Art fair director Sophie Helm gives us her recommendations for unmissable pieces

THE work of over 500 artists will be on sale at Manchester Art Fair, sponsored by White Circle interior design, when doors open next weekend at Manchester Central on 19-21 November 2021.

Over 130 galleries and exhibitors are taking part with paintings, limited-editions, prints, sculpture and photography from famous names, northern artists and recent graduates available for you to buy. And Manchester Confidential readers can get free weekend tickets to the fair using the code ‘MANCON

We asked art fair director Sophie Helm to give her top 5 pieces at the fair this year. 

Manchester Confidential readers can get free weekend tickets to the fair using the code ‘MANCON’

Victor Passmore – Points of Contact No 19 from Hidden Gallery

Victor Passmore's 'Points of Contact' series experimented with painterly techniques such as the treatment of light, texture, space and movement, when applied to screen printing. The organic, free-form shapes are totally abstract. This stunning, large screen print from one of Britain's most influential abstract artists, is in great condition. Passmore's break into abstract art was inspired by the artists Piet Mondrian and Paul Klee. Their writings feature nature and the creation of a dynamic harmony in art which stood for the future harmony of society. 

Beginning in 1947, he developed a purely abstract style under the influence of Ben Nicholson and other artists associated with 'Circle', becoming a pioneering figure of the revival of interest in Constructivism in Britain following the War. Passmore's abstract work, often in collage and/or construction of reliefs, pioneered the use of new materials and was sometimes on a large architectural scale. Herbert Read described Passmore's new style as "The most revolutionary event in post-war British art".

Points Of Contact No19 Victor Passmore Courtesy Of Hidden Gallery

Naroa Pérez – Trail of Touch, Cacti from Ancel Gallery

Naroa Pérez (Barcelona 1978) is a photographer awaking senses through projects researching into the sense of touch, nostalgia, grief and fear. Her practice is focused on the creative process celebrating procedure concepts as the mistake, the chance and the repetition. Playing with uncertainty. Mostly working on analogue photography. In love with E6 slides, liquid emulsion and colour printing. Her work is already at the Victorian and Albert Museum library in London. And Bodleian Libraries Weston Library Rare books collection in Oxford.

Naroa Perez Trail Of Touch Cacti Courtesy Of Ancel Gallery

Paul Fuentes – Palm Springs Tigers from Enter Gallery

Paul Fuentes is a Mexican fine art photographer, known for capturing dreamy places oozing with mid-century nostalgia. His unique and surreal perspective reminds us to pay attention to the beauty around us, and to enjoy the adventure that is life. The artist’s photography whisks us away to the heat of California. Via his pleasing pastel palette, Fuentes showcases architecture and classic cars, alongside fun and unexpected twists. Fuentes has an impressive roster of commercial collaborations and has worked on campaigns with the likes of Apple, Armani Exchange, Dior, and Gucci.

Palm Springs Tigers Paul Fuentes Courtesy Of Enter Gallery

Jane Gardiner - A Maid That Paragons Description from Heriot Gallery

Jane is a figurative painter with a particular fascination with the human face and how people communicate through their appearance. Her most recent work is based on the people she saw at the 2019 Venice Carnival. They exploit the properties of oil paint, from the drawn line to the subtleties of depicting flesh, and glory in subtle colour combinations. She implies time and movement through leaving pentimenti and uses the patterns and pigeons of Venice to provide settings for the figures. This results in complex works that evoke the atmosphere of one of the most magical places, and events, in the world.

A Maid That Paragons Description By Jane Gardiner Courtesy Of Heriot Gallery

Halima Cassell MBE – Godetia from Soden Collection

Cassell’s broad, multi-cultural background is tangibly present in her work. In a perfect marriage of her Asian roots to her fascination for African pattern work and her deep passion for architectural geometry, Cassell’s work is intense yet playful, structured yet creative; substantial and dynamic and invariably compelling in its originality. Combining strong geometric elements with recurrent patterns and architectural principles, Cassell’s work utilises definite lines and dramatic angles in an attempt to manifest the universal language of numbers and create an unsettling sense of movement. In 2021 Cassell was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s 2021 New Year Honours list, for her services to art. Her work is held in various national and international collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Hepworth Wakefield and Birmingham Art Gallery.

Godetia By Halima Cassell Mbe Courtesy Of Soden Collection

The Manchester Contemporary runs alongside Manchester Art Fair. Curated by Nat Pitt from Division of Labour, to create a collegiate fair for young galleries, artist run spaces, charitable organisations and partner institutions, and an accessible and open fair. 

Nat said, “There are so many good artists to watch out for in this year’s The Manchester Contemporary, to name a few is too difficult, if you come and find me during the fair I will give you more insight and I’m sure I will have an eye on acquiring some work myself.

“I would like to highlight a partnership booth; A Modest Show featuring works by Claire Dorsett, and a collaboration between Luke Routledge & Robin Broadley and Robin Megannity. A Modest Show is the official collateral event for next year’s touring British Art Show 09. The Manchester Contemporary are proud partners supporting artists across Greater Manchester.”

Get free tickets to Manchester Art Fair

Over 130 galleries and exhibitors are taking part in Manchester Art Fair with paintings, limited-editions, prints, sculpture and photography from famous names, northern artists and recent graduates available for you to buy.

Manchester Confidential readers can get free weekend tickets to the fair using the code ‘MANCON