Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Exhibitions about Woods and Trees: art, illustrations and photography

Is this the year of the tree? 
Did a lot of people get together to create a lot of art exhibitions about trees? 
Or is it just a coincidence?

From the series Sonamu (pine tree) by Bae Bien-U

Apparently - according to the Art Fund, there has been a recent event of note worth commemorating
In 1217, Henry III signed the Charter of the Forest, opening up the royal forests for the use of the people. To mark the 800th anniversary of this act, in November 2017 The Woodland Trust launches a new charter to recognise and protect those rights.
This is a link to the National Library and The Charter of the Forest

Below is a listing of the art, photography and illustration exhibitions about trees which I know about.

The Arborealists: The Art of Trees 2017 


The Arborealists: The Art of Trees 2017 has just finished at Bermondsey Project Space, London, until 13 January - but will be moving to the John Davis Gallery in Moreton–in-Marsh, Gloucestershire in June 2018
The appearance of the Arborealists in 2013 is an extraordinary phenomenon within the pervading orthodoxy in an art world that values post modernist objects, film and popular culture. Where events, interventions and installations engage the viewer, what can ‘tree painters’ (the Arborealists are for the most part painters), offer a public that is understandably titillated by Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst.
The associated book is still available - and indeed I bought The Arborealists: The Art of the Tree before I realised there was an exhibition!

Trees in Illustration 


Trees in Illustration is at the V&A until next week and finishes on Tuesday 23 January 2018.
This display shows a variety of illustrations celebrating trees, woods and landscapes. Featuring watercolours by Beatrix Potter and Arthur Rackham, alongside drawings by E. H. Shepard for A. A. Milne's Pooh stories and his verses in Now We Are Six. Also included are Eric Ravilious' charming wood engravings for an edition of Gilbert White's classic The Natural History of Selborne. Exhibited here for the first time are Rolf Brandt's witty pictures for Stephen McFarlane's Story of a Tree. 
The second exhibition at the V&A - Into the Woods: Trees in Photography - is currently on display until 22 April 2018.

I saw it last Friday and it has some  simply stunning images - see above for just one example.
Trees have long been a source of inspiration for artists. This display explores the diverse representation of trees in photography – as botanical subjects and poetic symbols, in the context of the natural and human worlds.
This is not part of the exhibition but is a short video on YouTube by Bae Bien-U the Korean photographer who produced the stunning image at the top of this post.  He has apparently been acclaimed for his treescapes - particularly ones of Korean Pines - for the last two decades.


I'll write more about the exhibition and the other marvellous images later in the week.

A Walk in the Woods: A Celebration of Trees in British Art 


Web page for A Walk in the Woods at Higgins Bedford

A Walk in the Woods: A Celebration of Trees in British Art is on at The Higgins Bedford - in Bedford - until 25 February 2018 (just over half an hour on the train from Central London - I've been checking train timetables!).

A trip to Bedford will also be rewarded with another exhibition of Edward Bawden and his Studio if you go before 28th January.
The Higgins Bedford pays homage to the tree with a new exhibition celebrating the role of trees and woodland in British landscape painting. Drawn from the world-famous Cecil Higgins Art Gallery Collection, some forty watercolours, drawings and prints from the past two centuries will be on show and will include works by John Constable, John Sell Cotman, Edward Lear, Samuel Palmer, Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland and Lucian Freud. The show will highlight the importance and enduring popularity of trees in art, and explore various themes which have evolved in artists’ depictions of nature: magical and dreaming trees, trees in the countryside, the pleasures of woods and the lure of the exotic.
There's also a A Walk in the Woods Study Day on Saturday 20th January 10.30am – 2.30pm (
£20 Including lunch and tea or coffee on arrival - Booking essential)

This study day brings together speakers to explore further the subject of trees in British art. The day will start at 10.30 with refreshments and registration followed by talks by
  • Christiana Payne, Professor of History of Art at Oxford Brookes University, author of ‘Silent Witnesses: Trees in British Art 1760-1870’ and co-curator of A Walk in the Woods; 
  • Fiona Stafford, Professor of English Language and Literature University of Oxford, presenter of The Meaning of Trees on BBC Radio 3, and author of the acclaimed ‘The Long Long Life of Trees’, a tribute to the diversity of trees. 
  • David Boyd Haycock, freelance writer, lecturer and curator specialising in British cultural history of the twentieth century. Author of ‘Paul Nash’ and ‘A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War’, David is currently writing a book called ‘A Grand Epoch: Young British Artists and the End of the Century’ for Tate Publishing. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Last Call - Annual Open Exhibition 2018 of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters

The deadline for the Call for digital entries for the next annual exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters is Friday 19 January 2018, 12 noon.

This is an OPEN exhibition which any serious portrait painter should think very seriously about entering due to the high quality of the non-members exhibits and the scope to attract commissions for future portraits.

RP Annual Exhibition 2017 - Threadneedle Space
The RP seeks submissions of new and traditional artistic models and perspectives in portraiture
Below you can find:
  • a review of the chances of getting exhibited
  • reasons why you SHOULD enter the exhibition if you are a serious portrait painter
  • details about the exhibition
  • details of the prizes
  • summary of the call for entries

Exhibition Metrics


Things you need to know - based on the works hung in the 2017 exhibition
  • about half the portraits exhibited are by artists who are non-members
  • only about 5% of the works submitted were selected for display in the exhibition - 102 artworks by 89 non-members were selected from 1,963 entries submitted by non-members
  • your work needs to be very good to get selected. You are competing with the top portrait painters who are not members for a place in this exhibition - because of its reputation as a shop front for commissions
As usual there are plenty of good non-member paintings in the exhibition. (my comment in last year's review of the exhibition)

Portrait drawings and fine art prints in last year's exhibition

Reasons why you should enter the RP's annual exhibition


For those wondering why they should submit an entry to this exhibition, take a look at the following.

Entry is digital

You only need to go to the expense of framing and transport if invited to progress to the second stage of selection.

The Importance of Exhibitions to Portrait Commissions

Some significant prizes

A prestigious exhibition and an Online Exhibition

  • This is a very prestigious exhibition and is run in all three galleries at the Mall Galleries on the Mall in London.
  • The exhibition is also put online so it can be seen all over the world 

A changing exhibition

Why it compares favourably to the BP Portrait


2018 Annual OPEN Exhibition


  • Venue: Mall Galleries - across all three galleries due to its size.
  • Dates: Thursday 10th May 2018 and closes at 5pm on Friday 25th May 2018. 
  • Hours: Open to the public every day from 10am - 5pm 
Wall in the Main Gallery (2017)

2018 Prizes


The prizes include:
  • The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture: £10,000 plus the Society’s Gold Medal awarded for the most distinguished portrait in the Society’s annual exhibition
  • The de Laszlo Foundation Award: £3,000 plus a Silver Medal for the most outstanding portrait by an artist aged 35 years or under
  • NEW The RP Award: a new £2,000 prize for portraiture 
    • All works shown in the Annual Exhibition will be eligible. 
    • winner will be the artist whose work best represents the year's chosen theme - ‘Friends’. 
    • The judges will be looking for the most interesting and engaging interpretation of the idea of ‘Friends’ within the parameters of portraiture. 
  • The Prince of Wales's Award for Portrait Drawing: £2,000 and framed certificate for a portrait in any recognised drawing medium
  • The Burke’s Peerage Foundation Award: £2,000 and framed certificate for the most classically inspired portrait in the exhibition
  • The Smallwood Architects Prize: £1,000 for a portrait in which architectural or interior features play an important part

Below you can find a summary of how to enter the next annual exhibition.

You can also follow my summary of the Calls for Entries for the various exhibitions of the national art societies in the UK on my blog PAGE UK Art Societies: Open Exhibitions.

Call for Entries


This is an OPEN EXHIBITION.  Artists are invited to submit works for exhibition alongside members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters at their Annual Exhibition 2018.
  • All entries are via digital submission 
  • The deadline for entries is 12 noon on Friday 19th January 2018
  • The entry fee is £15 per work payable at the time of submitting (£10 per work for artists aged 35 or under). 
Details of how artists can apply via the open entry process are set out below.

Who can Submit?


Any artist - over the age of 18 - living anywhere in the world can submit artwork to this exhibition.

Some of the portraits exhibited in the North Gallery last year


What you can submit

  • Media: any medium including original prints but excluding sculpture and photography.
  • Number: a maximum of three works (of which a maximum of three will be selected)
  • Dry: Paintings MUST be completely dry at the time of delivery.
  • Size: Works should not be larger than 2.4m along the longest dimension.
  • Exhibitions: Work must not have been exhibited previously.
  • For Sale: All work must be for sale. 
  • Price & VAT
    • The minimum price is £300 (Works can NFS - not for sale).
    • The price of works must include commission of 45%+VAT irrespective of whether the artist is registered for VAT
    • Artists from outside the UK may need to register for VAT, please check with HM Revenue and Customs: https://www.gov.uk

RP Annual Exhibition 2017 - Main Gallery (Private View)

Generic Information about submitting to the Annual Exhibition 2018


This is the standard information relevant to any exhibition at the Mall Galleries by a society which is a member of the Federation of British Artists. The General Terms and Conditions are universal. The ones which are specific to this exhibition are in "What you can submit" above

You can find Information about the exhibition on the Mall Galleries Website

The Call for Entries Terms and Conditions are applicable to ALL FBA exhibitions at the Mall Galleries. These cover:
Some of the portraits exhibited last year

The RP Exhibition 2018


With respect to the RP Annual Exhibition you need to use:

How to Submit


The process works as follows
  • Read the generic terms and conditions - general and specific 
  • Read the specific entry requirements for this exhibition
  • Register for digital submission - if you have never entered before
  • Login to the Open Exhibition Entry website
  • Submit your entry online prior to the deadline of 12 noon on Friday 19th January 2018
    • You need to complete the form, pay the fee and upload images of work 
    • Images must be in JPEG format and under 5MB
  • Pre-selection is based on online entries and associated digital images 
  • Notification of Pre-selection: Friday 26 January, 12 noon 
  • Deliver pre-selected entries ONLY to Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD for final selection on Saturday 24 February, 10am to 5pm
  • Final selection - in front of a Panel of Members of the RP
  • Notification of Acceptance Tuesday 27 February, 12 noon 
  • Collect work not accepted for exhibition from Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD on Thursday 1 March, 10am to 5pm
  • Collect unsold work: Thursday 31 May, 10am to 5pm

The selectors' decisions are final and no feedback is offered.

More about Past Annual Exhibitions


2017
2009-2016

Thursday, January 11, 2018

TRAC 2018 - The Representational Art Conference

TRAC - The Representational Art Conference 2018 - home page of the website
People in the UK and Europe often complain that all the best art conferences happen in the USA and nothing happens over here.

Well it would appear that one of the Conferences TRAC 2018: 'The Representational Art Conference' which has previously been held in the USA is this year going to be held in the northern Netherlands - where, apparently, there has been an unbroken tradition in classical fine art education that has survived the past 70 years.

This is what it's all about
the goal of the unique TRAC series of conferences is to provide a community for the discussion of exciting ideas and new developments in 21st Century representational art. It is an extraordinary gathering of artists, lecturers, philosophers, historians, critics, collectors, museum and gallery professionals.
Past keynote speakers at their conferences have included people like Roger Scruton and Juliette Aristides (according to the Huffington Post article TRAC2014, an Interview With Michael Pearce About the Representational Art Conference

Location

It's actually being held in in Leeuwarden - which the website describes as the cultural capital of Europe - and it turns out it is!  It's also a province in the northwest of the Netherlands
Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018 tackles its Capital of Culture year by sticking its head above the parapet
Previously it's been held Ventura, California in 2012, 2014 and 2015, and in Miami, Florida in 2017. 

Conference Basics

Dates: May 1st - 4th 2018
Venue: WTC/ Westcord Hotel, Leeuwarden, The NetherlandsConference Language: English - for those wondering about whether their Dutch is up to scratch!

I have to state upfront that I know absolutely nothing about it - but what I have done is:

  • review the website - which looks to me like a proper art conference website - with a "call for papers" (which is how come come I know about it) and some suggestions of serious topics for discussion
TRAC2018 is specifically interested in papers about 21st Century representational art. What does it say about our current condition? What ideals does it seek to express? How does it relate to the history of art? What does it tell us about our current social reality? Does the artist have a new role? What cross-cultural themes will dominate 21st Century figurative art?
  • checked out media coverage in the past - which is respectable
I'd recommend people take a look. For those interested in representational art - from a serious perspective - you may well find much to interest you. You might also want to contribute a paper!

Capital of Culture


For those more generally interested in the Capital of Culture activities check out 
It all kicks off at the end of this month with the opening weekend!

Monday, January 08, 2018

Selected artists for Columbia Threadneedle Prize Exhibition 2018

Congratulations to all those artists whose artwork was selected to be shown in the Columbia Threadneedle Prize 2018 - with prizes worth £35,000. This blog post is about the artists whose work has been selected for the exhibition

The focus of the exhibition is best new works of figurative and representational art

The exhibition is at the Mall Galleries in central London. It's open from 31 January to 17 February 2018, 10am to 5pm (closes 1pm on final day) - and admission is FREE.

The Columbia Threadneedle Prize website has a new design for the 2018 prize which I will review on Wednesday.  An innovation for 2018 is the publication of a virtual exhibition of the selected artwork where you can browse before the exhibition opens.

Some submission and selection statistics


  • Over 4,000 people submitted digital applications and images of their artwork for the Columbia Threadneedle Prize 2018.
  • Nearly 700 were invited to submit their artwork for review in person by the Panel of Selectors.
  • Just 104 artworks were selected
    • That's c. 1 in 7 of those who made it through to Stage 2 and 
    • this is approximately 2.5% of the total entries.  The latter is not dissimilar to the success rate of those submitting to the BP Portrait Award.
The number of artists selected is an even lower number of 95 artists as 8 artists have had more than one work selected.

This year’s Panel of Selectors were:

I think they've done a good job of giving us a good variety of styles of figurative and representational art - and a wide variety of subject matter. Although I detect a few sub-themes coming through - I have started to wonder if we are going to have a corner with very large paintings of architectural subjects!  Might be rather nice!

The prizes


The prizes are:
  • First Prize: £20,000 and a solo exhibition 
  • Visitors Choice Award £10,000
  • Five Shortlisted Artists: £1,000
It doesn't say so on the website but Lewis told me before Christmas that the shortlisted artists won't be announced until later. I forget whether it's when the Exhibition opens or just before the Awards Dinner.

Anyway - I'll be doing another blog post when the shortlisted artists names are announced.

It's good fun in the meantime to see if you can spot those likely to be shortlisted!

Selected artists


Below are mini profiles of the artists. Links to the artists' websites are embedded in their names.

It's a mammoth effort and takes me hours - I do hope you find it educational. The reason I do this is to encourage others to enter art competitions in furtherance of their art and careers as an artist. You can see
  • what sort of art education people have pursued and 
  • what sort of artwork they produce

I lecture on artist statements and CVs and develop the mini artist profiles below in a very short space of time from the information provided on websites. Hence they they come with hints and tips for some!

I sometimes feel by the end of what follows that I should be giving out an award for "best website" and "easiest to see who you are and what you do" website!

The main difference for me this time around - apart from the improved websites - is the increase in people exhibiting who live in Europe. I wonder if this will continue post Brexit?

A
  • Emiko Aida RE - Grew up in Tokyo where she did her first degree. MA Printmaking, Royal College of Art. Now an awardwinning printmaker and painter living in London who is a member of Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers. 
  • Emily Allchurch -  trained as a sculptor, First Class (Hons.) degree in Fine Art from the Kent Institute of Art & Design – Canterbury in 1996, and an MA from the Royal College of Art in 1999. Now uses photography and digital collage to reconstruct Old Master paintings and prints to create contemporary narratives.  Her work Babel Britain (After Verhaecht) is a Transparency on bespoke LED lightbox. This is MY TIP for A PRIZE - because there is an explicit nod to art history, it's clever and technically much more than proficient, uses contemporary visual art media and provides an intelligent comment on contemporary society. It's a contemporary figurative artwork with a BIG 'C'.
Babel Britain ( After Verhaecht) by Emily Allchurch
Transparency on bespoke LED lightbox (edition of 20, 10 available) 128 x 140 cm

B

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Gender bias in Government Art Collection?

Is there a gender bias in the Government's Art Collection in terms of the percentage acquisition of artwork by male artists?

The Guardian today accuses the government of having a very marked gender bias in terms of recent acquisitions

Here's the accusations (as alleged/reported in The Guardian)

In 'Institutional' male bias in government's art collection, says Labour
  • 265 works by men and just 80 by women were collected over the last five years for which data is available, between 2011-2012 and 2015-2016
  • more than 70% of works acquired during the period were by male artists - even after bulk acquisitions of work by male artists are excluded
  • re. works purchased (rather than donated) between 2011/12 to 2015/16, more than 70% were created by male artists and 27% by female artists, with the rest unknown or made collectively by studios.
  • the government’s art collection was 'not setting the right example.'
This issue is gathering pace. The Guardian also commented on it last year.
Guardian research showed last year a strong gender imbalance in works displayed in commercial and public galleries. Female artists account for just 4% of the National Gallery of Scotland’s collection; 20% of the Whitworth Manchester’s and 35% of Tate Modern’s collections. Only 33% of the artists representing Britain at the Venice Biennale over the past decade have been women.
Looking for some leadership within the ranks.....
Frances Morris, the director of Tate Modern, who has said its permanent collection representing 335 female artists compared with 959 male artists is “just not good enough”, would not comment on the government art collection or its acquisitions policies.

Here's the links to the reports on recent acquisitions


Below are links to the reports where you can read the names of the artists whose work has been bought by the Government


GAC Annual Report and Acquisitions Lists (Adobe Acrobat PDF format.)

The official DCMS Comment


Add caption
A DCMS spokesperson said: 
“The government art collection is a strong supporter of women artists. Almost half the artists that had work purchased by the GAC [Government Art Collection] between 2011 and 2016 were women, and it will continue to promote a diverse range of British artists that have a strong connection with our country.”
So obviously people are reading different reports, or comparing apples and pears or can't add up.

Or are we talking about one figure (The Guardian) relating to ARTWORKS and another (DCMS) relating to ARTISTS?

So it looks like it's "apples and pears".

The distinction between purchases and donations


Certainly the report suggests a number are donations.

That's because being able to say your work is included in a government collection enables you to hike your prices to the ordinary art collector - because you now have added 'street cred.'
I like to think - but don't know - that the acquisition process includes a means of vetting whether the artist and the artwork are any good.

Otherwise one might suspect artists of getting rid of artwork that won't sell...

Or it is taking up space needed for other artwork.

What's also needed is transparency over the cost of acquisition


In the spirit of transparency which applies to ALL contractual transactions and ALL salaries over a certain amount in the public sector, we should also be able to monitor the amount spent on artworks and artists by gender.

The sums spent are in the listings - but nobody is totting them up.

Also the values of artwork transferred from HMRC in payment of death duties is NOT currently stated

Just to be fair to everybody - and accountable to the punters who pay the taxes which buys the art I think the GAC could go the extra mile....

The Solution


The solution is:
  • the government acquisition's policy needs to be explicit as to gender issues
  • the GAC Reports need to be explicit as to:
    • number and percentage of ARTWORKS acquired - re gender
    • number and percentage of ARTISTS whose work was bought - re. gender
    • numbers and percentages re. purchases and donations
    • the value and percentage of SPEND - by gender (including the transfer values with respect to artist's estates)
ALL publicly funded services ought to be accountable based on 
  • the same standards applicable to the expenditure of public money elsewhere and 
  • the conduct of public services.

REFERENCE: Previous posts