” – an understatement when we consider how Hooper’s lines are continuously layered on top of each other without suffocation or visual discomfort. Many of Hooper’s works are priced at less than $4,000.
Matt Arbuckle has mastered the use of space. Each painting presented by Auckland’s Tim Melville Gallery (stand C8) demonstrates an informed understanding of terrains within the confines of a canvas. Tension is balanced with many points of release, with the works inviting a deep consideration into the simple yet complex elements of formal painting including depth, illusion and tone.
Priced at $7,950, Arbuckle’s The Search is a standout at the fair. Undulating auburn and orange hues float and collide into one another, and as our eyes follow this dynamic rhythm, Arbuckle proves how a judicious economy of paint remains both effective and affective in contemporary practice.
Cameron Hayes is known for painting that place contradictions in dialogue with one another. Absurdity and violence are depicted with a wry sense of self-deprecation, with the Australian Galleries (stand D1) represented artist presenting us AUSTRALIA: A History of Terrogees at Melbourne Art Fair 2018.
While in many ways a survey of his work from 2006-18, collectors should see this as an opportunity to appreciate the consistency of Hayes’ oeuvre in both challenging and reshaping Australia and international social history. With substantial works priced under $10,000, Hayes is definitely one to consider for the collection.
Kate van der Drift
The politics of land rights and climate change are issues continuously discussed in contemporary art. Photographer Kate van der Drift from Auckland’s Sanderson Contemporary (stand A3) captures the continually changing ecology of New Zeland, while also using these images to narrativise what is becoming our environmentally fraught world.
Van der Drift’s photographs have the effect of suspending the landscape as if in isolation; a singular tree floating in a body of water, abstracted branches flattened on dead land. Our gaze is locked at a steady point and we cannot reorient it. At the fair, all of van der Drift’s works are priced under $5,000.
Selina Foote is widely considered a leading contemporary abstract painter in New Zealand. A member of Auckland gallery Two Rooms’ stable (stand B9), Foote enters the Melbourne Art Fair this year with great verve and vigour. In Foote’s Eugenie, her mastery of rationalising the illogical in abstraction is thrust into the spotlight. Equilibrium and order are juxtaposed against bubbling portions of chaos, with stable chequered grids composed to be steady yet volatile in their suppression of oscillating rectangular forms. Eugenie is priced at $10,000 – arguably a humble sum for those who seek a masterful depiction of modern abstraction.
Eugene Cheung, ‘Under 10K’, Art Collector – Melbourne Art Fair 2018 Special Edition, 2018, page 59.
2-5 August 2018
Melbourne Art Fair (with Olsen Gallery)
Southbank Arts Precinct, Melbourne