Robert Young and his wife Josyane will host their 12th Annual Folk Art Exhibition featuring a collection of engagingly individual and curious pieces from Thursday 12th until Saturday 21st May, at Robert Young Antiques, 68 Battersea Bridge Road, London, SW11 3AG. All items will be available for sale.
Folk Art is a generic term coined to describe both two and three dimensional pieces created by ‘untrained’ artists. Generally these pieces were made to serve a function, with examples such as hand carved and painted decoy birds, figurative weathervanes, trade and tavern signs, and domestic turned and carved wooden items for the preparation and consumption of food and drink. Unlike ‘traditional’ antiques, these pieces are not generally restored or renovated, but are cherished and sought after for their raw, weathered, richly patinated, well handled and ‘used’ qualities. It is these naturally worn and patinated surface textures, that somehow enhance both the graphic and sculptural elements of such fundamentally primitive creations, that have recently attracted growing acclaim and demand.
Fine examples in the exhibition include a life size Wool Merchant’s Trade Sign in the form of a Ram, with stylised carved fleece, a full bodied Butcher’s Trade Sign in the form of a Herefordshire Bull, and a delightfully naive Sailor’s Work Panel depicting Two Ships at Sea, made from driftwood carved and applied to a recycled packing case panel. Individually created they reflect the skills of their anonymous makers and their inherent instinct for artistic expression.
Robert Young explains: “Most examples of Folk Art were made to pass the test of time in order to dutifully serve their function, and whilst their creators rarely had artistic pretentions or aspirations, they were frequently competent artisans or craftsmen. A boldly constructed Tavern Table with a thick single plank top and bound with a strap of metal, much appreciated by today’s aesthetic for its simplicity and a skin patinated with two hundred years of use, exemplifies the quintessential qualities of Folk Art.”
The Youngs will be showing a selection of Plank and Stick constructed ‘Windsor’ Chairs, put together especially for the exhibition, which display an amazing variety in form, style, volume and colour. “The clean lined simplicity and idiosyncratic form of individually crafted country chairs, constructed from hewn planks and elementary turned sticks, epitomise the qualities and attraction of historic Folk Art”, according to specialist Robert Young.
Such inherently individual and sometimes eccentric pieces form the basis of this celebrated annual event. Frequently ignored or overlooked in their early life, these examples have passed the test of time and are now understood and appreciated for their innate naive quality and unpretentious simplicity in a way their creators could never have anticipated. They invariably give rise to a smile, sometimes charm, and often inspire.