Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hesketh Hubbard Exhibition - not enough life drawing!

I went to see the Annual Exhibition by the Hesketh Hubbard Art Society on Thursday. The Society is London's largest life drawing society

The Portrait (£175) by John Harper Sutton
Charcoal
The exhibition is now finished.  This post highlights:
  • my thoughts on the exhibition - and a suggestion for the future
  • the prizewinners 
  • work by artists I liked
  • the artist who had the most visitors - due entirely to positive self-promotion.  It's a learning lesson for very many artists!
I've reviewed the exhibition once before and have to say I haven't changed my opinion.
  • the calibre of artwork on display is very definitely NOT of the same calibre as the other art societies who exhibit at the Mall Galleries and belong to the Federation of British Artists.  Some of it very amateurish - which is unsurprising given the way the society is open to all.
  • there's far too little life drawing from observation on display.  For some reason this exhibition - by a life drawing society - includes a variety of artwork by its members some of which is neither of people nor done from observation.
  • the overall standard resembles the standard of exhibition by local art societies which we see in very many libraries and church halls up and down the country.  While there are some good works on display, too many fail to impress.
  • some of the prices on artworks were very inflated relative to the quality of the work.
In other words it's very disappointing - particularly for anybody coming any distance and expecting the same quality of artwork that they see in the other art society exhibitions at the Mall Galleries.

A view of the Annual Exhibition of the Hesketh Hubbard Society
Threadneedle Space, Mall Galleries
I know and understand that the members are a mix of professional and amateur artists but I'm afraid I'd much rather see an exhibition in the Mall Galleries which displayed the best life drawing from around the country.

Maybe this society and/or the FBA and/or the Mall Galleries needs to think about having another exhibition which ranks alongside that of the other FBA Societies - which has:
  • a clear focus - on life drawing (clothed and unclothed) from observation
  • open entry
  • selection for exhibition, by an expert panel, of the best life drawing submitted from around the UK
Below are the images which won prizes and some of the artwork I liked.

Prizewinners

Winner of Best Portrait
Celia by David Lloyd Smith
oil (not for sale)
Winner of Best Nude
Alex and Ester by Pete Wane
Pastel 
Winner of Best Picture
Matador (£960) by Elżbieta Magnuska (I hope I got the spelling right!)
Acrylic and oil

Artwork I liked

I really liked the charcoal drawing by John Harper Sutton (see top of this post). There again I'm an inveterate drawer of the whole class when attending life drawing sessions!  I like seeing people who attempt to draw both the model and the context.

I was surprised to see the Louise Fox's etching - however it does contain a figure and etching is very much a medium which relies of drawing. I really liked this image.

The Back of the British Museum (£200) by Louise A E Fox
Etching
Finally I very much liked a simple drawing by Geoff Holmes who is obviously somebody skilled in observation of the human body.

Running out of blue (£450)
by Geoff Holmes
Blue Pencil
It would be great to see more excellent life drawing........

An addendum


One of the interesting aspects of this exhibition related to the very positive impact of self-promotion.

I was told by Natalie, who looks after reception, that very many Ukrainians had come to see the show - and wanted to see the painting of just one artist.

This is because the artist - Olga Brown - had her artwork (Ukrainian Blue) on the front of a magazine about Ukrainian life for for Ukrainians living in London. This also included a preview of the exhibition and a profile for the artist.

It just goes to show that those artists who have the drive and are sufficiently motivated to promote themselves and their art, in publications relevant to the community they belong to and/or where they live, are much more likely to generate interest in their art both in terms of the exhibition it appears in and afterwards in terms of sales and commissions.

Would that more artists did this for the mutual benefit of all exhibitors!

(Note: Those interested in self-promotion might also like to read another post I wrote this week - about the exhibition which was on at the same time in the main gallery - see Rosa Sepple sells 50+ paintings in 4 days!)

Links: The Hesketh Hubbard Art Society - Annual Show (24 August 2012)





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