Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, 24th June – 28th June
“I am really looking forward to showing at the SEE Exhibition in 2015. It was a pleasure last year to exhibit our contemporary artists in such a beautiful setting with plenty of room for visitors to stand back and enjoy the work on show. It is a great opportunity for art lovers in the South East to experience high-quality contemporary work they may otherwise have to travel to London to see.” – Patsy Dixon, Liberty Gallery
ingénu/e magazine attended the inaugural SEEArt Fair (South East England Art Fair) last year and were very impressed by the high quality and wide range of art on show.
Established artists of many styles and genres rubbed shoulders with up-and-coming talent and the galleries exhibiting did a fine job of displaying the various works with a great degree of sensibility and finesse. As they did last year, the organisers are bringing top quality galleries and artists to the Assembly Hall, creating a boutique arts event that raises the profile of the arts, social life and businesses in the South East of England. They will also be exhibiting a selection of schools art projects as well as supporting local charities. And displaying their penchant for a little showbiz, they have organised ‘the cat’ himself, Phil Tufnell, to open the event on Wednesday, and he will also be showing some of his latest art work at the fair. The four day event aims to be the catalyst for a major arts festival in Tunbridge Wells.
The organisers of SEEArt Fair are sculptor Guy Portelli and artist Mark Paul Perry; ingénue asked Guy to elaborate on the fair’s origins and purposes.
How did the idea for the fair originate?
I think that both Mark and I have been frustrated by the lack of arts opportunities in the local area and decided that possibly we had the ability to change that. We were lucky that Thomson Snell & Passmore offered us the support that we needed to get it going.
What is the concept and purpose behind the fair?
The concept is about bringing a world class arts event to Tunbridge Wells. We hope that this will be a catalyst that sparks a cultural explosion. We have seen the music scene thriving due to the Forum, so now let’s give the arts a push.
How do you feel the fair benefits the town of Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding areas?
An event on a large scale brings money, culture and opportunity to the local community. There is no down side to an event like this.
What did you learn from the first SEEArt Fair last year?
The diversity of skills required in order to deliver, from designing the layout, to building the stands, lighting, politics and marketing, a bit of patience and a lot of drive, and above all setting out the vision and then selling the dream.
Tell us a little about upcoming artists who will be exhibited at this year’s fair.
We are very excited, as this year we have found some absolute gems, from as far afield as Australia and South Africa. We are bringing art to Tunbridge Wells that takes your breath away.
How do you see the future of the fair?
The art should be spilling out of the Assembly Hall and into the streets, bringing the arts festival buzz to Tunbridge Wells.
Would you like to add anything else?
Without the support from the sponsors, galleries, artists and audience this could not happen. So thank you to them.
“NOHO Artists are excited about bringing their selected artists from London to Tunbridge Wells again this year. NOHO Artists is a collaboration of artists representing themselves from London. We do not have a bricks and mortar space and saw SEEArt as an opportunity to show our work, make sales and to cultivate a new audience. Though we were started by Fleur Deakin and myself north of Soho (hence the NoHo tag) we are ambitious that our footprint should not be solely defined by postcode. There are folk with a discerning eye to view art and buy great work everywhere. As last year proved at SEEArt.” – Rod McIntosh of NOHO.
Schools Project 2015
Both SEEArt Fair Directors, Guy Portelli & Mark Paul Perry are enthusiastic about representing young artists in the 15 to 18 year age group at the SEEArt Fair.
They are inviting schools in a 15 mile radius of Tunbridge Wells to submit images of pupils’ artwork to the selection panel of judges for consideration. Thirty pieces of work will be selected and exhibited at the fair with the overall winner receiving the Thomson, Snell & Passmore Award.
Last year Thomson Snell & Passmore, the main sponsor of the fair, presented the Arts Award to Florence Moore at the opening night on 10th July. Florence said, “Being selected for the Best New Artist award and actually winning is still a really surreal concept to me! I feel so grateful to everyone for the chance to prove myself.”
Creative snapshot 1
Louise Giblin, Member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors and a world leading body cast sculptor is exhibiting again this year.
She had this to say about last year’s fair: “It was exciting to see so many prestigious galleries and international artists at the inaugural SEEArt Fair. The venue was transformed into an extraordinary contemporary art fair and was well attended by collectors interested in acquiring and commissioning new work – a really successful fair.”
Louise will be exhibiting again at this year’s SEEArt Fair. Her subject matter is the human form and models include top sports people, celebrities, stars, politicians, musicians, dancers, businessmen and pregnant women. She grew up on the Isle of Wight then studied Sculpture B.A. Hons. at Brighton Polytechnic and History and Theory of Modern Art M.A at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London. Her tutors included Antony Gormley. Based in East Sussex, her sculpture and drawings exhibit and sell internationally.
Louise cast five top athletes’ torsos for Body Casting Olympians, Mall Galleries, and British Olympic Foundation Balls: Beth Tweddle MBE, Dame Kelly Holmes, Sally Gunnell OBE, Kriss Akabusi MBE and Paralympian swimmer Darren Leach.
In November 2014 at Gallery Different in London, Louise first exhibited ‘Living Legends/Lest We Forget’, the result of two years’ work. The Living Legends series includes sculptures of TV presenter Michael Portillo, skier and philanthropist Heather Mills, ITV’s Dancing on Ice skater Daniel Whiston, Duncan Goodhew MBE, Olympian and ex-Chairman of the British Olympic Association Lord Colin Moynihan and soul singer Reuben Richards. Lest We Forget is a hand and body cast collaboration ending 2018, working with serving and ex-military each having served in a different war.
Creative snapshot 2
A new exhibitor at the fair this year is JGM ART.
Jennifer Guerrini Maraldi was immersed in the contemporary art world early in her career as owner/director of Powell Street Gallery in Melbourne during the 1970’s before relocating to London. Powell Street Gallery was recognised as one of the leading Australian contemporary galleries of the times, specialising in the work of some of the finest established and emerging Australian contemporary artists. “Fine Art is embedded in my DNA!” Jennifer says.
In the early 1990’s Jennifer and her husband Filippo travelled to Australia from Europe to be completely ‘knocked out’ by the discovery of this unfolding art movement from Australia’s remarkable indigenous artists. Consequently, Jennifer immersed herself in the study of this fascinating art movement and indigenous Australian culture.
Today, as a private dealer, Jennifer is absorbed in her passion for collecting this art and her vast knowledge of the contemporary Australian Indigenous Art Movement has resulted in founding her successful London based company, JGM Art Limited.
Wednesday 24th June: Sponsors Private View and Press Night, 6pm – 9pm
Thursday 25th June: Coffee, Cake & Art, all profits go to Ellenor x (formerly chYps), 11am – 4pm
The Fair will be closed between 4:30pm – 6pm
Thursday Evening 25th June: Collectors, Artists Private View incorporating presentation of the Schools Prize, 6pm – 9pm
FREE Friday 26th June: Open to the public 11am – 8pm
Saturday 27th June: Open to the public 11am – 6pm
Sunday 28th June: Open to the public 11am – 5pm
The day entry rate is £6 with concessions at £4, and for under 16s entry is free.
Visit www.seeartfair.co.uk for full details.