In celebration of the upcoming Affordable Art Fair in Battersea, owner of eponymous gallery Rebecca Hossack shows us around her home and talks us through her art collection. Rebecca is showing at the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea from 8 March.
Rebecca Hossack, Owner of Rebecca Hossack Gallery
How does your home reflect your gallery and vice versa?
There are over 300 paintings in my house, and I’ve always had a life-long obsession with collecting. Whilst I try to keep things uncluttered and minimalist, each artwork is like a dear friend that I cannot bear to part with, and so I always try to find a way to fit them all in.
With the gallery on the other hand, I try to have a more intellectual approach. Each artwork needs its own space to speak and there should be a visual calmness.
However, one thing that my own collection has in common with both the gallery and with our stand at events, such as the Affordable Art Fair, is colour. I like to bring together lots of different textures and colours. It’s about balance – breaking up bright shades with monochromes, mixing canvases with glazed works, metal with textiles. I love showing lots of contrasting elements. It’s so much more exciting to look at.
How do you decide which art to display where, and do you have a place in mind when you choose art for your home?
I’m a frequent traveller, and always return with several new artworks at a time. All the different things I’ve collected from around the world mean that I have to be creative with the way that I display them. The home shouldn’t be a static space that is decorated according to a transient fashion – instead it should reflect and resonate with personality as a constantly evolving entity.
I don’t plan how to arrange my collection beforehand. Rather it’s about looking and responding – to shapes, colours and texture – and seeing how different things react with one another. All my objects are arranged in little groupings. My Inuit miniatures are on my bedside shelf and my collection of Pippa Small jewellery hangs on the wall above. I keep my 1960s Danish glass collection on my Eero Saarinen dining table. Downstairs is my ‘earth room’, my collection of Aboriginal bark paintings made from natural fibres and earth pigments, where the floor and curtains are deep brown leather.
Why is it important to have art in the home?
I never cease to be amazed by the ingenuity and imagination of mankind. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a piece of art can astonish you and change you. There is spirituality about wonderful art – it physically affects you and genuinely enhances your life.
Any favourite pieces?
Everything in my house comes from someone or somewhere that we know and love. Each object has its own story and makes me happy. I love my pottery by Ann Stokes, an octogenarian potter from Hampstead. She painted my kitchen tiles with marsupials to remind me of home. Then there are my Ethiopian scrolls, paintings by Papua New Guinean artist Mathias Kauage, my woven Orkney Island chair, my Amazonian macaw headdress, my medieval wooden chest and beadwork Haitian Vodou flag. My home is a place of world culture – every object has so much knowledge and meaning that I cannot separate them.
Any tips for first time buyers or those starting their collections?
You should always buy what you love. It should give you that fluttering feeling in your stomach and it must resonate with you. Buying as an investment or to make some kind of profit is not the way to do it. The Affordable Art Fair is a great place to begin your collecting journey. That’s a nice way to think of it, because just as your collection grows, you grow with it.
If the house was on fire you’d rescue…?
Each piece in my house has its own story. They are like people – my friends and companions. If there was a fire, I wouldn’t leave until I’d rescued every single painting – and who knows how that would end. I wouldn’t want to leave anything behind.
What are you looking to add to your collection?
My collection is vast and has spilled out of my house. Now I use a warehouse for storage and even loan paintings to friends to make space. However, I never look for art – it somehow just finds me and I have to have it. Sometimes I wish my house could grow out over the mews, so that I could keep filling it with wonderful things.
About Rebecca: Rebecca opened her eponymous gallery in Fitzrovia in 1988, which became the first in Europe to exhibit Australian aboriginal painting, and now has two further galleries in London and another in New York. Her passion for promoting Australian art continued in her role as Australian Cultural Attaché in the mid-90s. She regularly gives lectures on Aboriginal art and has also worked closely with the British Museum and the V&A. Through the gallery she has become known for celebrating artists whose work goes against artistic trends, drawing the attention of customers including Sir Paul Smith, PJ Harvey and Griff Rhys Jones.
About the Affordable Art Fair:
Taking place from Thursday 9th – Sunday 12th March, the Affordable Art Fair hosts a selection of artists and interactive workshops which explores the benefits of art when it comes to tranquillity, mindfulness and mental wellbeing. Offering a feast for the eyes and soul, workshops – hosted by the likes of Paint Jam and City Lit – will include meditation classes surrounded by peaceful artworks and relaxing practical sessions such as paper folding. Mindful photography will even encourage participants to take stock and appreciate the thousands of images they capture and share on social media day to day.
Dates and times
Wednesday 8 March 2017
Charity Private View: 17.30 – 21.30
Thursday 9 March 2017: 11.00 – 17.30
Late View: 17.30 – 21.30
Friday 10 March 2017: 11.00 – 18.00
Saturday 11 March 2017: 11.00 – 18.00
Sunday 12 March 2017: 11.00 – 18.00
Charity Private View: £25 advance or on the door
Adult weekday: Advance £10 / Door £12 – Concessions weekday: Advance £8 / Door £10
Adult weekend: Advance £12 / Door £15 – Concessions weekend: Advance £10 / Door £13