Friday, April 24, 2009

Exhibition Review: Society of Botanical Artists #1

Work on display at the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists
copyright the artists (all photos with permission of the SBA)

The standard of work at this year's Annual "Flowers and Gardens" Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists is simply stunning. I urge all artists who have ever wanted to pursue botanical or floral art to go and take a look at the quality of the 700+ works on display.

I'm extremely proud to have two of my pieces in this show but would have loved to have said I was the artist behind any of a huge number of the artworks on display. The standards of both artistry and craftsmanship are extremely high. In fact so high that I'm splitting this review and I will be doing a second post tomorrow which will focus on the work of individual artists.

(Left) Four watercolours by Graham Singleton Reed AssocSBA SGM
(Right) Potential and Prelude by Katherine Tyrrell

copyright - the artists

Yesterday was the Private View and the exhibition opens to the public today and is then open daily from 10am to 5pm until the 3rd May. The exhibition is being held at Central Hall, Westminster, London; admission is free and all works are for sale.

There were a huge number of people at the Private View yesterday with a solid mix of members, fans and very serious collectors. As I've indicated in past posts, I have a feeling that genre art - where it has a history of being highly collectable (botanical, miniaturists, wildlife) is probably largely exempt from the recession. Like the miniaturists last autumn I fully expect this exhibition to generate an awful lot of sales - there were certainly a lot of red dots going up on the works yesterday.

One of things which stood out for me was the extraordinarily impressive display of art by the students of the Distance Learning Diploma Course (a small sample of which you can see on the left).

I caught sight of Dr Shirley Sherwood admiring the diploma work at one point. Dr Sherwood has an extensive collection of botanical art by contemporary botanical artists and sponsored and gave her name to the new botanical art gallery at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Good to see an avid collector keeping her eye on the rising stars of the future!

The display of their work has moved to a better lit position and this year framed work is on display as well as mounted works and there really were some quite amazing pieces on display. The course has very obviously helped people to achieve a very high standard of work.

The exhibition this year also has a display by Suzanne Lucas MBE FPSBA (1915-2008), Founder of the Society of Botanical Artists who passed away peacefully last December, after a long illness. Having now seen her work for the first time I can well understand why this particular Society sets a very high standard for both its students, members and (dare I say it!) those whose artwork is shown in its Annual Exhibition.

Don't forget to come back and read and see more about the exhibition tomorrow!

Parrot Tulips by Suzanne Lucas FPSBA
Back cover of the catalogue for
the SBA Flowers and Gardens exhibition 2009

Previous posts about this exhibition on Making A Mark
Information sites about botanical art