A Younger Shape to Edinburgh Art Fair 2022

James Grossman, 'Contour', laser-cut acrylic
James Grossman, 'Contour', laser-cut acrylic


Fri, Sat 11:00 - 18:00; Sun 11:00 - 17:00

From: 17 Nov 2022

To: 20 Nov 2022

O2 Academy Edinburgh
New Market Road
Edinburgh & the Lothians
EH14 1RJ

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A preview of EAF2022 can be seen here.

Offering valuable exposure to both the established and the emerging, Edinburgh Art Fair returns for 2022, reignited by a handful of young artists energising the commercial Scottish art scene. Graduate artists take centre stage at this year’s edition, which returns for the first time since 2019. 

Over fifty vibrant presentations from across the UK and overseas are staged for the weekend at the O2 Academy, offering affordable art to an eager Scottish audience. Ranging from the ultra-contemporary to the traditional, some iconic names greet visitors at the entrance: twentieth-century prints and drawings by major figures from art history, including original works on paper by Picasso, Miro, and Emin. They make Hidden Gallery’s booth appear something of an anomaly, in contrast with its neighbours offering more locally-made work.

Still life, cityscapes, and portraiture dominate in neon, resin, gloss, and glitter. With an appetite in favour of visual appeal, available work is bright in colour and practical in size, placing this fair a destination for those who want to start collecting. 

Rowena Hutchinson, Time and Space, 2002, acrylic paint and tissue paper on cardboard
Rowena Hutchinson, ‘Time and Space’, 2002, acrylic paint and tissue paper on cardboard

Most exciting is the work by younger artists and recent graduates. Rowena Hutchinson, a 2022 graduate of Edinburgh College of Art and current student James Grossman, stand out at Arte in Europa, owned by the Fair’s founder Andy McDougall. He presents a ‘next generation’, with an impactful display of the artists’ work, whose practices both exist between design and fine art.

James Grossman, 'Bubble Boi', large-format PLA 3D print
James Grossman, ‘Bubble Boi’, large-format PLA 3D print

Digitally produced, Grossman’s 3D wall art brings to EAF printing technologies scarcely seen elsewhere in the fair. An interest in space also occupies Hutchinson’s practice, who brings an inspiring and personal influence to impressively sized shapes that exist between painting and sculpture. 

A further two ECA graduates are hosted by BirdsNest. A younger gallery, it represents Mary Bowen and Lucy Hatton, following presentations of their striking work at this summer’s graduate show.

Mary Bowen, Alchemical Cowboygirl in the Fight Against the Man, 2021, oil on canvas
Mary Bowen, ‘Alchemical Cowboygirl in the Fight Against the Man’, 2021, oil on canvas

In bold colour, Bowen witfully arranges motifs from the wild west with surrealist influence. Painted frames extend their surface. Lucy Hatton’s cinematic compositions are particularly popular. 

Lucy Hatton, Friends forever, 2022, oil on board
Lucy Hatton, ‘Friends forever’, 2022, oil on board

In place of spectacle and sponsorship, which distract at art fairs from the higher end of the commercial spectrum, EAF offers a fun and relaxed environment to buy original art. And it is the support of student and emerging practice that elevates the Fair with a youthful excitement.

Thanks to these galleries, Edinburgh Art Fair makes a small but significant effort to represent the inspiring creative legacy of art students establishing their practices in Edinburgh today, while maintaining a place for art that appeals to all.

With thanks to Danele Evans for this review. The event is ticketed – see the EAF2022 website (left). O2 Academy Edinburgh is the former Edinburgh Corn Exchange.

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