ART16: Where have all the drawings gone?

I have to admit (very ashamedly) that this was my first ART16 fair and it didn’t disappoint! Presenting over a 1000 outstanding artworks from galleries across the globe, there was a real emphasis on showcasing established but also emerging talent.


Little brother to the Frieze Art Fair, it had everything from an oversized stuffed camel, elegant Lowery-esque paintings and cute Walle-E style robots, but without being overly snobby. That’s often the problem at the Frieze, it’s all ‘who you know’ and how much you’ve got, and with little focus on the skills and flawless techniques of the represented artists. With painting becoming more relevant in contemporary art in recent years, it took prominence at the show, and although I love a good painting, I was left feeling disappointed with the lack of drawings represented. There was a couple of stand-out pieces but nothing that really ‘wowed’ or excited, or felt particularly relevant. It almost feels as though there is a shift from drawing to painting, and to be represented by theses galleries your work has to pack a punch, be a crowd pleaser and ultimately bring in the money. It’s a shame that galleries, at these types of shows, follow suit but I guess that’s the art business.

Saying this, some of my favourite pieces were paintings, including works by Emma Haworth (left) at the Rebecca Hossack Gallery, and the artist Mackie (right) at the Boo-Lee Gallery.

Another favourite of mine was this piece by Hubert Kostner called ‘Passo Sella’. So simplistic, unique and playful in its approach to making an ordinary print on wood stand out (quite literally). It reminded me how fun and clever art can be, and I certainly feel inspired to look and create work in a different way.


It’s a great show for any art lover and collector alike and is an unmissable annual event in your art fair calendar. Here are some highlights of the show that I had to document. Enjoy!

For further highlights of the show, check out the website

Featured image: Polly Morgan ‘5 South’ (and yes that is a real Burmese python!)





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