The neutral Scandi home is perfect for the bright and breezy colours of Christmas – and London is gearing up for seasonal fireworks to make up for two years of bad news. Here we visit some of the capital’s brightest events of the month to find the Nordic look in London art.
Tucked away in a trendy Frith Street gallery in London’s Soho I discovered Jane Treays’ brilliant collages of watercolours featuring images of pottery, dogs and flowers.
Treays (pictured below, next to one of her collages) has taken up painting after a career as a documentary film maker. She once filmed René Redzepi, co-owner of the Danish restaurant Noma, officially the best restaurant in the world, for her TV series Inside Claridge’s. Turns out she’s off to Copenhagen for a week’s break…
Treays is showing at the Robert Upstone gallery where she explains her shift from film making to painting: “I was always on a plane, travelling endlessly. One day I couldn’t travel anymore, not least because of lockdown. Now nothing makes me happier than sitting at home with my pots and paints and scissors.”
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The most crowded since lockdown
Days earlier I was at arguably the busiest art party and most crowded room since lockdown. Dozens of happy art shoppers and artists packed the room of the Flowers Gallery in Cork Street.
One of those was Nigel Hall, whose large, circular sculptures are almost straight out of the Scandi lookbook. Yet, he is the Bristol-born grandson of a stonemason, whose international career spans over 40 years.
Hall was studying a piece by next generation sculptor Robert Jones. Jones’ steel work is pictured below, next to Nigel Hall.
Dozens of miniatures covered the walls of the Flowers Gallery – the exhibition was aptly titled Small is Beautiful. Two of the miniatures included a portrait by painter K Blick of her puppy and an interesting portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II by Naoki Fuku (both pictured below).
Lates night of Korean culture at Victoria & Albert Museum
On to the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Lates evening, themed around South Korea. Korea has seen a sharp rise in pop culture recently. Even here in London I pop into artists and investors from South Korea regularly now.
They have a great eye for good pieces and a finger on the pulse. Investors appear to go for big names in modern and contemporary art. There was a disco amongst the ancient sculptures at the V&A, K-beauty, fashion and tea tasting galore, plus makeup demos and dance experiences.
Well, less how to find the Nordic look in London art – but lots of interesting culture from Asia.
Still, the most exciting part of the V&A – after the ceramics department which is incomparable – is the shop on the ground floor. It’s a gold mine of gift ideas, with pointers to the treasures held within the museum
I nearly forgot: the week started with the opening of Nigel Cooke’s Atlas With Butterfly exhibition at Pace gallery in London’s Mayfair. It’s literally opposite the super chic offices of Vogue magazine.
Unable to make head or tails of his massive, abstract squirls I was introduced to someone who was. “I can see myself in this,” said figurative artist Naila Hazell. “The colours are a mix of hot and cold, the warmth of the orange and red, and the cold blue colours behind. There’s drama.”
Hazell’s own story is indeed not short on drama. She came to Britain from Azerbaijan with an art degree, worked her way up and now lives off her own paintings.