Friday, February 23, 2018

119th Annual Exhibition of the Pastel Society 2018

The Pastel Society is holding its 119th Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries.

View of the Main Gallery during the Private View of the Pastel Society Exhibition 2018

You can see the exhibition at the Mall Galleries from today until 3pm on Saturday 3rd March 2018. You can also:
Catalogue cover

I'd like to be able to point you at a list of prizewinners on the website - but there is none there. 

Instead the next best thing is the list of award winners - with good images of the artworks - on the Mall Galleries Facebook Page - which is public.

See The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2018 Prize & Award Winners

See my earlier post Events, demos and workshops at the 2018 Pastel Society Exhibition for the remaining events during the course of the exhibition - which include two pastel demonstrations in the gallery tomorrow.  However note that most workshops are now fully booked.

Exhibition metrics - and the Open Entry

There are 275 works in the exhibition (4 more than 2017).  That said the work was hung without the benefit of the Threadneedle Space.

So far as the OPEN ENTRY is concerned..

OPEN ENTRY: [figure to be supplied] works were submitted by non-members for this Open Exhibition (785 in 2017)

  • 88 artworks selected from the open entry by 64 non-members + one invited artwork (100 artworks by 69 non-members in 2017) 
  • 186 artworks were exhibited by 46 members - averaging 3.17 works 
  • The ratio of members' work to non-members is 68:32 (63:37 in 2017)
  • The average number of paintings per non-member artist selected is 1.3 (1.4 in 2017)
    • those who have more than one work selected are candidates for members who are typically showing two to three works 
    • meaning that the majority of exhibiting non-members only have 1 artwork selected. 
Probably the best way of improving your chances of getting selected is submitting more than one very good artwork in eligible media

Candidates for Membership

The exhibition again had a wall of works by Candidates for Membership. I think this is a very neat way of making it easy for existing members to review works prior to voting and for non-members to see the calibre of work by people who would like to become members.

You can see the two walls below.

Candidates for Membership #1 - in the North Gallery
The chap in the middle Martin Goold (above)won the Henri Roche Award with his work called Mountain Town - which is always a prize worth winning as these are EXPENSIVE pastels!

I really liked the works on the right hand side by Benjamin Hope which did an excellent job of looking just like oil paintings.  I also love the fact he is a son of artist and, as a teenager, rebelled by NOT becoming an artist and instead going to Cambridge University where he did a PhD in Theoretical Nanoscience: The Electronic Structure and Spintronic Potential of Transition Metal Nanowires and Carbon Nanotubes: a Theoretical Investigation.  Since becoming an artist, he has been a very consistent exhibitor in the Mall galleries at various shows.  Having taken a look at his website and the catalogue of a recent exhibition with a sculptor, I can see him becoming one of those people with multiple memberships of FBA Societies! He's certainly producing some excellent artwork in both oil and pastels.

Candidates for Membership #2 - in the North Gallery

Work I liked

View of the Private View of the Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2018
View of the Private View of the Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2018

This was my favourite corner of the exhibition - such a pity it wasn't in plain view but was hidden behind one of the  blocks which create bays.

I'm a fan of still life by Felicity House (left) and Jan Munro (right)

Four landscapes by Norma Stephenson
It's very odd. I was convinced that Norma Stephenson had started using new frames because her work was leaping off the wall and shouting at me from across the gallery. However I went back and looked at my photos from last year and they are the exact same sort of frames. However the works didn't seem to suit the frames whereas these landscapes looked brilliant in them.

I liked run of contrasting landscape works on this wall

Matthew Draper's work looked stunning - as always

I particularly liked the panoramic views with the low lying clouds and mist
His work made a nice focus on one of the long walls

Mathew Draper sandwiched inbetween Victor Ambrus (left) and Sheila Goodman (right)
The artist who most surprised me this year was Libby January - whose work I forgot to photograph properly.

I loved this enormous pastel painting of cheese on toast which won a prize for Ian Rawling. It deserved to be out in the Main Gallery along with his other painting of a stripy lollipop

Cheese on Toast by Ian Rawling
Soft Pastel and Pastel pencil, 75cm x 85cm

More views of the Exhibition

I wasn't a big fan of the feature end wall in the Main Gallery. It wasn't that the work was not good - quite the contrary - it just didn't look as if it belonged together. Angela A Court and Jeanette Hayes would have looked much better next to one another - rather than separated by somebody pastel painting Venice - even if he did win a prize!

Feature  End Wall in Main Gallery

Plus I think I'd have liked more space on the wall.....

In fact - I finally worked it out while writing this review and processing the photos. Losing the Threadneedle Space this year - but keeping the same number of artworks meant that the walls looked somewhat crowded - and some of the works needed more space around them to breathe.

I can normally visualise the exhibition afterwards in my head. However I sometimes come out of exhibitions feeling like I haven't absorbed them properly - they leave me feeling a tad confused because I have difficulty recalling walls - and I had something of that experience this year.  Maybe it was to do with the hang rather than the number of works but something didn't gell properly for me this year.

Maybe I just need to come when there's a lot less people?

There were some nice corners where figurative butted up against asbtract and looked good together - but it takes some work to make that work across a whole exhibition.

Add caption
The exhibition included works and photos of the three members who had died in the previous year. While it is entirely appropriate to commemorate members, I'm not sure it should be the first thing you see when you enter an exhibition. It doesn't really get the exhibition off on the right note......  Plus apart from anything else some of us find it really quite difficult to stop and read while on the stairs!

Maybe another place for memorialising members can be found?

Memorial Wall for Past Presidents Leigh Parry, John Ivor Stewart and Honorary Member Bernard Dunstan

More posts about the Pastel Society

You can review previous posts about Pastel Society exhibitions - from my archives.

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