Amy Stevenson, Emerging Artists Curator
For the first time this year, Art Fair Cheshire will have a gallery entirely focussed on Emerging Artists. It has been curated by Amy Stevenson who tells us more about how she has put it together.
I was thrilled to join the team at Art Fair Cheshire and felt my experience working with artists, from recent graduates to award winning artists, such as Helen Marten, Martin Parr and Anthea Hamilton, would help broaden the range and style of artwork on display whilst building on the success of the 2019 fair, where we saw a more ‘curated’ approach at the Town Hall rooms - and a cascading and sumptuous ‘satellite’ installation at Tatton Park by British textile artist Susie MacMurray.
You may have seen our social media posts relating to the brand new exhibition opportunity for Emerging Contemporary artists at the upcoming fair, and you may have wondered how this section of the fair will be different and what purpose it serves?
By giving a platform to emerging artists, we hope to ignite curiosity, spark conversation and introduce unique investment opportunities for both first time buyers and the more experienced collectors who come to Art Fair Cheshire. Although I have been lucky enough to work with world-renowned artists and some amazing collections — championing and supporting emerging creative talent is something I always seem to return to in various ways.
Studying a creative degree allowed me to understand the kind of struggles artists face first-hand; such as, finding suitable exhibition opportunities, affording the cost of a studio and balancing making artwork with other more dependable forms of employment. Possibly one of the more precarious challenges an emerging artist can face, is finding appropriate exhibition opportunities to showcase their work to the wider audience – which in turn helps them to establish a following, an artist peer network, gain feedback, make sales and ultimately have new works commissioned by a strong client base and gain gallery representation/support. Perhaps most importantly, professional exhibition opportunities increase exposure to potential collectors; helping an artist to sell work, meaning that more work can be made!
Creativity is often elusive and hard to pin down with words alone; but the feeling or emotion a piece of art can evoke, can be clear and profound – (and arresting and bewildering in equal measures!) When an artwork has this effect, and you decide that you are going to buy it, you are giving that artist tangible, positive feedback, which is invaluable – especially in the case of Emerging Artists who may be finding their feet so to speak, and experimenting with what works and what may not necessarily work so well.
The world we have all had to get to grips with during the pandemic has been tough, and especially so for artists through a lack of exhibition opportunities - which has directly impacted their ability to make a living from their art. Additionally, many emerging artists have not been eligible to receive government support in these unprecedented times. Without exhibition opportunities – that traditionally involve a physical space – emerging artists can struggle to attract collectors and let the world know who they are and what they do.
We felt strongly that 2021 was the year to introduce a dedicated gallery space of emerging artists in order to play our part in nurturing the amazing artistic talent that Cheshire and the surrounding area has to offer.
This new exhibition will be held in the ground floor Silk Room at Macclesfield town hall and will pay homage to the rich textile heritage of Macclesfield and the surrounding Cheshire district – as we explore the work of 11 artist whose practice is rooted in textiles or connects to the subject of textiles through themes and processes such as pattern, layering, collage, etching and impasto.
This exhibition will showcase an outstanding group of emerging artists from the North West and will included a wide range of contemporary practices that you may not have come across before.
We hope that you will find this new section of the fair as enjoyable and engaging as the more established aspects of Art Fair Cheshire.
All sales made will support our local Emerging Artist community, in addition to raising money for East Cheshire Hospice – two very worthy causes!
Read more about our emerging artists and other exhibitors here.
We asked all our exhibiting artists to answer a few questions