Two quirky new talents to keep a keen eye on

Contemporary Art Market
Click to follow
The Independent Online
An installation featuring ragged artificial flowers found discarded in cemeteries proved a show stealer at last week's contemporary art fair in Islington, Art 95.

Hugh Hamshaw-Thomas, who arranged them in transparent vases - thus creating an effect of festive delicacy, laced with intimations of mortality - is clearly a quirky new talent to watch.

Hamshaw-Thomas's brand of conceptual art consists in collecting, categorising and assembling found objects - treating twigs, leaves or artificial flowers as if they were scientific specimens - and thereby exploring human perceptions of reality.

He and his five -year-old son pick up flowers in cemeteries on Sunday mornings. "The rule is - nothing from the graves. They must have blown off or been stuffed in dustbins."

For Art 95, Hamshaw-Thomas arranged flowers in transparent containers - vases, milk bottles, jam jars, measuring pots, scent bottles . . . Some were spaced evenly along a shelf, some pressed together in ordered rows or tight juxtapositions. His 10x5 footdisplay of vases on three shelves gave the decaying flowers the air of a 19th-century pseudo-scientific botanical collection. It carried the highest asking price at £2,500. The cheapest exhibit was "Old Days", a metre long shelf with two rows of eight flower vases at £850.

Where would you put them in an ordinary home? "They'd look great in the bathroom," said Anne Berthoud, the London dealer who represents him. "You could put a perspex cover over them - though they'd look even better without." Her suggestion raises the question of how long an art work ought to last. Does it have to be permanent? Or would the pleasure generated by a shelf life of, say, five years, be worth £850?

Hamshaw-Thomas's work will be on view at the Spittal Studio in Spittalfields Market from 30 January.

Another weird and original talent, Laura Godfrey-Isaacs, has a show opening at the Gallery at John Jones (4 Morris Place, Finsbury Park) on Thursday. She pours out gigantic blobs of liquid polyurethane, which harden instantaneously, layering one tinted slurp on top of another. The mounds are reminiscent of the milk puddings of childhood - but three to six feet high - and they drip and congeal. They also hold an echo of body parts while, in combination, their bulbous presence reminds one of a moon landscape.

They cost between £800 and £3,000, according to size and complexity. But again, where could you place them? "Wouldn't it be fantastic to get a commission to pour one in somebody's home?", says Laura with eyes a glitter.

She has also made a shelf full of "mud pies" for the show. In these she treats clay, cement and plaster with the oozing respect of a child modeller; they are priced between £350 and £800. Some of Laura's monstrous blobs are also on show in the Festival Hall Galleries in a mixed show entitled "It's a Pleasure!".