Monday, October 27, 2008

Bankside Gallery - Watercolour and Wood Engravers

Royal Watercolour Society Autumn Exhibition 2008

This post is about two recent exhibitions at the Bankside Gallery:
  • The Royal Watercolour Society Autumn Exhibition - finishes 8th December
  • The Society of Wood Engraving - 71st Annual Exhibition - on tour
The Royal Watercolour Society Autumn Exhibition

The RWS founded in 1804, is the oldest and most prestigious watercolour society in the world. Its aim is to bring together artists working with water-based paints and to promote the language of watercolour painting to an ever widening public. One of the ways it does this is through two exhibitions in the Spring and Autumn each which display work by members and associates of the Society. All works are for sale.

You can see works in The RWS Autumn Exhibition:
  • a sample on the RWS website on their current exhibitions page. All works are for sale (and you can see which ones have sold). If interested contact Bankside Gallery on 020 7928 7521.
  • until 8th November 2008: at the Bankside Gallery at the home of the RWS - the Bankside Gallery, 48 Hopton Street, London SE1 9JH. (020 7928 7521).
  • between 15th November - 21st December 2008: at The Lund Gallery, Alne Road, near Easingwold, North Yorkshire, YO61 3PA. This is the first time that the society has exhibited in the north of England. Easingwold is 20 minutes north of York.
The virtual exhibition on the RWS website is, in my opinion, a very sensible move. Although it doesn't list every image and they are unpriced, the thumbnail images give a sufficiently good impression that anybody who might be seriously interested in a purchase could approach the gallery to find out more. I'm not at all clear why they've chosen not to list the sale price on the website - it's on a printed list in the gallery. If the virtual site is to lead to sales it really also needs to have the same information. Dimensions and media used would also be advantageous - but that would probably require a pop up image.

I commend the members galleries to people who'd like to see the diversitty and quality of painting by society members. Click the name to see more images.

As always I found much to interest in the work of Annie Williams (who has numerous fans - the website indicates that this exhibition has produced sales for all the work on the website), Paul Newland and Pichard Pikesley. In every exhibition I try to work out why different pictures appeal. In technical terms, I guess it's something to do with the complexity of the mark-making and patterning which includes glazes. The paintings all work at different levels and those that keep drawing me in to look more and more are those I tend to find hold most appeal.

Sophie Knight attracted my attention at this exhibition - and you can see more of her work on her website. I guess part of the attraction was explained for me when I read her statement about how she works - it speaks of an experience I very much connect with.

Two works by Sophie Knight RWS
I mainly work in situ, directly from the landscape/cityscape. I also produce larger scale works, in a more reflective manner, in my studio in London.

I work very physically, often in awkward locations such as perched on the edge of a waterfall or surrounded by commuters at a station. This experience and the struggle to record the ever-changing light, colour and weather of my subject all becomes an integral part of its final appearance.

Working quickly, I drenched the paper with water and pigment keeping the composition constantly on the move, pushing the paint around until I am happy with the final image. I aim to retain those first moments of visual excitement I feel when truly looking.
Sophie Knight - extract from Statement
The Society of Wood Engravers - 71st Annual Exhibition

71st Annual Exhibition - A wall in the Bankside Gallery

Earlier this month the Bankside Gallery was one of the galleries hosting the 71st Annual Exhibition by The Society of Wood Engravers in 2008/9.
The Society was founded in 1920 by a group of artists that included Philip Hagreen, Robert Gibbings, Lucien Pissaro, Gwen Raverat and Eric Gill.......the SWE was revived in the early 1980's and has built up an international reputation for excellence. The two main, regular activities of the Society are its annual touring exhibition and newsletter.
I thought it particularly admirable that the exhibition is giving a platform for people completing engraving courses at the different colleges around the country. This is a Society which is obviously looking to make sure that its art form endures and prospers.
This exhibition features over 100 engravings and other relief prints selected from Britain and around the world. The Society of Wood Engraver's annual exhibition is recognised as the premier showcase for the engraver's art. This year's special feature display will focus on the teaching of engraving an the courses that are available across the country.
A wall of work by students on engraving courses

The Society takes the view that it gets maximum exposure for both artists and to potential purchasers by hosting the exhibition in different places around the UK. In 2008/9 you can see the exhibition at:

I find these sort of prints to be absolutely fascinating and I'd love to be able to create a wood engraving. I think anybody who really enjoys the creativity which can be employed through the use of line and mark making would find wood engraving a logical next step after drawing. I'm really sad that an hand injury means that I can't take the pressure or vibration through my hand without setting up further problems.

I did buy a print though - from this chap - Simon Brett! I'm now giving some serious thought to commissioning a book plate from him.

Art Education

I had been hoping to return to the Gallery yesterday for their Art Event day yesterday and you were supposed to see photos today of activities by the various artists involved. However a combination of a bad cold and dreadful weather put a lid on that idea. Instead you can see a photo of the Beginners Watercolour Course taught by Charles Williams ARWS which was taking place in the gallery when I visited the exhibition the previous weekend.

Bankside Gallery: It's well worthwhile keeping an eye on the Education page of the Bankside Gallery website (accessed via the completely opaque menu which pops up if you hover the cursor over the Bankside gallery name bottom left hand corner). For example, the next two events are:
  • Beyond Beginners Watercolour Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 November - 11:30am - 4:30pmTutor: Charles Williams ARWS £70 / £50 for Friends
  • Exhibition Tour Monday 3 November - 6pm for 6:30pm David Paskett VPRWS will be giving a free tour of the RWS Autumn exhibition. Meet in the Gallery at 11:30am.
Wood engraving: You can find out more about wood engraving on the Society's website - What is Wood Engraving? Click here to view a comprehensive list of 2008 UK wood engraving workshops. For information on courses and workshops, contact Kate Dicker: Telephone 01962 869617.



Anonymous said...

twrHow wonderful to have a Simon Brett print.I too find wood engraving fascinating. I have a great book (quite old now) -A History of Wood Engraving by Albert Garrett, and I often spend a happy hour browsing through it. It contains a couple of early works by Simon Brett. Are you going to show us yours? I'm sorry I missed the Exhibition at the Bankside, however I did visit the RWS exhibition last week. Actually I was rather disappointed. Was it a juried exhib.? I did like the paintings by Dennis Roxby Bott, but I was not very impressed by some of the other work.


Making A Mark said...

Jenni - we must meet for an exhibition visit sometime!

My print is actually on Simon Brett's website and was from the collection that the gallery keeps rather than the exhibition - although I was very tempted by one or two.

If you scroll down on the prints page it's the one called "Under the Skylight". As an inveterate contour drawere I was just totally in awe at how somebody could cut contours like that in wood - especially with the foreshortening involved. I'd be amazed by somebody drawing like that in pencil! A print for inspiration that all things are possible!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Amazing work.


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