Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Artists and Illustrators at the Mall Galleries

The Artists and Illustrators "Artist of the Year" Exhibition is on view at the Threadneedle Space in the Mall Galleries until Saturday 24th February (1pm)

You can see the 50 artworks shortlisted for the Readers Choice Award on the competition website.

The winner of the Readers Choice Award - and other awards - is being announced at a special prizegiving event this evening (Tuesday 20 February) at the Mall Galleries.

I saw the exhibition yesterday when I visited the Pastel Society's annual show.  Interestingly people were confused as to which exhibition they were in - and were wondering if the A&I Exhibition was the Pastel Society. This is maybe unsurprising given that last year the Pastel Society also had the Threadneedle Space for their exhibition.

Maybe scope to improve the signposting of the different exhibitions on entrance to the gallery - and individual galleries?

However I have to say I found one very marked difference between the artwork on show compared to that in the Pastel Society exhibition elsewhere in the Mall Galleries.

I walked around slowly once - took some photos and then looked again.

Something was niggling. I always like to work out what a niggle is all about.

I could see that some of the draughtsmanship was good - a bit too good if anything.

I suddenly realised that most of not all of the artwork on display failed to show optical mixing of colours on the support.
  • Most of the paint seemed to be being applied as a single layer
  • I didn't see transparent glazing in the watercolours. 
  • I saw very little paint mixing on the support by those using oils and acrylics. 
This approach to painting creates images which I find curiously flat.  To me it's a technique of painting that is also also very characteristic of an amateur painter.  That's because, unless used by expert hands, it can veer towards giving an impression of 'painting by numbers/fill in the contours" effect.

The painting that I liked best was by Caroline Pool.

Here I am: Sally by Caroline Pool

I recognised the name straight away. She had two works in the very recent Threadneedle Exhibition 2018 and curiously this work is hung about a couple of feet to the left of where one of her paintings hung in the Threadneedle Space last week!

This painting works hard at shapes and form and the differences in textures within the painting.  The cutout effect also demanded that my eye take a close look!  The palette of colours used was also almost triadic - which again made for a pleasing picture.

It's certainly a work by a professional painter and I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if she wins an award tonight.  There again it won't appeal to everyone.....

You can see the prizewinners on https://www.facebook.com/ArtistsAndIllustrators/