Below is my review - plus analysis of how well artists submitting work via the open entry fare.
|Cover of the catalogue for the 300th Exhibition of the Royal Society of British Artists|
- You can view the catalogue for the exhibition on Issuu
- you can view all works by members on the RBA website (but NOT the selected works from the Open Submission) - and filter them by subject and medium.
- You can see selected works on the Mall Galleries website - ordered alphabetically by surname some selected from the open entry - and below
|End wall in the Main Gallery|
Exhibition metrics - and the Open Entry
I write this blog for artists as well as art lovers - in particular, for those who enter art competitions and open exhibitions. This year I'm monitoring how "open" the open Annual Exhibitions of Art Societies are.
In terms of numbers, the number of works submitted for the open has not been supplied in the catalogue - which is a pity. I'll see if I can get hold of it and calculate the percentage success artists have of getting their work accepted.
No. of artworks and artistsThere are 510 artworks in the main exhibition across the three galleries (excluding the work by past Presidents and members, NADFAS RBA Scholars and the National Students At Exhibition)
There are 383 artworks (75%) by 86 members and 127 artworks (25%) were by 100 non-members.
Of the latter some 16 of the 'open' artists are members of other national societies (most of which are based at the Mall Galleries). Which leaves 84 which have no affiliation.
- This makes the ratio of members' to open artworks hung 75:25. This for me puts this exhibition on the margins of being counted as a serious open exhibition.
- By way of contrast, the ratio of members to 'open' artists is 46:54 in terms of people hanging work in the exhibition.
Artworks per artist
- Members: averaged 4.45 works hung. Typically full members hung the six works they can hang while more senior members tended to hang just one or a small number
- 'Open' artists: averaged 1.27 works hung each. The vast majority had just one work hung, a few had two or three and one candidate (who I know) had 4 works. Whether it's worth submitting more than one work has got to be debateable as the chances are only one will be hung. I don't think there's a good rationale for submitting more than two unless you're pitching to be a candidate for entry now or in the future.
No. of sales per class of artistThis is an interesting statistic as this number will, of course, vary over the course of the exhibition. However, two days after the Private View is a good time to take a sample.
In the case of this exhibition, the metrics work out as follows:
- 32 sales by members - 8.3% of artwork sold
- 30 sales by 'open' artists - 23.6% of artwork sold
I did have the impression that some of the members' prices are a tad high relative to the marketplace - but they will know whether or not their work sells at that price. You can check the prices of all the artwork in the exhibition on the Mall Galleries website and in the catalogue.
Review of the exhibition
Exhibition by members
|Work of past Presidents and Members|
Yet again the work exhibited in the main gallery was by members.
I have written before at length on this topic and don't propose to repeat myself except to say I think it's a mistake. The emphasis, to my mind, should ALWAYS be on creating the best possible well-hung exhibition as opposed an exhibition by members with the open submissions being treated as some sort of add-on.
The reality is that while there is some excellent work in the main gallery, there is also some work which fails to interest. Obviously, everybody's taste is different and I don't expect to like everything - but I did feel some of the work looked, for want of a better word, "old" (and by that I don't mean the past members' work or 'traditional' per se.)
Walls which looked good included:
|Work by George Large, Jill Leman, William Selby and Martin Leman looked good in each other's company|
|Traditional but pleasing paintings|
|More traditional but pleasing paintings|
|An EXCELLENT wall of mixed media work and fine art prints by Vice President Mick Davies|
|Some large and small sculpture in the Threadneedle Space|
plus colourful paintings which looked excellent in the very neutral space.
The Open Entry and the North Gallery
Most of the artwork selected via the Open Entry is hanging in the North Gallery. It includes a lot of good work. Overall, it has a more contemporary feel than some of the artwork by members in the main gallery.
It also had my favourite corner/wall of the exhibition.
|North Gallery #1|
|North Gallery #2|
|North Gallery #3|
|The Middle of the North Gallery (the little room)|
|Fine art prints from OPEN artists in the North Gallery|
I can't remember the last time that I saw Melissa Scott-Miller's work in the North Gallery. Her large paintings are normally out in the Main Gallery space winning prizes and garnering sales from her very faithful following...
|Three works by Melissa Scott-Miller NEAC RP|
Work by Young Artists / Scholars
I thought the work by some of the Young Artists in the far gallery was very impressive. Indeed some of them were winning prizes! (see below)
You can see all the NADFAS RBA Scholars on this website
I wasn't in the least bit surprised that this portrait by Wilmslow High School student Eleonor Prime was singled out for a Highly Commended for the top prize in the show! To my mind there are some issues with the painting but overall it shows very great promise.
Also see two of the prizes below which were won by Young Artists exhibiting in the North Gallery.
PrizewinnersOne of the bonuses of this open exhibition is that it has a lot of prizes! Prizewinners are listed on the website. It's a pity the list doesn't include images. Below are some of the award winners.
|The de Laszlo Foundation Prize |
Medal and £1,500 will be awarded to the artist under 35 for the best painting from life
Blindfold by Anna Rubincam (Open)
|Contemporary Arts Trust Award £1,000|
Untitled I by Gopal Sharma(Pencil)
|Contemporary Arts Trust Award £1,000|
Self Portrait by Jane McNulty
RBA Scholar from Bourne Academy
.@AnnieBoisseau, Landscape Morning Light— mallgalleries (@mallgalleries) 22 March 2017
Winner of the @winsorandnewton Painting Award at the @RoyalSocBritArt 300th Exhibition pic.twitter.com/p9A3hE75SR
.@MalcolmAshman Ghost & Henry Jabbour Peeling 2 have won The Michael Harding Award at the @RoyalSocBritArt 300th Exhibition pic.twitter.com/ECA68KrB7Z— mallgalleries (@mallgalleries) 22 March 2017
I thought the next painting - by a young artist was very impressive and certainly worthy of the prize it won.
|The John Ingram Memorial Prize|
for a Young Artist
Self Portrait by Katie Denham
|The Michael Harding Awards|
Two prizes of £500 of art supplies
Ghost by Malcolm Ashman RBA ROI (above bottom left)
Peeling 2 by Henry Jabbour (open)
|Frinton Frames Award|
£200 of picture framing at Frinton FramesWaiting for You by Steven Outram RBA
(middle row right)
|The Edward Wesson Award for Watercolour Painting £100Present from A.J. by Annie Williams RBA RWS|
|The Artist Magazine Award|
The winner will be featured in The Artist magazineAll works (502-507) by Anthony Yates RBA
The Dry Red Press Award
Work published as a greeting cardSongbirds by Nicola Slattery RBA
acrylic painting on wood
The Alfred Daniels Personal Favourites Awards (Six prizes of £100)
- Lights in Mist, Blackheath - Jon Pryke RBA
- Don't Rock the Boat - Stuart Smith (OPEN)
- Girl on the Wire - Bridget Moore RBA NEAC
- The Old Boat - Alex Callaway (OPEN)
- Bull's Head - Martyn Baldwin RBA
- The Thames at Putney - Ronald Morgan RBA ROI
|Don't Rock the Boat - Stuart Smith|
|The Geoffrey Vivis Memorial Award £100|
Self Portrait by Charlie Pike
NADFAS Scholar | Thomas Hardye School, Dorset
Events during the exhibitionThe remaining events next week are as follows:
|Presenters||Event Detail||Dates and Times|
|Monday 27th March 12 noon to 2pm|
|James Horton||Tour of the exhibition||Monday 27th March 4pm|
|David Sawyer||Landscape and Architecture|
|Wednesday 29th March, 12 noon to 2pm|
|James Horton||Coffee Morning (with sketching)|
James will be playing the classical guitar
|Thursday 30th March, 10am to 12 noon|
|Acrylics and Mixed Media|
|Thursday 30th March, 1:30pm to 3:30pm|
About the exhibition
- Venue: Mall Galleries - The Mall, St. James's, London SW1, UK (link is to Google Maps)
- Dates: 22nd March to 1st April 2017
- Open: Daily, 10am to 5pm during exhibitions (unless otherwise stated), including Bank Holidays.
- Admission £4, £2.50 concessions, 50% off for National Art Pass holders, Free for Friends of Mall Galleries, RBA Friends and under 18s