Review of a Contemporary Art Fair at Newbury Racecourse

My thoughts on my first time at an art exhibition.

Review of a Contemporary Art Fair at Newbury Racecourse

On the 12th of May, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the contemporary art fair at Newbury racecourse. As soon as we arrived, the majestic racetrack could be seen and the unnaturally beautiful weather that day only elevated the sight. There was plenty of parking space and clear signs all over the town leading to the fair, hence we faced no issues with entering. It was possible to buy the tickets online for a cheaper price, yet we bought them at the door. The clean environment really brings your spirit up too. 

The moment I walked through the doors of the art exhibition, I felt overwhelmed with colours and shapes and inspirations. More than a hundred artists had their work neatly presented, in their wide cubicle-like sections, in three rows. Naturally we started at the left and worked our way through. We had arrived just after lunch, therefore there was not a large crowd at the fair and made the area seem much less claustrophobic. Each artist had their own unique story about why they started painting and what inspired them. They also had some business cards with their credentials in case you wanted to search them up later. 

I was absolutely mesmerised by the sheer difference in each person's style of painting or creating their artwork and the beauty of the finished results. We talked to every artist: hearing their story; marvelling at their artworks; asking about the techniques used. There were many paintings that we thought were photographs, yet the artists impossibly confirmed them as their paintings. If you really liked the style of the artist, you could buy the paintings they have shown or order them online. We bought three fantastic realistic paintings by Helen Parsley

The artists themselves were beyond kind and loved the questions asked, as they replied enthusiastically with lots of advice. As I had chosen art as one of my GCSEs, it was so refreshing to see all the different kinds of paintings styles there were and how many bended the laws of physics to enhance their artworks. For example, Lin Osborn: she used a certain material, in different colours, on the back of her paper cut-outs , which reflect the sunlight making it seem as though they have lights behind them whereas they simply do not. 

Photography was allowed, but you had to ask the artist before taking a photo of their artworks. I, personally, loved Vincent Devine's latest acrylic paintings - in an album called the 'Ambigutree series'. If there was one word to describe the paintings, it would be 'drama'. He used a dramatic yet singular colour as the background, such as a deep turquoise, and in the centre were a few thin trunks of trees. The leaves of the trees were the real 'ambiguity' and were of a complimentary colour to the background. There were placed right the tops of the trees and made images of a face sideways or a sleeping woman or a musical note. Devine was a musician as well, accenting his meaningful paintings. This in particular greatly inspired me and willed me to do something similar yet unique later.

All in all, it was an absolute pleasure to have gone there and it surely set my standards high for an art exhibition. I would recommend this to ages of twelve and above, simply because it is time consuming to see every artist, and you should go on a sunny day, as the glass windows let natural sunlight in and illuminates the entire place with a jolly spirit.

Header Image Credit: Contemporary Art fair


Shruthi Lakshmanan

Shruthi Lakshmanan

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