Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Pastel Society - Annual Exhibition 2010

Two large works by Matthew Draper
(top) Sublime - winner of the Annie Langley Award
(bottom) Crashing - Winner of the Buzzacott Prize

The Annual Exhibition of the Pastel Society is currently on display at the Mall Galleries until Saturday 17th April. I finally got to see it today - much later than I'd planned.

Logistically, the Gallery was looking a little different to usual. As last year the East Gallery is given over to the workshops which are being held during the course of the exhibition - with Ednesday being given over to Urban Landscapes by John Tookey.

Most of the members work is being displayed in the Main West Gallery while most of the work in the North Gallery seemed to be by non members. However members work is shown together as a group and the larger gallery does make that rather easier.

I usually come away from one of the shows with a clear visual sense of how the whole exhibition worked but found the display panels situated in the middle of West Gallery rather than at the side disrupted my ability to stand in the middle of the gallery and scan round.

The scanning exercise is about seeing which works jump out at me on initially and then again after I've toured the whole exhibition.

The most impressive work was the two very large pictures by Mathew Draper. I must confess I've been missing the very large works that Mark Leach always used to submit. This is a big gallery and it NEEDS some large works. These two are extremely well done - and have the weight to carry across the whole gallery.

The group of work which worked best in the space was Peter Vincent's set of five works with a very coherent style which was light, clear and bright - and altogether uplifting! His style isn't to my personal taste but there's no denying he certainly provided a bright spot in the show and I wasn't in the least bit surprised to see it was selling! I kept finding that I was encountering work which seemed too dark and wondered whether it was the lighting, however Peter's work seemed to confound that theort.

I found Sheila Goodman's work very attractive - painterly realism with a strong sense of colour.

Other prizewinners that I noted were:
I'm continuing to note that a number of the pastel artists are framing their work as if it was an oil painting (with glass) or very narrow mats. It's interesting the way it then makes you notice how big the mats seemed on other works. I think I'm leaning more towards the notion of more frame and less mat.

I noticed smaller works tended to be selling. However I'm now inclining towards a view that artists need to start creating larger works again. They have impact. They draw the eye and they make people come over and loo at your work.

As the lady, who had just bought a painting, said she was leaving the gallery just before me
"I really want to buy the big one of the sea - I just need a bigger house to put it in!"
Below you can see other groups which had impact.

Pastels by Jenny Halstead

Pastel works by Cheryl Culver (in dark wood frames)

Charcoal works by Liz Charlsley-Jory (who has a blog Liz Charsley-Jory)

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