Saturday, 12 May 2012

FORUM/ Art Fairs

Hosted at G39, Cardiff on Thursday 29th March 2012
Gordon Dalton/ Amber Mottram
Following the Dan Rees talk, we had a great turn out at March’s Forum. Gordon Dalton got the ball rolling by discussing the nature of Art Fairs, experience he has gained within his own painting practice and as a curator and co-founder of Mermaid and Monster.

Mermaid and Monster is a Swansea based contemporary art agency. They represent both emerging and established artists and promote their work through curatorial projects, publications, events, and art fairs. Their artists include Nicholas Dietrich Williams (currently exhibited at Chapter’s Art in the Bar), Paul Emmanuel, Helen Sear and Alistair Owen.

M&M have had a range of experiences at various art fairs. Generally the commerciality of the experience is described as a necessary but arguably unfortunate aspect of gallery representation. The spaces are small and compact. The necessity for the buyer to meet the maker is considered during the discussion. It certainly helps, and self-promotion appears to be integral to any form of success, commercially or otherwise. Conversely, if a piece of art appeals to a buyer or dealer at an art fair, (whether that be for it’s artistic merit or simply because it matches their sofa,) they’ll buy it. Gordon describes positive experiences at smaller art fairs such as Manchester Contemporary ( who support a wider range of regional galleries. Still in it’s early years, The Manchester Contemporary aims to encourage and develop a market for critically engaged contemporary art in Manchester, with a focus on curating higher end galleries alongside those that are new and emerging. (

The question is raised; is there room for an event like this one in Cardiff or South Wales? How would it function, or affect the art being produced and promoted? March’s Forum occurred days before two artist-run, non-profit events: The Art Carbootique and Made in Spring, both aimed at promoting the diverse arts community in Cardiff and South Wales.

Gordon Dalton is an artist, curator and writer, recently having co-curated Motorcade/ Flashparade’s ‘The Man Don’t Give a Fuck’ in Bristol with Tom Goddard. See his website to see more of his work and for news on their upcoming projects and events. You can also subscribe to their mailing list, just contact

 Gordon Dalton, Installation shot, 2012

Since graduating from a BA in Fine Art at CSAD, Amber Mottram has recently exhibited her work at Chapter’s ‘Art in the Bar’ and currently occupies the TestBed space at Oriel Davies Gallery in Powys.  She describes her recent experiences at two art fairs in London through Woodbine Contemporary Arts, a gallery based in Uppingham.

Amber creates visceral works that lie between painting and sculpture, using thermoplastic screed (road paint). Manipulating the material’s depth and tactility, she experiments with chance against intention. Oscillating between representation and abstraction, the work represents an organised chaos in which her overflowing, organic forms are confined by gridded frames and structures. She explores the materiality of the substance to its limits and has recently departed from her explorations of colour, creating several monochrome works for the Oriel Davies exhibition and Battersea Art Fair. See Amber's Axis profile at, and the Oriel Davies website for more information on the Monopours exhibition. It is well worth a visit, especially alongside the Oriel Davies Open 2012. Both exhibitions continue until the end of June. 

Amber Mottram, Monopours, 2012

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