Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Review: New England Art Club Annual Exhibition 2014

There are 414 artworks plus some ex-catalogue works in the 2014 Annual Exhibition of the New England Art Club which is currently showing at the Mall Galleries in London until 1pm on Sunday 7th December.

Below you can find out more about the exhibition, the events, the prizewinners, some of the artists, the art I liked and the change in arrangements for the 2015 exhibition.

Cover of the catalogue of the New England Art Club Annual Exhibition 2014

The first thing to say is that, after seeming to lose its identity last year, this exhibition "looks" like a NEAC exhibition again.

However, the same cannot be said for the prizewinners which to my mind are not representative of the exhibition as a whole - with a couple of exceptions.

Exhibition Catalogue

The exhibition catalogue is available via Issuu enabling you to:
  • see/read members samples of members artwork in the exhibition and 
  • see the complete listing of works - which includes the title, medium, framed size and price. This is invaluable for anybody thinking of submitting work to next year's exhibition.
I have to say the catalogue this year does seem to be missing quite a bit of work, including a couple of major names, although I'm sure there is a very good reason.
You can also see works in the exhibition:

NEAC Events

Tom Coates doing a Portrait painting demonstration yesterday.
People were invited to bring a sketchbook and drawing materials
Teasels on a cliff edge by Ruth Stage
egg tempera 25 x 28 £2,100
There are a number of NEAC Drawing School FREE Events being held during the 2014 Exhibition - the link gives you the listing.

I'm going to be attending the Egg Tempera workshop with Ruth Stage on Wednesday.

I'm absolutely intrigued by her technique - and a demo is involved!

Overall impressions

This year's exhibition is much better than last year's and I'm assuming action was taken over the selection process because I'm certainly seeing a lot more colour this year - although one key wall is murkier than most.

I was very pleased to see that NEAC asked each of its members to paint a smaller and more affordable painting - and that the display of these paintings surrounded the 'cafe' area of the west gallery. They not only looked great on the grey walls - I also noticed that quite a few of them were sporting a red dot.

One of the small works walls
I think this is a strategy for exhibition and displaying that a lot of the other FBA societies could usefully follow.

I'm still very much NOT a fan of a strategy which puts members only in the large West Gallery and relegates a lot of the open entry to the North Gallery. If all the members were producing top notch work that would be fine as a strategy - but the fact of the matter is that artists from the open entry are producing works which SHOULD be in the big West Gallery.  Knowing that there is no guarantee that their work will be exhibited in the best gallery would, in my opinion, up the ante for the members and make sure that they submit their best work!  I'm all for an open exhibition being competitive for everybody! :)

NEAC Exhibition in 2015

The NEAC Annual Exhibition is changing its slot in the exhibition schedule for 2015. Hence in future

NEAC Annual Exhibition 2014


A new award has been introduced this year. The Zsuzsi Roboz Prize of £5,000 was awarded to Paul Newland NEAC RWS for The Edge of Town (Sussex and Somewhere)It's a largish painting in oil by somebody who very often paints in watercolour and as a result it's got layers and layers in it in a very visible way which you don't seem to see as much in those who paint in oil all the time.  That said - I still very much prefer his watercolours!

The Edge of Town (Sussex and Somewhere) by Paul Newland NEAC
oil, 38" x 38" (£4,00
Downland Fields by Michael Cooper NEAC
oil, 21" x 34" (£2,000)

The Doreen McIntosh Prize (£5,000) went to Michael Cooper. I'm afraid it does nothing for me.  For those who must now be thing I really don't like simple and abstracted figurative paintings, I actually loved James Rushton's landscapes

James Rushton's landscapes are #3, 6 and 7 counting along the bottom row from the left
The Arts Club Award (£1,000) was split between two artists and three paintings - I'm assuming each got £500.

The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize (£200) was awarded to Jane Corsellis NEAC RCA RWS for a very typical Corsellis painting.

The Dry Red Press Award went to Angela Bell for her small but acutely observed painting of The Observer. It managed to mix painterly qualities with realism.
    The Observer by Angela Bell won the Dry Red Press Award
    The NEAC Critics Prize went to Salliann Putman NEAC RWS for Landscape Layers which was also a lot smaller than I was expecting

    Artwork I liked

    Silkscreen prints by Fred Cuming RA NEAC
    I absolutely LOVED Fred Cuming's silkscreen prints. In fact I'd say it's worth going to the exhibition to see these alone. I'd love to see him produce one. Mind you I don't think I've ever seen anything produced by Fred Cuming which I've not liked.

    I always enjoy seeing the etchings and watercolour paintings of Richard Bawden NEAC RE RWS. It's not just the cats - I also really like his very accessible informal style! (Incidentally for those who do like the cats, somebody has set up a Pinterest Board of Edward & Richard Bawden at the Museum of Cat Art. I hadn't realised that pics of the Bawden family cats can trace their heritage back to Louis Wain!)

    Four paintings by Richard Bawden NEAC RE RWS
    I liked Christopher Baker's very large landscape/sky paintings - they had a lot of atmosphere and impact.  This is the sort of abstraction within figurative painting that I prefer to see.

    Painting by Christopher Baker
    above four small paintings by Jacqueline Rizvi

    The Late Karn Holly 

    In Memoria - Tribute to Karn Holly

    Karn Holly, the founder member and chief theorist of the NEAC Drawing School and a NEAC member, died on 2 November 2014.

    There is an exhibition wall of her inimitable artwork in the exhibition in tribute - and a book for ex-students and those who knew her to write remembrances which will be used in the memorial service. Oddly there is no reference to her passing on the website or Facebook Page and her page has been removed from the website.

    Here's my sketch of Karn Holly in an interesting NEAC Panel Discussion about drawing in 2007.

    NEAC Panel Discussion on Drawing by Katherine Tyrrell (2007)
    Members of the panel from left to right in the sketch above are:
    Bill Packer, Jason Bowyer, Andrew Wilton, Charles Williams, Arthur Neal, and Karn Holly

    Former reviews of NEAC exhibitions

    1 comment:

    David Teter said...

    Very interesting are your observations/opinions on the exhibition. For those of us too far to see it in person we can gain a sense of it here.

    From your comments I agree that separating members from open entries is not a good strategy.
    I have seen the same here in the states in exhibitions.
    For some, once they become a member complacency can set in and they are not submitting their best work.

    As far as artwork I certainly responded to different ones for different reasons. In fact I usually like the most, the ones that are the most different from what I do.
    So subjective it all is.

    I do wish the NEAC website provided larger images. Maybe it is a lot more work for an exhibition as opposed to a permanent collection to set up but as I went through it I found myself wanting to get into the work closer.
    I would think it might help with sales?

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