London Art Fair 2015

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I visited the London Art Fair for the first time, last month.

London Art Fair interior

Held in the large, light and airy venue of the Business Design Centre, in Islington, it showcases the work and artists of many galleries, with much of the art on sale (for a range of prices). It is a maze of booths, spaces, corridors and rooms, and definitely something to explore over a course of hours, with stops for coffee and chats. What is sometimes referred to (by me) as Gallery Back (a.k.a. Festival Back) can kick in, without finding somewhere to pause.

However, I did discover work that I really liked by two artists: one contemporary, the other no longer alive.

John Stark.

Showing work at the Charlie Smith London stand, the ones by Stark that caught my eye were painted on wood panel in rich intense colours. They were very jewel-like, depicting mysterious landscapes populated by people who appear to be beekeepers, and with a nod to the Italian Renaissance. The groups of faceless hood wearing figures were sinister but also calm and monk-like.


I don’t think this piece was at the fair, but it’s very similar to the paintings I saw, and would appear to also be in that series.

painting of a beekeeper
‘Cactus Winds’ 2014. By John Stark. Oil on wood panel. 42x50cm. Photo:

Other work by the artist includes brooding landscapes, with an even closer reference to the European art of the past.

landscape painting
‘Circe’ 2014. By John Stark. Oil on wood panel. 50x40cm. Photo:



Oskar Schlemmer

I saw a print of one of his drawings on a gallery stand (I’m afraid I can’t remember which. Bad blogger, bad blogger). It really intrigued me so I looked him up, and discovered his work with the Bauhaus school and many of his designs for theatre and opera. This piece Konzentrische Gruppe is very like the one I saw at the fair.

drawing of figures
Oskar Schlemmer (German painter and sculptor, 1888–1943). ‘Konzentrische Gruppe’ (Figurenplan K 1) 1922.

You can see some of his designs, in their final form, in this beautifully odd film Das Triadische Ballet.