Consultant at Heritage Collection at Parkgate House, Carrie Scott discusses her selection of artwork, including works from visionary fashion photographer Nick Knight.
As a curator, writer and founder of art consultancy group CS&P, Carrie Scott has unrivalled connections in the contemporary art world. For her consultant role at Parkgate House, Carrie has selected a bold and versatile collection for the show apartment, including work from visionary fashion photographer Nick Knight.
Which artists did you select for the Parkgate House show apartment and why?
CS: Given the stunning, pared-back design of Parkgate, it was paramount that the artwork would integrate seamlessly into the plans. To that end, the artists and works selected for the flat are all boldly restrained in their individual aesthetics. Nick Knight has loaned two iconic fashion-based compositions – one being a refined silhouette of Kate Moss, the other a gloriously strong composition of a woman poised in an almost bird-like position, as she stretches her dress across the distance of the composition. Knight has also contributed a still life, which reads more like a 16th-century painting than a photograph. A photograph by David Sims captures a woman and a horse in profile as they march across a Cornish landscape. We have also included work from the accomplished watercolourist Kim McCarty, whose portraits emphasise the inherent qualities of the medium as she lets paint bleed across her compositions. Finally, we are debuting a new body of work from Fiona Gourlay. Renowned for her fashion illustrations, Gourlay has created portraits that are poised between reality and imagination, where fleshy impressions of faces seem to delicately materialise from the paper.
Did the location of the apartments influence your choices, given the fact they’re in such a creative neighbourhood?
CS: I think we were able to take some risks, knowing that the area is home to so many creatives. Rather than pull together a conservative selection of work, we chose imagery that is physically powerful and emotive.
Speaking of risks, Nick Knight’s photographs are very striking, but sometimes controversial. Is it not quite a bold choice for a domestic setting?
CS: There’s a long tradition of portraiture in the home – from grand paintings of Lords and Ladies to commissioned drawings of children. The work we’ve selected for the flats plays both against and within this tradition. While Nick’s photographs might be bold, they are portraits of character – some known, others anonymous – which is an aesthetic language to which we are all accustomed.
What role does art play in the modern home?
CS: Art tells a story. In the home, a collection also has the potential to reflect the artist’s intent, as well as chronicle the journey a collector takes in understanding and then, ultimately, acquiring the work. When disparate works are juxtaposed, incredible things happen. New messages are made, new narratives are woven.
How would you advise someone looking to invest in contemporary art for their home?
CS: The word invest always throws me in this context. Buying art for your home should be about buying art that works in your day-to-day life. People are willing to spend thousands of pounds on sofas, lighting and bathroom taps, but when it comes to art, the expectation is so high. Not only do they want something that visually works in their home, they also want to see a return on investment. I’m never sure that’s a sound approach. Buy something because you love it, because you can’t live without it. If it increases in value while it hangs on your wall, great. If it doesn’t, rest easy in the knowledge that you get to enjoy someone’s vision every day.
What artwork do you have in your own home?
CS: Our collection focuses mostly on photography, but we have a bit of everything, from portraiture to still life to seascapes. My husband and I tend to acquire work from artists we know, who have told us about the driving force behind a particular composition. Living with the work and knowing what the artist’s intent was feels wonderful. I hadn’t realised it at the time, but every one of the artists I’ve included in the Parkgate collection is also in our home.