Five to watch as Cambridge Art Fair returns
Cambridge Art Fair sees the work of more than 150 artists – from across the decades and around the globe – go on show and sale from Thursday, November 9 to Sunday, November 12.
Ahead of this year’s fair, which takes place at the Guildhall, the Cambridge Independent introduces five artists not to be missed.
Janine Baldwin, pastel artist
Inspired by wild weather and wide-open spaces, Janine Baldwin’s landscapes are full of atmosphere; portals to another time and place.
“I seek to capture the experience of being within the landscape: the wind howling, the rain coming down, the freezing temperature,” she explains. “I’m drawn to the cooler seasons and particularly love the contrast of light and dark in snowy scenes.”
Working from her home studio in Scarborough, up on the north Yorkshire coast, Janine favours dry media – pastel, charcoal, graphite – on paper: “I’m interested in exploring spontaneous mark-making and how the paper itself can be incorporated into the artwork, using techniques such as impressed lines.”
Janine Baldwin’s work can be found on the Watermark Gallery stand at Cambridge Art Fair. See watermarkgallery.co.uk or call 01765 570038.
Janet Shrimpton, acrylic painter
Janet Shrimpton’s studio looks out over her garden – a fitting view for a painter whose first love is flowers.
“I paint floral landscape scenes, so much inspiration is drawn from nature,” says Janet. “But I would say my style is semi-abstract: although based on flowers, the textures, colours and composition are equally important.”
Influenced by both Impressionist and eastern art, Janet works on board with a thick gesso ground, allowing her to both build and scrape away layers as she goes; using mainly acrylics, she also works with oil and often adds a shimmer of gold leaf.
Although she loved drawing as a child, Janet “was a bit of a dreamer, so it was a form of escape”. It wasn’t until she spent six months in the south of France as an adult, working for a company that ran painting holidays, that she decided to take a professional tack, enrolling at Wimbledon School of Art as a mature student.
Janine has exhibited at London’s hallowed Saatchi Gallery, a show which saw her sell to a US collector.
Janet Shrimpton’s work can be found on the Carina Haslam Art stand. See carinahaslamart.com or call 01494 866914.
Jasmine Rae, oil painter
The hinterlands between land, sea and sky are a source of endless fascination for painter Jasmine Rae: inviting the viewer to project their own sense of place, her abstract landscapes draw the eye to the blurring point of the horizon.
“My inspirations are colours in the landscape, especially as the seasons change; I am truly mesmerised by how these tones interplay and define horizons,” says Jasmine.
Using oils as “they give such vibrancy and enable me to move colour around the canvas with ease”, her paintings are many-layered; while she waits for one canvas to dry, Jasmine works on another. The walls of her home studio are covered with in-progress paintings: “Having them up allows my next painting to feed off the last; this is usually how my collections evolve.”
Graduating from Loughborough with a fine art degree just last year, Jasmine, who is based in Bedfordshire, says her style has developed hugely in her first 12 months as a professional painter.
“When I first sold a painting: that’s the moment I knew others thought I had talent,” she adds. “Seeing how my work can affect people – even watching them fall in love with a piece – makes it all worthwhile.”
Jasmine Rae’s work can be found on the London Row stand at Cambridge Art Fair. London Row is based at Church Street, Baldock – see londonrowfineart.com or call 01462 347347.
Mel Fraser, stone sculptor
While sightseeing in France, an 11-year-old Mel Fraser rounded a corner to be confronted by Rodin’s Burghers of Calais: a clarion call for freedom, set during the city’s 1347 siege, the sculpture made a life-changing impression. “It was a pinnacle point,” says Mel. “A new phase of my education started – and took a quantum leap into a whole new discovery, still happening to this day.”
A member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, Mel works in stone – “it’s my passion” – and cites nature, the human condition and world events among her sources of inspiration. “An artist,” she explains, “is a conduit to absorb, reflect and transpose what they see and feel.”
Now based in Cambridge, Mel has worked in Carrara and Pietsanta in Italy, at the stone yards of Kilkenny, and with members of the Shona tribe in Zimbabwe. Known for abstract and figurative pieces, Mel’s work is held in collections all over the world.
Among her most famous public installations is Unity: a trio of larger-than-life figures, hewn from a 10-tonne block of limestone, it stands outside the GMB union’s HQ in central London. Says Mel: “It represents the struggle ordinary people faced, and still face, in a world where greed and manipulation appear paramount.”
Mel Fraser’s work can be found at the Hanoi Art House stand at Cambridge Art Fair. Hanoi Art House is based at Shenley Lodge, Milton Keynes – see www.hanoiarthouse.co.uk or call (07476) 848434.
Gwen Raverat, wood engraver
The granddaughter of ground-breaking naturalist Charles Darwin, Gwen Raverat – the first woman to both insist upon and achieve professional artistic training - was herself a trailblazer.
Enrolling at the Slade in 1908, she quickly developed her signature style; a painterly take on wood engraving.
The medium was enjoying a renaissance at the start of the 20th century and Gwen made it her own: producing her first pieces in 1909, by 1920 she was the only female artist, alongside famed names John Nash and Eric Gill, to found the Society of Wood Engravers.
Part of a group of artistic movers and shakers – including poet Rupert Brooke, painter Stanley Spencer, composer Ralph Vaughan Williams and Bloomsbury’s Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf – Gwen produced some of her best-known works while living in her husband’s native France; when he died, from Multiple Sclerosis, in 1925, she returned to the UK and reinvented herself as an art critic and book illustrator.
Settling in Cambridge just before the Second World War, she moved into the Old Granary, part of Darwin College, in 1946, releasing her acclaimed book, Period Piece, in 1949; it’s been in print ever since.
“She died in 1957, a Cambridge institution,” says grandson Willian Pryor, director of the The Gwen Raverat Archive, who is currently collaborating on a TV drama of her life.
“We’ll be offering some previously unseen, very rare signed prints at Cambridge Art Fair – it’s wonderful to be putting on such a show in my grandmother’s home city.”
Gwen Raverat’s work can be found at the The Gwen Raverat Archive stand at Cambridge Art Fair - see www.raverat.com.
Visit the art fair
Cambridge Independent is proud to be media partner for 2017’s Cambridge Art Fair.
The fair which takes place at the city’s Guildhall, in the market square, from November 9 to 12.
A tickets-only VIP private view takes place on the Thursday, 5.30pm-8.30pm.
The fair is then open to all from 11am-6.30pm on the Friday, 11am-5.30pm on the Saturday, and 11am-5pm on the Sunday.
For more information and to book go to cambridgeartfair.com.