Saturday, September 10, 2011

Exhibition Review: Florum 2011 - in Sevenoaks

Florum 2011 - exhibition card
Florum is about "beautiful plants interpreted by skilful artists".

I went to the Private View of their Annual exhibition yesterday held appropriately at the Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve in Kent.  Some 62 invited artists are displaying their work inspired by plant life.  All works are for sale and the exhibition raises a goodly sum towards the work of the Reserve.

You can see examples of the artists exhibiting on in three galleries on the website: gallery onegallery two; and gallery three.

What I liked about this exhibition

  • It's not just about flowers and it was most refreshing to see both
    • a very colourful exhibition of plants using a variety of styles and media (unfortunately I'd forgotten to charge my batteries so I have less photos than I'd planned)
    • an emphasis on artists creating artwork showing plants in their natural environment
Includes work by Susan Christopher Coulson (top centre - coloured pencil)
and Wendy Cranston (right - gouache)
Includes work by Michael Chaplin, Helen Hanson, Sue Scullard and Monty Parkin
(I bought the one in the middle - Vegetable Garden (wood engraving) by Sue Scullard
  • Liz Smail, the Artistic Director of Florum has made good use of a space which is designed for a different use.  The work is both well lit and well hung and there was a lot to see without the exhibition seeming too crowded.  I particularly liked the colour themes with their usual 2+2=6 impact on the work exhibited
Includes work by Billy Showell (top centre)
  • the display of miniature art was excellent.  It was at the right height, the pieces had room to breathe and were was displayed well and it was very well lit.  I could see all the pieces easily. 

Artists whose work I liked

There was lots of excellent work by artists whose work I recognised from the Society of Botanical Artists exhibition - such as Susan Christopher Coulson, Sandra Wall Armitage, Billy Showell, Brigitte Daniel and Wendy Cranston.  Below I've noted artists who I'm less familiar with.
  • Sue Scullard - I bought her wood engraving of a vegetable garden.  I adore wood engravings and love vegetable gardens so this wasn't a difficult decision.  Although I do enjoy buying fine art prints, it's not the usual type of art I buy (being quite folksy it's part of her Lark Rise to Candleford series) however I really appreciated the skill of Sue's wood engraving and loved the design.  Sue is a a member of the Society of Wood Engravers and has illustrated several books for the Folio Society.  I'll be reviewing the rest of her website in due course - I've got my eye on her Border at Great Dixter
  • I liked the abstracted leaf patterns designed and embroidered by Alison Holt.  However I keep wanting to see Alison's work a little bigger (hint)
  • Miniature Art - Joyce Rogerson's work was her usual very high standard - but I was particularly impressed by the paintings in oil by Barbara Valentine.
  • Monty Parkin's studies of woodland scenes impressed. Check out the pictures of the North Downs on his website
  • I loved Mike Chaplin's large etching of Bank Meadow (see below)

More images to follow!

Tips for other group exhibitions:

I think there must be something about being very organised when drawing and painting plants which rubs off on the exhibition organisation!  I also came away with a few new tips for running group exhibitions.
  • Make your exhibition venue both appropriate and accessible.  Do think about having exhibitions in places which are
    • appropriate to your topic area (eg a wildlife reserve for a plants exhibition)
    • where people can park easily (it does help to boost numbers attending)
    • near where people with the money to buy live (that's my own personal perspective I hasten to add - and not why it's held where it is!  However we should remember that the M25 commuter belt is prime territory for prospective customers!) 
  • Use a hanging chart for red spotting the numbered artwork so that people can tell quickly whether or not an artwork has sold ( as well as red spotting the artwork itself) - it helps both buyers and those processing the paperwork and avoids confusion
  • Use a very simple guide to where people's artwork is - and categorise by the artist's name first and then the number of the artwork included in the show.  I loved the new way of doing things at this exhibition.  I was able to find people's work very quickly!
The exhibition can be seen at the Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve (part of the Kent Wildlife Trust), on the outskirts of Sevenoaks and easily accessible from the M25.  Instructions for how to get there are on the website and you can also Download Reserve Map (PDF)

Tessa Spanton wrote to tell me about the exhibition and points out on her blog that
Right next to the centre there is an enormous bee hotel, a wildlife garden, a bird hide with information about the birds and a lake as well as more extensive walks to other lakes and hides. Ideal for a family visit or for artists wanting to work en plein air!

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading your review. Sorry to have missed you at the PV, I didn't get there till later. Loved the silver jewellery.
    Best wishes Tessa


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