Friday, September 29, 2006

10 artists who make RCA Secret

Since we are in a lists mood I thought I would set out my list of the 10 artists who, in my opinion, make RCA Secret the great event that it is. This is my own personal list. Not all of the artists are “names” some are just artists who over the years have caught my eye, both through their talent or for some other reason.

1) Damien Hirst – the ultimate symbol of the YBA Britart scene, Hirst has been a regular contributor and supporter of RCA Secret. Whilst many have said that he disguises his cards for the sale in fact his drawings are frequently follow his tried and tested themes of death, pharmacology and butterflies. He has also contributed cards featuring a drawing of a dog and of hieroglyphics. Contrary to the apparent popular view I find a lot of card extremely interesting.

2) Mary Fedden – the grand old lady of British Art. In her 90’s and still producing work of simplistic genius. Last year she produced one of her cats which was amongst the finest RCA Secret postcards I have ever seen. It stood out like a beacon amongst the sea of cards around it. These cards are always sold to the first 1 or 2 in the queue and I can understand why.

3) Sol LeWitt – Is Sol LeWitt a minimalist? Is he an abstract artist? We could argue about this until the cows come home but my opinion is that his secret postcards are rubbish and have no artistic merit whatsoever. This is a shame because so much of his other work is distinctive and interesting. The cards do not hold the slightest interest for me and the fact that they are always sold to people at the top of the queue tells you an awful lot about some of the people that queue.

4) Vicky Finding – not a particularly well known artist but I think her cards, typically abstract landscape done in oils look absolutely outstanding. I have one framed up in my living room from the 2004 sale and my eye is frequently drawn to it.

5) John Bellany – instantly recognisable and distinctive Bellany often contributes up to 5 cards for the show. One person I queue with picks up at least one of his cards every year. I’ve not added one to my collection yet but that is not through lack of admiration for them.

6) Peter Jones – this hugely talented London artist contributes only card to the show each year but what a card it is. Jones is a hugely talented painter whose current theme – exquisitely detailed stuffed monkeys – allows him to showcase his eye for detail, talent and wit.

7) Bob and Roberta Smith – real name Patrick Brill - the cards contributed by Bob and Roberts Smith are conceptual thought-provoking and funny, often providing a tongue in cheek dig at the art world.

8) Holly Johnson – the former frontman of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Holly always contributes a couple of cards which, frankly, aren’t very good. Rumours abound that one year Holly’s work had not been bought and that he had to come in on the second day of the sale and buy his own card. Bless him. My sister has one of his cards in her collection and she swears to me that she actually quite likes it.

9) Candra Cassini – who is Candra Cassini? No really who is she? There is very little detail about her on the internet and even the RCA, when I asked them a couple of years ago, were only able to tell me that she was an Italian artist who was trained in the style of the old masters. And boy can you tell. Not everyone’s cup of tea but her works are miniature masterpieces. I have a still life by her of a bottle of wine and a bowl of fruit that is exquisitely painted.

10) Rut Blees Luxemburg - I had to put one Photographer in the list and for me this is definitely the one. Her photographs bring city scenes and architectural features to life.

So there is my list. I would love to hear from others with their list.


Louise said...

Hi Perry - did you ever find out any more about Candra Cassini? I was lucky enough to get a lovely postcard by her this year but there's still very little info on the internet... Thanks for your blog btw, its great!! Louise

pezlow said...

Hi Louise - not really. All the college knew is that she was Italian and trained in the style of the old masters. That's it really. Glad you like the card :)