Portrayed! 25 Years of Inspiring Women‏

The Lots Road Group, together with the International Women’s Forum UK (IWF UK) opened their annual exhibition at The Chelsea Town Hall last week with a packed Private View and a fabulous video introduction by esteemed portrait artist, Daphne Todd, a real honour for the group.

The Lots Road Group teamed up with IWF UK on its 25th Anniversary to produce a portrait exhibition of 16 of its most inspiring women – its four founders and first 12 chairs.

IWF UK is part of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), an organisation which advances leadership across careers, cultures and continents by connecting the world’s most pre-eminent women of significant and diverse achievement.

With over 5,000 women leaders across six continents and 33 nations, the IWF has unprecedented global reach to exchange ideas, learn and inspire, and promote better leadership for a changing world.

The portraits have been created by artists in the Lots Road Group – artists who all studied at The Heatherley School of Fine Art in Chelsea, one of the few art colleges that focus purely on portraiture, figurative painting and sculpture.

Together the group has captured in oils, acrylics, pastel, and print the 16 women who founded or chaired IWF UK during its first 25 years.

Susan Young, who chaired the organisation during its 25th year and championed the initiative said:

I am delighted to embark on this special collaboration with the Lots Road Group. This is a wonderful opportunity to capture the essence of our leaders on canvas and represent inspiring leadership in an innovative medium.

This is the Lots Road Group’s second major project. Last year, in the run up to Mother’s Day, the group mounted a portrait exhibition celebrating motherhood.

This year’s exhibition of IWF UK’s leaders at The Chelsea Gallery runs until Sunday 7 June 2015.

The related catalogue is available on line and on sale at the exhibition, and contains brief biographical information about each of the artists and sitters, as well as a brief account of what it was like for each artist to portray the women who provided the inspiration for these portraits.

The Lots Road Group blog contains interesting behind-the-scenes pictures and a video of the exhibition hang.

The Chelsea Gallery:
Chelsea Library
Chelsea Old Town Hall
King’s Road
London SW3 5EZ

Related links

The Lots Road Group are:

 

Contemporary British Figurative Painting

Thinking about British figurative painting evokes names such as Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and David Hockney. These artists can be seen to follow in and further the traditions begun by the pre-war painters such as the Camden Town GroupWalter Sickert, David Bomberg, the Bloomsbury Group and the realists of the Euston Road School.

This work was in contrast to the various styles influenced by other modern art at the time, of Paris and New York, such as Surrealism, abstraction and Pop Art. Beside these parallel movements was another kind of art pioneered by a group of loosely associated artists later labelled The School of London, which was important in the reinvention of figurative art in the second half of the 20th century.

What united them was a belief in the possibility of finding new ways to create realist paintings and reinvent the representation of the human figure to make it relevant in a world traumatised by the Second World War.

When not in their studios, many of these figurative painters could be found drawing in the National Gallery, London. Their study was the art of the Renaissance and of Impressionism, regarding those pre-modern art pioneers as their teachers.

It was during the 1970s and 1980s that the work of Bacon, Freud and Hockney  gradually began to be recognised as amongst the most important British art of its time. This was an undeclared group, whose members have always varied, yet Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, Michael Andrews, Leon Kossoff, Euan Uglow and the more Pop Art-associated David Hockney, are regarded as the important artists, for between them they found new ways of looking intensely at the world around them: painting what they saw, with what they felt.

It is in this tradition that the New English Art Club (NEAC) was formed, although the origin of the Club was actually in the studios of a group of young London artists in 1885. This group of painters had studied and worked in Paris, and felt a dissatisfaction with the exhibition potential of the very academic British Royal Academy (RA), which was under the presidency of Sir Frederick and later Lord Leighton.

In April 1886 this group of artists mounted an alternative, rival show to that of the RA: this first exhibition of the NEAC included around fifty artists, including Frederick Brown, George Clausen, Stanhope Forbes, Walter Sickert, John Singer Sargent and Wilson Steer.

Much of the development of the NEAC should be seen in relation to the “old-school academic art” of the RA‘s “stolid… approach”, compared to the “dynamic and vibrant observation of the New English“. This is perhaps too simplistic a characterisation, however, it is remarkable that:

“the artistic descendants of the Impressionists continued to be associated with the New English whilst the RA moved by fits and starts towards a more conceptual approach and towards public gallery orientated work.”

The influence of the NEAC grew greatly during the late 19th and early 20th century, with artists such as Sickert, Augustus John, Gwen John, Tonks, Steer and William Rothenstein viewed as “a golden period indeed”. Stanley Spencer, Paul Nash, Duncan Grant and Mark Gertler were all members in the 1920s; indeed:

“almost every member of the Camden Town Group started with the New English… and it formed an essential part of their development”.

It is an understatement to observe that since the mid-1880s the world of visual art has changed enormously: up until World War II, Paris was regarded as the undisputed centre of the art world, some regard New York as the pivot point, with London at times viewed to be the predominant heart of art in Europe: certainly there has been a huge increase in the number of commercial and public galleries.

Yet the hardship of life as an artist continues as ever: indeed, it is very difficult indeed to establish a reputation as an artist and to produce and sell pictures of high quality in sufficient quantities to provide a living. To make work that is:

“vigorous and lively and life enhancing, an artist’s needs are: a tradition in which to work – or in other words – a shared artistic language, a training – an education in this language, an exhibition space and a public to buy work. All of these the New English helps to provide.”

Contemporary aims of the RA and the NEAC have diverged greatly, and today the RA could be regarded as abandoning much so called ‘figurative painting‘, which some view as leaving the field clear for the NEAC to champion figurative work. At a New English exhibition:

“at which non-members work is also shown, you will now see imaginative painting, expressionism sometimes satirical subjective paintings and abstracted work amongst the directly observed objective painting which is part of our “continuing” tradition.”

Ironically, many of NEAC artists later became members of the RA, but they still continued to exhibit with the NEAC for the rest of their careers. During the 1940s and 50s the NEAC and the RA could be viewed as most closely aligned, where some regarded the NEAC as a “staging post” or “stepping tone” to the RA.

During its early years, the Impressionist style was well represented at the NEAC, and the influence of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism continues. Nowadays, more than a century since its inception, the NEAC is regarded as a “well respected institution and one of the foremost exhibiting societies”, and today continues in a realistic, figurative style, whilst the RA has embraced abstract and conceptual art.

Today the New English seeks work which “demonstrates excellence in both concept and draughtsmanship”, and views its place and aim as a “centre of excellence for drawing and painting”. Artists such as Jason Bowyer, Melissa Scott Miller, Daphne Todd (amongst many others) are for me key artists in this area.

The visual language they speak:

“is one in which pictorial statements are slowly and intricately constructed, but when they are completed they can be understood quickly and easily by everyone.”

Further,

“It is ever evolving and capable of great spiritual depth, and this language is the Club’s main concern. The content of the pictures, the visual messages which they convey and the eloquence and strength with which they are painted is a matter for individual painters, the framework within which these artists and others like them work is the province and the future of the New English Art Club.”

Today the New English Art Club is a group of over 80 professional painters whose work is based principally upon direct observation of nature and the human figure.  Its Annual Exhibition is a showcase for its members and gives aspiring artists an opportunity to be seen alongside some of the best figurative artists painting today.

Since the foundation of the NEAC many diverse styles of art have developed, which add richness and variety to its exhibitions. In the world of contemporary British figurative art, the NEAC,  with it current president, Richard Pikesley PNEAC:

“aims to foster excellence in all its activities and continues to assist and encourage the art of painting to develop even more expressive possibilities”,

and the New English actively engages educated public interest on many different levels, including:

“a nationwide programme of exhibitions, an acclaimed School of Drawing, a website and an active Friends scheme that supports the aims of the New English.”

The New English Art Club Annual Exhibition 2014 runs from Friday 28th November, 10.00 am to 5.00 pm, until Sunday 7th December, 1.00 pm, at Mall Galleries, London.

 

 

References and further information:

 

Pastel Society Exhibition 2014

Jason Bowyer PNEAC RP PS - Rhythm - Pastel

Jason Bowyer PNEAC RP PS – Rhythm – Pastel

The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2014 ran from the 10th to 21st June at the Mall Galleries. A new fan of this art society, I enjoyed the exhibition very much and look forward to future exhibitions by them.

As always, I loved the work of Jason Bowyer PNEAC PS RP, and his work here was no exception – stunning as always – but there were also many other works that captured my interest and thus more artists I will be following!

After the Leaves Have Fallen 3 - Pastel - by Roy Wright PS

After the Leaves Have Fallen 3 – Charcoal- by Roy Wright PS

Roy Wright PS exhibited an ambitious and captivating charcoal drawing “After the Leaves Have Fallen 3”: it’s rich texture and detail draws the eye from the grass, up the trunk, to be lost in the intricate branches against the pale winter sky.

Cyclaman - Pastel - by Robin Warnes PS

Cyclaman – Pastel – by Robin Warnes PS

Works ranged from the highly realistic to the more abstract, from minimalist drawings to the very painterly, deeply layered works, in charcoal, pastel and mixed media.

Cheryl Culver PPS - Sunrise - Pastel

Cheryl Culver PPS – Sunrise – Pastel

Cheryl Culver, President of the Pastel Society and a member of the Royal Society of British Artists, known for her serene and shimmering pastel paintings of woodland and landscapes in sensitively beautiful muted palettes which are often exhibited in prestigious London galleries including the Mall Galleries, shared her thoughts on the Jackson’s Art Blog before the Pastel Society Annual Exhibition: visit the Jackson’s Art Blog to read the full article. 

View the Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2014 virtual gallery online.

Visit the Pastel Society website.

 

New paintings by Daniel Shadbolt

Oil on canvas by Daniel Shadbolt

Oil on canvas by Daniel Shadbolt

New paintings by the talented painter Daniel Shadbolt is a new one-man show this June at the Jonathan Ross Gallery 286: 286 Earls Court Road, London SW5 9AS.

Artist Daniel Shadbolt

Artist Daniel Shadbolt

The New Paintings exhibition features wonderful examples of both Shadbolt’s still life and portrait work. For the past few years he has worked from his studio in a house in West London which has again proved inspirational: “the interiors that he depicts are the distillation of an artist’s life” (Gallery 286 website).

Oil on canvas by Daniel Shadbolt

Oil on canvas by Daniel Shadbolt

A graduate of Chelsea College of Art and Design with a BA Fine Art: Painting, as well as completing the prestigious Drawing Year at The Prince’s Drawing School, and receiving the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Bulldog Bursary in 2008, as well as host of other awards and selection for many distinguished exhibitions, Daniel Shadbolt is a accomplished artist and well known as an inspiring teacher (at schools such as the Heatherley School of Fine Art in London), with a warm sense of humour and love of life and people that shines through in his work.

Oil on canvas by Daniel Shadbolt

Oil on canvas by Daniel Shadbolt

Personally I most admire Daniel’s lively brushwork and shimmering use of colour: his paintings seem to breathe and move before your eyes and I find them quite mesmerising.

Oil on canvas by Daniel Shadbolt

Oil on canvas by Daniel Shadbolt

For some time I had planned to visit this charming gallery in London’s Earl’s Court and this was the perfect excuse. In summer the garden is open and it is gorgeous – worth the visit alone – but of course Daniel Shadbolt’s paintings are stunning and the best reason to visit right now. Moreover, June has brought such lovely weather so it’s the ideal time to visit Gallery 286.

The exhibition continues until the end of the month, but already well-received it looks set to be possibly sold out, with lots of red dots in evidence at the first private view and even more by the second one!

Visit Daniel Shadbolt’s website for more information about the artist and his work.

Visit the Jonathan Ross Gallery 286 website for more information about this and other exhibitions.

Society of Women Artists 153rd Annual London Exhibition 2014

Society of Women Artists (SWA) logoThursday 26 June to Saturday 5 July
(closes 3.00 pm on the last day)
Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1

Private view: Wednesday 25th June 10.00 am – 8.00 pm
11.00 am – official opening and presentation of Awards

I’m delighted to again have work accepted for the Society of Women Artists annual exhibition this year, and even more excited to have been made an Associate member. This follows having works accepted over the past few years, and this year having six works accepted (the maximum of four to be hung and two accepted but not hung).

For an invitation to the private view and free entry throughout the duration of the show, please visit my website at www.sharonlow.com or send an email to exhibitions@sharonlow.com

I hope to see you there there!

About the Society of Women Artists (SWA)

SWA Flyer 2014Originally founded as the Society of Female Artists (SFA), this unique group has held an annual London exhibition of the work of women artists ever since 1857.

During the mid-nineteenth century, women were not considered serious contributors to the field of art and they had great difficulty in obtaining any public showing.

At the first exhibition of the SFA, 149 women showed 358 works. It is a reflection of the times that some of the artists hid their true identities for fear of social recrimination.

At this time the art world was dominated by the Royal Academy which, when founded in 1768, had just two women among the founders; there were no other women Royal Academicians for over 150 years, until Annie Swynnerton SWA (a member since 1889) was elected as an Associate in 1922.

Some of the most noted artists of the time were attracted to the Society: when Lady Elizabeth Butler’s “The Roll Call” was displayed at the Royal Academy in 1874, even Ruskin, with his peculiar views of femininity, revised his opinion that “no woman could paint”.

The SFA was involved in education for women artists: female artists were effectively excluded by the mores of the time from professional training – even for those who gained a place at art school, the model in the women’s class would be decorously draped on grounds of propriety.

As access to professional training increased, the Society’s exhibitions attained higher standards, and a name change came in 1869 to the Society of Lady Artists. The mid-Victorian persona was discarded in the last year of the century, and the twentieth century was embraced by the Society with the new name: The Society of Women Artists.

Among its members the Society has had many famous artists: Dame Laura Knight, the first woman Royal Academician for over 160 years, was elected President of the SWA in 1932;  Mabel Lucy Atwell, the world-famous illustrator, was also a member. Current members include Daphne Todd OBE, the first woman President of the Royal Portrait Society; June Mendoza OBE, the well-known portraitist June Mendoza; the late Suzanne Lucas, Past President of both the Society of Botanical Artists and the Royal Miniature Society (in 1980 was elected as the first woman president of a Royal Society); and Philomena Davis, elected first woman President of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1990.

The Society has enjoyed Royal patronage since 1865 and the current patron is HRH Princess Michael of Kent. The current President is Sue Jelley.

Royal Society of Portrait Painters 2014

I was just in time to catch the recent Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition 2014 at the Mall Galleries before it ended. As expected, I was impressed by the high calibre of all the artists.

I was particularly looking forward to seeing paintings by artists and friends I admire, such as Sarah Jane Moon, Bulldog Bursary Prizewinner 2013-2014, with her portrait of Dr Laura Bridgeman and Flora Watson, who was Winner of The £3,000 de László  Foundation Award for artists 35 years and under with “Studio 26”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also much anticipated were paintings by Hero Johnson and Ian Rowlands, with their portraits of each other that were also featured in recent editions of the Artists and Illustrators magazine; and a host of others, some of whom I’ve pasted images from below and which can still be viewed on the Heatherley School of Art blog.

£500 raised for Oxfam Mother Appeal

We are very proud that The Lots Road Group, together with public support, have raised £250 for the Oxfam Mother Appeal – and which the government will double to £500!

This total of £250 came from a combination of a percentage book sales at the exhibition plus postcard sales and other donations. Many thanks for to everyone who came along and gave such generous support.

If you would like to find out more about where your money is going and what it will do, please visit the Oxfam Mother Appeal.

Celebrating motherhood through art

The Lots Road Group Motherhood Exhibition

The Lots Road Group Motherhood Exhibition

Kensington and Chelsea Today featured the The Lots Road Group, an association of portrait painters in Chelsea, with their free exhibition on ‘Motherhood’ at the Chelsea Library from Thursday 20 March until Mother’s Day, Sunday 30 March.

“The exhibition celebrates mothers, grandmothers and mothers-in-law featuring 16 portraits by a group of figurative artists who met while studying portraiture at the Heatherley School of Fine Art in Chelsea, which is one of the few art colleges in Britain to focus on portraiture, figurative painting and sculpture.”

Read the full article http://www.kensingtonandchelseatoday.co.uk/arts-and-culture/exhibitions/uzpy6g2er6.html