Monday, November 02, 2015

Review: Society of Wildlife Artist's 52nd Annual Exhibition (2015)

The fans were out in force last week for the Private View of the 52nd Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists. It continues at the Mall Galleries until Sunday 8th November.

The Private View - Opening of the Exhibition
You can see the online catalogue on the Mall Galleries website

Below you can read and see:
  • my comments and images from the exhibition
  • the prizewinners
  • details about the events
  • my posts about past exhibitions
Annual Exhibition of the SWLA in the Threadneedle Space of the Mall Galleries
The exhibition takes "The Natural Eye" as its name and one of the things which is very evident from the work in the exhibition is that this is very definitely a society whose members are not afraid to try and capture wildlife in paint while working from life and observation in the field.

The fox sketches are by Esther Tyson SWLA
...and sometimes after death - when you also do not have long to linger on your artwork.

Studies of a dead Grey Partrudge by Ben Woodhams ASWLA
Watercolour £1,200
I was very surprised this study did not win a prize.
That habit of making art from observations in the field is one which very obviously extends to the non-members. For example see this wonderful drawing by Chris Wallbank.  You can also read about his experience of drawing the Loomery at Skomer Island off the Pembrokeshire coast on his drawing blog.

Green Bridge Loomery by Chris Wallbank
Graphite (£1,200)
My artwork is immersed in the experience of observing the natural world, its landscapes and wildlife.Chris Wallbank website
Unlike a number of other wildlife exhibitions, the paintings are not trying to be photographs and the evidence of the artist's personal preferences as to how they see their subject and how they prefer to make their mark - whether drawing, painting, print-making or in 3D is there for all to see.


There is, as always, a wonderful variety of work in many different styles by artists who are very accomplished.


Drawings and prints


It also includes artwork by a number of international artists.  This is Marco Brodde from Denmark - with his drawings in pencil and watercolour of
  • Curlews, just arrived, The Wadden Sea, Denmark and 
  • Dead Sperm Whale, Eiders adn Oysetercatchers, the Wadden Sea, Fano, Denmark
I confess I can't ever recall an artwork involving a dead sperm whale in the exhibition in previous years and this was a first for me!

SWLA 2015 Marco Brodde
Marco Brodde
In addition - as befits one of the exhibitions which is a top seller at the Mall Galleries - the exhibition fills all three galleries with
  • work selected for the exhibition, 
  • a children's art competition ( see below) and 
  • a number of different projects related to bursaries or ones which have engaged members during the course of the year.
The winners of the different age categories of the The RSPB's WildArt 15 competition for children
(under 8s, 8–12 years of age, 13 years and over.)
This is also a society which:
  • very definitely has members who do more than submit work to an annual exhibition once a year. Their project work is very impressive.
  • takes the science as seriously as the art!
At the far end of the North Gallery is the SWLA Flight Lines Project. This relates to the pathways taken by migrating birds and enabled some of the overseas members to take part as they documented what happened as birds passed through their part of the world.

Some of the work exhibited as part of the Flight Lines Project
There were also displays for the bursaries and other projects.

Memorials

The exhibition also contained three exhibits for members who died in the last year.

This is the exhibit for John Busby who was the author of "Drawing Birds (RSPB)".

In memorium exhibit for John Busby
SWLA "In Memorium" panels
Other panels provided exhibits for Keith Shackleton (middle) - who would be familiar to many of my older readers as the man who used to co-present 'Animal Magic' with Johnny Morris - and David Koster (right).


SWLA Prizewinners 2015:


The Dry Red Press Award: Spring Blackbird by Matt Underwood SWLA


The Dry Red Press Award: Spring Blackbird by Matt Underwood SWLA
Artwork by Matt Underwood - the awardwinner is top left

The RSPB Award: Short-eared Owl flying with digger by Greg Poole SWLA


The RSPB Award: Short-eared Owl flying with digger by Greg Poole SWLA


The Langford Press Field Sketches Award: Richard Johnson ASWLA




The Langford Press Printmaking Award: The Building of Wallasea RSPB by Julia Manning ASWLA

The Langford Press Printmaking Award: The Building of Wallasea RSPB by Julia Manning ASWLA

The Langford Press 3D Award: Greenfinches by Adam Binder SWLA

The Langford Press 3D Award: Greenfinches by Adam Binder SWLA

The Birdwatch-Swarovski Artist of the Year Award: Fishing Frenzy by Jane Smith ASWLA

There's a huge sense of movement and purpose in this screenprint.

The Birdwatch-Swarovski Artist of the Year Award: Fishing Frenzy by Jane Smith ASWLA

The Hawk and Owl Trust's Roger Clarke Award: Glorious by Tim Wootton SWLA

The Hawk and Owl Trust's Roger Clarke Award: Glorious by Tim Wootton SWLA

PJC Drawing Award: Coastal Birds by Richard Allen


I was very impressed by the fine art print which won the Drawing Prize.  I'm a big fan of this type of composite drawing.

PJC Drawing Award: Coastal Birds by Richard Allen

Bursary Winners

  • John Busby Seabird Drawing Course: Evelina Flodstrom, David Hubt and Rachel Porter
  • SWLA Bursary: Ali McPherson
SWLA Bursary John Busby Seabird Drawing Course

Talks and Events

Free Talks and Events

  • An Artist Underwater. Tuesday 3rd November, 11.30am and 2.30pm; an illustrated one hour talk by Chris Rose on his latest work, based on his experiences as recipient of the SWLA Wildlife Trusts Diving Bursary. 
  • John Clare and Me. Fri 6th November 2.30 pm; an illustrated one hour talk by Carry Ackroyd on the poetry of John Clare and how his words has influenced her work. 

Priced Workshops

  • Monoprints Workshop with Greg Poole & Kim Atkinson - Sat 7th Nov, 10.30am – 4.30pm (£75)
  • Drypoint Workshop with Bruce Pearson and Greg Poole - Sunday 8th November, 10.30am – 4.30pm (£75 or Friends £65). ; a full day drypoint printing workshop.

More details on this page on the SWLA website

Previous Years


Previous posts about the Society of Wildlife Artists' Annual Exhibition

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