The advance publicity mentioned Damien Hirst and I thought oh goody, pickled sharks, cabinets full of prescription drugs, but all we got was a single, innocuous little print. I enjoy Hirst when he's trying to make our flesh creep, but I don't rate him as a painter or graphic artist.
Most of the stuff on show was decorative and unambitious- the kind of thing you could hang in the board-room and not scare the money away. And most of it was a version of something someone else had done (and better) twenty, fifty, a hundred and fifty years ago. Frankly, I was disappointed. But I let my expectations sink and enjoyed what there was to enjoy. One exhibitor was selling a whole lot of Beryl Cook's fat ladies. They're fun (and expensive.)http://www.berylcook.org/desktopdefault_BC.aspx?
The one artist I got excited about was Agnieszka Swoboda. She paints domestic interiors. The vision is childlike and her own. She isn't copying someone else and she doesn't ingratiate. I would have loved to own her Big Red Chair- but it was far out of my price range. She said she hadn't been doing too well because her work isn't very commercial. "That's why I like it," I said.
Her website is worth a visit. The pictures reproduce well, and there's a charming soundtrack of children singing Polish nursery songs. http://www.agnieszkaswoboda.com/