The Other Art Fair – Critic’s Review
The Other Art Fair is London’s leading artist-led fair connecting the public directly with talented emerging artists. The second time I took part in April 2013, Rodrigo Cañete, Art Critic, was invited to give his reaction to the fair itself, rather than solely on the work of the 100 or so artists showing (an extract is included below).
A Very Subtle and Dark Man
“In my opinion, one of the three best artists in the show, Mr. Allan Martin is a refined, subtle and fine painterly painter. His palette ranges from black to black with almost monochromatic hues. His iconography borders asphyxia, placing women against a wall, cornering and dwarfing them in a proportion of one to two thirds which through portraiture places him very near Dutch landscape painting, I am thinking about Ruysdael, for example. The result is wonderful!
He showed an amazing print (These Dark Woods | Way) where he manipulates darkness and shadows in a way that reminds me of that third dimension we can see in the Old Masters’ handling of shadows, and here I am thinking about Diego Velazquez’s backgrounds and walls.
Talent like Allan Martin’s could be overseen by the gallery system because it is just too subtle and, in relative terms, inexpensive. Working in a smaller scale, he might need to speed up to the point of compromising the quality of his art in order to sustain a commercial relationship with a gallery. This is why, this kind of fair is the perfect distribution channel for him. What he needs to do is to build a loyal collector base, and he is getting there.”
Rodrigo continues, with reference to another artist, Dianne Kaufman, also working at a small scale…
“It became clear to me through this visit that in the gallery system, larger paintings allow the middleman to get his cut. That kind of system would push people like Allan or Dianne aside and that would be such a terrible pity. So good for them, keep painting small, darling! With their experience they bring subtlety, and allow art and artists to connect with the public in a different way. Viva!”