Saturday, May 13, 2006

"Artists' Kew" 9-16 and 29 May

Back to Kew again yesterday - it was glorious weather and I wanted to see the "Artists' Kew" exhibition which opened on Tuesday and to see how the gardens had progressed in just over a week (see next post).

"Artists' Kew" is described as being
an exhibition of original contemporary artworks which celebrate the Royal Botanic Gardens and its surroundings in Kew. The works express the whole Kew experience from the botanical treasures of the Royal Botanic Gardens to the charms of the riverside and the architectural heritage of the local area including Kew Green, Kew Village and Kew Bridge.
It is an excellent exhibition of the work of artists of various persuasions. An on-line preview of the artwork being exhibited can be found at the Kew website- with an index to the artists found here. (There are six pages of artists - click on the image to see other work being exhibited by the artist)

  • I think I liked Jane Corsellis's paintings the best of all - but them I am a fan of Jane Corsellis! She manages to mix a sense of the huge scale of Kew with the more personal experience of individuals while all the time displaying her glorious sense of colour. Interestingly she was one of three artists (John Ward and Toby Ward were the other two) who displayed their small studies done as preliminaries for their larger works - although this is only apparent on the website in the case of John Ward. I really enjoy seeing how people develop their paintings and it's always a treat for me when I can see such studies
  • Michael Whittlesea demonstrates his usual fine draughtsmanship in his small oil paintings
  • Nick Botting's views of the gardens are very representative of Kew for me. These are the gardens which people come to walk in and sit and read or sleep or have picnics
  • the images of Peter Brown's wonderful panorama oil paintings of Kew simply don't do them justice - even at the larger image size.
  • Kurt Jackson is showing watercolour paintings of the river and the view I sketched last week - but with a higher tide - which have wonderful titles and little annotations such as "Richard Attenborough walked by..."
  • Carl Laubin and Steve Whitehead are both showing paintings involving the very grand architecture of both the glass houses and plants
  • Lucy Smith and Ann Farrer both used watercolour to the same thing on a smaller scale and from a more botanical aspect
  • and finally I liked James Hart Dyke's small oil painting the best of several views of Syon House

However I have a major criticism - the signposting within the Gardens is simply appalling. This is an exhibition which has been promoted on the Kew Gardens website and in the Friends Magazine and yet it's not in the seasonal leaflet about 'what's on' at Kew to say where it is located; there's no 'signposting' from the gates into Kew, the people on the Friends' Desk weren't sure where it was or whether it was open and the main route to it from the Victoria Gate is hampered by two major construction sites - with no signposting. I began to wonder whether anybody at Kew wanted people to see the pictures! In addition, the website makes clear - but nothing else does - that the exhibition is not open on every day between its opening and closing date. This makes for a very odd state of affairs for any exhibition and will doubtless lead to a number of people visiting Kew and not being able to see the exhibition!

For those wanting to see it, it's at the Kew Gardens gallery at Cambridge Cottage near the Main Gate. The website gives all the dates it's open - and that's not a lot - a minimum of 9-16 May and 29 May (Bank Holiday Monday) only due to the fact that Cambridge Cottages is used as a wedding venue! See this page for more details.

Entry is free, all the pieces are for sale and funds raised "will support plans to increase public access to Kew's unrivalled collections of botanical art" - and sales were looking quite good for some.

Previous posts: Artists Kew - but ignore the opening times which taken from early publicity and which are wrong!

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