Thursday, September 08, 2022

Review: 161st Annual Exhibition of the Society of Women Artists (Part 1: Prizewinners)

I visited the 161st Annual Exhibition of the Society of Women Artists at the Mall Galleries yesterday. I highly recommend you get along to the Mall Galleries if you can before it closes on Sunday 11th September.

Two large charcoal drawings exhibited in the East Gallery

The artwork can also be seen via an online exhibition.

Here's a summary of the highlights of my review - which I apologise for truncating and posting late due to the events of this afternoon.

  • a packed Private View
  • a good range of prizes - won by SWA members and open artists
  • 469 artworks on display - with a high standard
  • The ratio of members artwork to artwork selected from the open entry is 50:50. The latter has been selected from over 3,000 entries via the call for entries from non members
  • a very great deal of 'fresh' artwork with "same old same old" at a minimum
  • an outstanding exhibition sculpture
  • a very impressive gallery of portraits
  • better than some other art society exhibitions at the Mall Galleries
The exhibition is open daily 10am - 5pm - except for the last day when it closes at 1pm.

Private View & Prizes

SWA President Helen Sinclair with Prince Michael - husband of the SWA Patron

Prince Michael of Kent stood in for his wife and opened the Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries yesterday morning. I got there just in time and was amazed to see an absolutely packed West Gallery for the opening and prizegiving led by SWA President Helen Sinclair.

There's a very good range of prizes ranging from those with a cash value, through Certificates, Art Materials and publicity via an exhibition and an article in a leading art magazine.

Cash Awards

Two paintings by Sarah Muirhead - Choice or Chance is on the left

Karin Walker Young Artist Award 
'The things that have been said will always remain ours'
by Zuzanna Salamon
  • Helen Sinclair Sculpture Award (£500): Aysa Dudko for 'Family Portrait' 


Art Media Awards

Original Nathans by Marjorie Collins
  • Derwent Special Fine Art Awards:
    • Established Artist Award (£500 art materials): Marjorie Collins for 'Original Nathans'
    • Young Artist Awards (£500 art materials): Anastasia Shimshilashvili for 'End of the Week'
Derwent Special Fine Art Award (£500 art materials): 
Anastasia Shimshilashvili (with her daughter) for 'End of the Week'

Vice President Anne Blankson-Hemans VPSWA won the Cass Art Prize
  • Cass Art Award £250 Cass Art Gift Vouchers: Anne Blankson-Hemans VPSWA
  • The Rosemary and Co Award (£100 brushes): Dani Humberstone for Body of work
  • Wells Fine Art Award (Personalised leather bound sketchbook): Dea Campbell for 'There will be miracles' 
The Rosemary Brushes Award
Body of work by Dani Humberstone

Publication Awards

  • The Artist Editor’s Choice Award (Feature in The Artist): Kayla Martell for Body of Work. Kayla lives and paints in Wicklow, Ireland.
The Artist Editor’s Choice Award (Feature in The Artist)
Kayla Martell for Body of Work

I picked this group of art out before I spotted the notice of the award. The design and composition and colour palette of each painting shows how you can make ordinary items have impact - and look great when shown together in a group.

About the Society of Women Artists (SWA)

The SWA was founded as as the Society of Female Artists (SFA) in 1855. In 1874 it changed its name in 1874 to the Society of Lady Artists (SLA) and again in 1912 to that of the Society of Women Artists. 

When I first visited one of their exhibitions 

The SWA currently has 150 Members and Associates around the UK and together with the Non-Members

Their annual exhibition is an International Open Exhibition and invites submissions from women artists around the world.

An annual exhibition has been held every year except for 1941 to 1946 - due to the Second World war and 2020-2021 when Online Exhibitions were held due to the global pandemic.

161st Annual SWA Open Exhibition
Dates: 6 - 11 September 2022 
Venue" Mall Galleries, London - in all three galleries
Time: Open Daily 10am - 5pm

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