If you regularly walk past private art galleries without going in because you think collecting art is too expensive or too intimidating, you’re not alone. There is a sense that acquiring art is something that is only within the reach of the very rich and the very knowledgeable. Although it is true that a certain strata of the art market is rather rarefied and does not include your average londoner, there are nooks and crannies that are not necessarily out of reach for us mere mortals.
Whisper is the new gallery that opened last week with just such an approach. By focusing on limited edition prints by contemporary artists, the gallery aims to make art accessible to most of us without a trust fund. The opening exhibition is a display of varied formats and techniques of printmaking , from screenprints to lithographs and etchings, with a common aesthetic undertone of pop art and urban influences.
The ghost of Andy Warhol could almost be seen at the opening party, standing between Ronnie Wood and Ben Chaplin for a well appointed photo-op. Or was that just one of Pakpoom Silaphan’s work? Perhaps it’s just the general rock tone of the whole operation as the director Jamie Wood is Ronnie’s son…
There is something for everybody, ranging from a few expressionist prints by Miro and a series of hand-coloured etchings by surreal genius Dali. If the up and coming artists are more your cup of tea, turn to the edgy, humorous work of Mark Hayward who gives potentially explosive situations a light touch by populating them with faceless little action figures. If you’re not one to hang works on your walls, Sarah Woodfine’s amazing little etchings in snow globes and dioramas are perfect pocket sculptures. In other words, it’s aesthetically very accessible.
Now as far as the financial aspect is concerned, the accessibility of the works might be a bit more subjective as the £6000 expected for a Diamond Dust Marylin by Sir Peter Blake might be a bargain for some and a king’s ransom for others. If your means are on the modest side, there are works to be acquired for less £200. Good collecting!