Each year, many talented artists apply to join one of the eight leading UK art societies which make up the Federation of British Artists, a major visual arts charity established in 1961 and based at Mall Galleries. Every society has their own fine-tuned process for electing new members, the yearly result of which is a group of new FBA members who are certainly artists to watch! To introduce these individuals, Mall Galleries has created an exciting selection on Buy Art | Buy Now of work by the FBA’s newest additions.
After showing his sculpture in the annual exhibitions and submitting a larger body of work to the society, David Sprakes RBA was elected as a member of the Royal Society of British Artists this year. “It’s an honour to become a member of such a prestigious society”, he says.
The tactile sensory qualities of objects and environments, both man-made and natural, are constant sources of inspiration to David, in whose work the themes of abstraction and erosion recur.
Richard Rees PS enjoyed a successful career as an architect for forty years, but oil pastels have always been his passion. He returns to pastels now with added vigour, having recently joined the Pastel Society.
“Having now been elected a member of the Pastel Society, I have an incentive to develop my work further and I intend to continue to try new subject matter and techniques in my chosen medium” says the artist. Richard’s work is inspired by his background as an architect. He creates urban panoramas, using bright and contrasting colours to infuse his images with the dynamism of the cityscape.
Varsha Bhatia RI, new member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, is also an architect, but employs her professional knowledge to produce a very different effect. Varsha communicates the great beauty of buildings to her viewer through a meticulous attention to the finest details of a structure’s façade.
“Having always worked in watercolours, applying to become a member of the RI was my obvious choice. I have met quite a few RI members during the annual exhibitions over the years and have gained a lot by interacting with them. Becoming a member of such a prestigious institution has opened up opportunities for me to exhibit alongside RI members, who are some of the best watercolour artists”, says Varsha Bhatia RI.
You might be forgiven for imagining that Will Taylor RBA is also an architect, with his penchant for depicting buildings in his stunning copper plate etchings. Yet Will is a largely self-taught artist with a background in Business Consultancy, going to show that talented FBA artists hail from all backgrounds.
Will’s architectural artwork differs from Varsha’s and Richard’s, among other ways, in its introduction of human figures as interlocutors. Buildings, or in the case of Jodhpur Construction building sites, achieve life and narrative through their utility, and the stories viewers imagine for the people residing within them.
Another welcome addition to the Royal Society of British Artists is the expressive, semi-abstract painter Annie Boisseau RBA. Annie has exhibited at Mall Galleries regularly for some years, and received the Winsor & Newton Award for painting at last year’s RBA Annual Exhibition.
Annie conceives of her paintings as contemporary interpretations in the tradition of romantic landscape painting. They are inspired by an emotional response to the natural world, conveyed through surges of colour and the application in layers of transparent paint to create a sense of atmosphere.
Frances Bell RP joins the Royal Society of Portrait Painters this year after contributing to FBA exhibitions for many years. Bell has received numerous prizes such as the De Laszlo Foundation Award, the Winsor & Newton Young Artist Award, the Barbara Tate Award, the Artist Editor’s Choice Award, and the Sheffield University Portrait of a Woman Award.
“The RP represents a forum where the art of the portrait is hallowed turf, in all its diversity and skill”, says Bell. “I’m thrilled to be a member of such a prestigious society and look forward greatly to contributing to it in the years ahead.”
This represents just a small snapshot of the talent and diversity present within the FBA, whose societies’ breadth spans marine and wildlife art, portraiture, watercolours, pastels, oils and beyond, achieving in each genre and discipline a skill-level that is often unmatched elsewhere in contemporary British Art. Each year, the addition of new members signals the introduction of new ideas into the Federation of British Artists. It reminds us that talented artists can hail from any backgrounds, and that having access to a vibrant artistic community remains one of the most useful resources an artist can possess.
Congratulations and welcome to the new members of the FBA. If you’re an artist who would like to become a member, you can find out more about the societies and their membership application processes here.