Thursday, December 02, 2010

REVIEW: New English Art Club Annual exhibition 2010

NEAC 2010 at the Mall Galleries
Last Friday I went to see the Annual Exhibition 2010 by the New English Art Club which had opened the previous day.  It's at the Mall Galleries until 5th December.  The exhibition includes paintings, drawings, pastels and original framed prints - and work hung cannot have been previously exhibited.

NEAC 2010: West Gallery
I walked in and more or less immediately made a note as follows "an object lesson in not being bashful or reticent".  The exhibition was bright and full of large and attractive paintings which were singing with colour.  There was something very energetic and vibrant about the work on show.  It is also hung very well with well positioned pieces which knitted walls of paintings together and created a very good impression.

In short, it was a pleasure to walk into this exhibition and then walk round it.

One of the advantages of this particular exhibition by an art society is that NEAC is very organised about maximising the income from sales for its members.  One wonders at times why this is not more of a priority for those societies with profesisonal members - and one can only applaud NEAC got having got to grips with the situation - and taking advantage of collectors' willingness to buy art online.

Thus the paintings by NEAC members are also available to purchase online on their website.  Consequently, on this occasions I'm able to highlight very specific paintings by some of artists I liked and the award winners.

As well, of course showing you what they looked like on the walls!

Artists who I noted down as being ones who "stood out" for me were  
Paintings by Charlotte Sorapure NEAC
  • William Bowyers' paintings of Walberswick - a place I know well.  I loved the painting of the Path to the Bell Hotel, Walberswick.  His paintings took me straight back there.  While many art socities struggle with older members losing their way when it comes to painting, William Bowyer is a fine example of a member who may be old but has lost none of his ability to produce some fine paintings.  
  • Patrick Cullen's Indian Scenes were exceptionally colourful and very striking.
  • Jane Corsellis's various works, particularly her painting of Estuary, Low Tide
Works by Jane Corsellis NEAC

Awards are detailed below.

Arts Club Award and NEAC Critics Choice Award: Group of four paintings by Ruth Stage NEAC
Horan Prize: Street in Tinos by Ann Wright
The Bill Patterson Memorial Award: Athair Ceile by Alan Coulson
David Messum Prize:  Craic of Dawn by Peter Fleming
  • THE DOREEN McINTOSH PRIZE (£5,000): Karn Holly NEAC for cat. no. 196 Interior October
North Gallery (first room): Various works - including watercolours by HRH Prince of Wales on centre pillar
Various small works in the North Gallery (3rd room)
NEAC uses the small rooms in the North Gallery as their equivalent of the Small Weston Room at the RA's Summer Exhibition which has historically been used for the hanging of small works (a point which appears to have been lost on some members of the RA Hanging Committee in recent years). 

I have to say on the whole I much prefer the various small works in this exhibition to those shown at the RA.

That said I do think there is a difference in quality between those who habitually paint small sizes and those painting a small painting for this exhibition.  To my mind the quality of composition and execution has to be very good to stand up to scrutiny.  Small paintings sell well - but the standard still needs to be very good to achieve that sale - they're not a shortcut to money

I'm hoping they had good sales over the PV and first weekend as the weather this week has been simply dreadful and visitors (and sales this week) must surely have be down on normal.  I saw quite a few red stickers while touring the exhibition so it's obvious sales had been pretty good on the opening of the show last week.

NEAC 2010: Various works, East Gallery - those in the centre are by Richard Bawden NEAC
For those thinking of entering next year - I suggest you take a note of the general approach to framing and displaying work which, in my opinion, can make all the difference to whether or not a work of art is accepted for a show like this.


I nearly bought a painting from a non-member which I liked.  However I decided to go away and look up the artist on the Internet to see more of his art.  There's a fine line between a good strong style and being somewhat formulaic.  As a result of my research I decided not to buy as his paintings were just a tad too formulaic for my liking.   I liked the painting - but I wasn't bowled over by the artist.

I wonder how many other potential purchasers now check out artists online before they buy.  I wonder how many artists think about what collectors see of their art when they look online



  1. I enjoyed reading your report. Intended to go there today, but impossible because of the weather. Pity it looks like a really good exhibition.

  2. Thanks Bernie. Definitely try and get to see if if you can

    Maybe make plans for tomorrow or the weekend? The forecast was that it should get a little milder so hopefully the snow will go.

  3. "On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting."

  4. Huh? If you're quoting please give a credit.

  5. A really interesting post Katherine, with an opportunity to view some lovely artworks and offering plenty of links to relevant sites. Thanks.

  6. I appreciated your "formulaic" comment, Katherine. That's something I try to avoid myself. I'd rather have my style just show itself for what it is.

  7. ...great review, but could you for the benefit of all aspiring artists elaborate on what constitutes formulaic art ? Many thanks.

  8. I think that better be a blog post!


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