Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Society of Women Artists - Online Annual Exhibition 2021

This is the second year the Society of Women Artists have opted for an Online Annual Exhibition as a Virtual Gallery. Given not knowing how effective jabs would be, what the resistance to jabs might be and whether there'd be another variant which made all this academic are some jolly good reasons to be very cautious!

The exhibition is online until 31st December - so plenty of time to view it - and view it again!

Reviewing an Online Exhibition

That said, I find it very difficult to review Online Exhibitions. I've been trying to work out the reasons why - and here's some thought to date

  • I really like to walk around an exhibition - at a distance from the artwork to get a sense of the exhibition as a whole and what some if its themes or highlights (and lowlights) might be. On this circuit, I'm looking to see what catches my eye. I can "sort of" do something similar with an online exhibition - except all artwork is diminished to similar size images - which knocks my sense of scale out the window!
  • Then I walk around again and look at each artwork in turn - and this time I check the labels to ee what media it is and who created it. Naturally I get a very good sense of size - which I particularly miss when viewing online. I do so wish each image had a standard size "something or other" in the picture as well or a "this is what it would like on a wall next to a standard sized sofa" to give me that sense of scale.
  • Then I ponder on what I've seen - and walk around again to revisit images - and see if I've missed anything for the third circuit
When I say this is what I like to do, in reality this is what I used to do. I can't do that much walking any more so in some ways I better get myself attuned to reviewing online exhibitions because that's all I''ll be looking at for a few months (hopefully soon - if I ever get a date for surgery!).

The other thing I note particularly when I see the online exhibition and then see the real artworks on the wall is I get a very good sense of which look rather better online then they do in reality! You'd be surprised!

Finally, I'm one of those people who likes to get up very close and personal with some artworks - because I want to see "how they did it". I want to see the layers and the brushstrokes - and this, more than anything else, is what I miss when I can only view and online exhibition.

That's not to say it's not possible to really appreciate an artwork online - but on the whole I do feel you do need access to a very large image which you can zoom in on. Indeed some of the images I've been sent by museums and art galleries in the past gave me an insight into work which was better than seeing it on the wall.  The nearest analogy for what I mean is the artworks you can see in Google Arts and Culture.

Review: SWA Online Annual Exhibition 2021

I have th option of looking at:
  • individual artworks
  • pages of thumbnails
  • artwork by artist
I opt for the thumbnails first and then the artists. 

The great thing about thumbnails is it's like my first circuit of a gallery. I'm just looking at images. I don't know who the artist is or what it's made from. I like the fact I get the title of the piece if I hover over the image.

I notice I get pickier as I work my way through the pages....

Initial impressions - as I look at the thumbnails 

  • the overall quality of the artwork is good - and some is very good
  • unsurprisingly, women feature in a lot of the paintings
  • many artists seem very attuned to what artwork looks like on a screen and know how NOT to create flat boring artwork - however this is not a lesson which has been learned by all
  • there were far fewer paintings relating to the last 18 months prior to the exhibition opening than I was expecting
I did look at a few as individual artworks on the way through. 

Individual artists whose artwork stood out for me included


I very much like the fact that artwork bvy artist not listed alphabetically by surname. I get so fed up with those whose surname is at the beginning of the alphabet not having to incur the problems associated with viewing fatigue - because it is more taxing to look online compared to in an art gallery.

I'm going to highlight the artwork that particularly catches my eye below. Some of the reasons are:
  • they included red - it always works
  • they had a strong monochrome shape and design
  • the image read well as a thumbnail - and wasn't too complex or cluttered
Some caught my eye for the wrong reason i.e. they were trying really hard to look like other successful artists. I'm not interested in whether you look like somebody else - I want to know what your unique style looks like.

Some caught my eye as a thumbnail - and then failed to deliver when I saw a larger image. Art has to work from across the gallery (or as a thumbnail) and close up.

These are the people who stood out for me
  • Linda Kritskaya Website: www.lindakritskaya.com/ Instagram: linda_kritskaya_art/ - a Russian artist who apparently does not speak English (based on her Instagram). Her three pastels of children are excellent. Her pricing is way off though which I take to be unfamiliarity with showing in the UK.
Back to School 1, 2 and 3

Two of four Pastel Paintings by Sheila Goodman


  • Ninni Heldt  Website: www.ninniheldt.com / Instagram: ninniheldt/ - Her format is unusual (a 70cm circular painting) and her work is extremely distinctive and works well as a series grouped together. She also uses a traditional water golding technique. However I do think her work is overpriced.
Two of her four graphite drawings

After which I'm afraid screen fatigue set in. So apologies to all those who came later. This is the reality of online exhibitions....


Award winners



Pricing

One thing I did notice while reviewing artworks is that some

 pricing is badly out of kilter for typical wall pricing that sells art at the Mall Galleries. 

I've been writing about pricing and sales by FBA Societies and analysing the prices of works which sold for some months - if not years. I have identified price thresholds (i.e. what NOT to go above), if you want to have a serious chance of selling your work - within the context of experience, expertise and name recognition - plus what price ranges can see artwork selling very quickly.

The message does not for some reason appear to have got through to many of the artists exhibiting in this exhibition. I saw some quite ludicrous prices. 

This to my mind explains why so few artworks have sold to date - despite the exhibition having been online for a month. 

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