The Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) Annual Exhibition 2015 opens to the public on Wednesday 2 December; here, our Exhibitions Manager offers an exclusive preview of what to expect at the exhibition, which features almost 300 new and recent oil paintings by living exponents of the medium.

A range of ROI members, non-member exhibitors and young artists showcase the medium of oil painting in surprising variations of style and subject at the forthcoming Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, including…

Still Life

Roy Freer spends his days in his studio, considering and resolving studies of plants, pots and pans, bottles, fruit and vegetables that crowd out his shelves on all sides, as seen in Assortment. Roy writes about the process, that, ‘In my mind’s eye I set about to resolve how these objects may be seen in differing relationships and intensities and be brought together to my satisfaction – I ask, what more can one need?’.

Roy Freer ROI, Assortment

Meanwhile other still life paintings on show include Peter Graham’s Tulips in a Blue Jug, in which relations of tone and colour lead the eye into the composition and to the arrangement’s centerpiece, a jug of white tulips - a nod to the painter William Nicholson (1872-1949); and more unusually, in comical contrast to her still lifes featuring strawberries and seashells, bottles and bowls, Lucy McKie’s must-see Toy Fire Engine on Cardboard Box.

Lucy McKie ROI, Toy Fire Engine on Cardboard Box


Also well accounted for in the show are a variety of landscapes, including this year’s exhibition catalogue cover, Malcolm Ashman’s Dartmoor Series, September 2015. Alongside which John McComb’s Winter Morning Sunlight, River Tame continues McCombs’s long-standing aim to make a complete visual record of the village of Delph and the surrounding Pennine landscape in all its seasons before development spoils the character of the area.

John McCombs ROI RBA, Winter Morning Sunlight, River Tame


From the countryside to the country’s capital city, several exhibits capture London’s famous landmarks, such as Somerset House as seen by Roger Dellar, and a short walk along The Thames from there, Peter Wileman’s London Eye and “The Tattershall Castle”. While Adebanji Alade and Bill Dean (in Colours, Rain & Reflections, Cannon Street II and Reflections in The Strand, respectively) represent another of the city’s familiar sights: rainy days, specifically the reflections from sheets of water upon the city’s streets. Continuing the theme of cities ‘under water’, Brian Ryder has painted a series of Venetian reflections in water, including Venetian Reflection 2 - Palazzo, finished in his studio following a recent visit to Venice. Whereas Alice Hall has painted the same city from another perspective, looking upwards to the skies onto scaffolding around San Marco. While from San Marco to San Francisco, Ken Howard (so well known for his paintings of Venice, some of which feature in this exhibition) has painted a view off the coast of the northern Californian city, complete with boats and blue sky.




Pictures of people populate the exhibition, too: many by members, of members, such as Tim Benson’s Self Portrait by Lamplight and Roger Ferrin’s portrait of fellow exhibitor and member, Tony Merrick. Not forgetting Susan Bower’s portrait of Mr Cooper Tibbles - even if Mr Cooper is in fact the artist’s cat (and in fact a “she”), pictured wearing a protective coat from the vet in Midnight Cat.

Perfectly summing up the Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, though, is Tony Merrick’s Night Studio, Reflections, which depicts the environment in which many of the works on display have taken shape – from direct observation of the subject, paintbrushes to hand, easel at the ready, inspiration and imagination aplenty.

Tony Merrick ROI, Night Studio Reflections

Above are just some of the works on display in the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition, the only major British Art Society that promotes and exhibits work of the highest standard exclusively in Oils.

View more highlights from the exhibition here