British summer for posh yachties means heading the Isle of White and for art gallery talent scouts, it means heading to the Free Range art exhibition on 1 June 2006. Held at the 11-acre Old Truman Brewery site, the annual show features the best work from UK students in fine arts and design and is the largest exhibit of its kind in Europe. Rumor has it mega-collector and human art market value barometer Charles Saatchi finds future stars for his influential collection while they’re still penny stocks at Free Range. According to Tamsin O'Hanlon, one of the show’s coordinators, this year will see 2000 participants in 53 exhibits and has gotten so important that extensive press coverage is likely. “We are in the process of forming a panel of the high-brow, the great and the good who will collectively highlight the best from this year's show in their view.”
Some first-year student standouts from 2005 are returning in 2006 to exhibit their second year work. Claire Suckall is one such returning artist who has also garnered stateside recognition in recent years. The Goldsmiths College student describes her mixed drawings and serigraphs as depicting "events that take place when no one is present." Like some of Daumier’s less involved prints, she uses the loneliness of paper white space. Her installations read like orphaned ephemera gathered together as an improvised family.
by Kristopher Irizarry
There are other notable faces from 2005 doing a encore. Matt Stone, who displayed the poetic yet challenging 50 Stars, an interpretation of the American flag in multimedia print techniques. Wilson Cheng’s 3-D renderings work as proposals for metal sculptures based on shapes of digitized music waveforms.
Several newbies in the 2006 show have already received significant awards. Textile artist Aowen Jin (pictured below, 1st image) was commissioned by the Chinese Embassy to produce work for the Queen’s 80th Birthday celebrations and Chris Rowson (pictured above), entering pure form industrial design sculptures, comes as a finalist in the Transport for London Competition.
During the rest of the year, the Old Truman Brewery serves as a home to 200 small-firm graphic, fashion and product designers. For those running away from their England-docked yacht for something more grass-roots, the Brewery is right off the Liverpool Street Underground stop.
Free Range Show runs through 1 June-24 July 2006.