Friday, March 20, 2015

Royal Society of British Artists 2015 - Annual Exhibition

It was a pleasure to walk into the 298th Exhibition of the Royal Society of British Artists yesterday  - particularly after my very disappointing visit to the RWS Contemporary Painting Exhibition on Tuesday.

I write very few negative posts about exhibitions - one was this week (see above) and another was three years ago - see RBA 2012: An exhibition of Middle England? Since that post both the RBA and the exhibition seems to have come on in positive leaps and bounds. It's good to see that the problems I alluded to in my 2012 post are much less evident and/or have disappeared. In particular the issues in relation to the calibre of artwork seem to have disappeared.

In addition, I do remember it thinking it was somewhat ironic that I was seeing better watercolours from artists selected from the open entry than I did from artists selected for the RWS competition's exhibition.

This is an exhibition worth entering if you want your artwork to be seen in London and/or want to become a member of a national art society.

Things to note about this exhibition

Paintings and sculptures in the Threadneedle Space
More paintings and sculpture
Includes: (top left) The Davison Award for Oil Painting - won by Olwyn Bowey RA RBA
(column of small paintings - The Alfred Daviels 'Personal Favourite' Award - Barbara Richardson

There is LOTS of artwork in this exhibition - covering every type of media except digital, photography and video. Most but not all is figurative/repsentational artwork.

This is also an art society which believes in well and truly using all three galleries and getting a lot of artwork on the walls and around the exhibition. I personally love this!
  • 504 artworks in the main part of the exhibition from members and selected artists via the open entry
Paintings and sculpture in one of the bays in the West Gallery
Paintings in oil, acrylic, watercolour and pastel - in the same bay in the West Gallery
This year fifty six NADFAS Societies supported the venture and they submitted a staggering 368 images of original student work including paintings, ceramics and sculpture. The challenge was for RBA President James Horton and his fellow council members to pick a number of pieces which combined the highest levels of skill, expression and draughtsmanship.
artwork by RBA Scholars
In general, it's a good-looking exhibition which was a pleasure to photograph. You can also see:
There seem to be LOTS more fine art prints in the exhibition this year - submitted by both members and open entry artists

There seems to be a trend towards larger and detailed monochromatic works - using pencil or pen and ink in particular
Monochromatic entries - etchings, pencil and pen and ink artwork - from the open
North Gallery
This is an open exhibition worth entering. However you do need to be aware of the numbers.  I gather the open entry was c.1,500 entries of which c.300 were selected for review and about 100 were selected for exhibition. That's a lot more than get into other exhibitions by the other art societies.

I'll see if I can get hold of more accurate numbers.

The RBA Award Winners 2015

The 2015 prizewinners are listed below.

The De Lazlo Medal (£1000 plus medal and a special display in next year's exhibition) 2015 To be decided

The Arts Club Charitable Trust Award in association with The Arts Club
£1,000 Prize
Lizet Dingemans (£750) - see Squid above
Daisy Cox (£250)  
The Artist Magazine Award (A feature in The Artist Magazine, print and digital edition) 
all three paintings by Andrew Marr
I have to say I knew Mr Marr could draw but I'd only ever seen his paintings in his book A Short Book About Drawing and I have to say I like them!  He's got a great eye for composition.

The Davison Award for oil painting(£100)Fallen Apple Tree by Olwyn Bowey RA RBA
The Dry Red Press Award (work published as a greeting card) Christopher’s Tomatoes by Jacqueline Taber
The Edward Wesson Award (£100)
For watercolour painting
Glass Eyes by Mollie Andrews 

Frinton Frames Award
(£200 of picture framing at Frinton Frames bespoke picture frame makers)  

Breakfast Table by John Martin RBA
The Hahnemuhle Fine Art UK Award
(£250 worth of materials)
Clouds and Shadow by Melvyn Petterson RBA NEAC
The Michael Harding Awards - Two prizes of £500 and 10 painting sets

The Michael Harding AwardDungeness by Martin Leman
The Alfred Daniels ‘Personal Favourite’ Award for a Narrative work - all work

and Reverie by Charles Hardaker

The Winsor & Newton Painting Award
Rose and Hips by 
William Selby RBA ROI RWS NEAC 

The Geoffrey Vivis Memorial Award (£100) The Green Bridge of Wales, Pembrokeshire by Tim Galton
This was a very large painting
(Bottom left)
The Gordon Hulson Memorial Prize for draughtsmanship, variety and explorationSelf portrait facing Artist’s Block by Robert Lloyd
(top right)
The Lazlo Award to a Young Artist for Technical ExcellenceWeightless by Tatyana Kulida Shelley
The John Ingram Memorial Prize for a Young Artist - Self Portrait by Stanley Welch (Truro College)

The Alfred Daniels ‘Personal Favourite’ Award for a Narrative work (six prizes of £100)

Artists I liked

I liked the suite of small works of fantasy art by David Eustace RBA.  It seemed to suggest a complex interior world.
Paintings by David Eustace (oil and acrylic) £750 each
I'm also a perennial fan of Annie Williams RWS RE RBA still lifes in both watercolours and fine art prints (see my blog post from a past RBA exhibition Annie Williams demonstrates a still life in watercolour)

Paintings and prints by Annie Williams
they sit well with one another in frames which don't compete
Every year I am entrances by the printmaking of Austin Cole. He's superb at using the panoramic format. This year he had a set of six based on a visit to China. If you like fine art prints you should have a serious look at his website.

Part of Austin Cole's series of etchings (edition of 20)
"Beijing Hutong"
There was also a lot of sculpture to like!

[PS I'd have loved to write about this earlier but commitments elsewhere prevented this. Next year I will be there at the beginning!]

Recent RBA Exhibitions

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