Mall Galleries news

A Note from Lewis McNaught, Chief Executive

Lewis McNaught

Lewis McNaught, Chief Executive Federation of British Artist / Mall Galleries

My tenure as Chief Executive of the Federation of British Artists is coming to an end. After twelve years as CEO, I've decided now is a good time to pass the baton to a new Chief Executive who will lead the charity in its next phase of development. I’m very proud to have played my part in the dramatic transformation that has taken place during these years; I’m equally proud that I’m leaving it in a stronger position than when I arrived.

It’s the people that make any great business and the FBA is fortunate to have a superb team of professionals, all of whom have the drive, energy and commitment to address the further challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. 

The Main Gallery in 2007

We’re also a very special and unique business. Unlike other major galleries, we’ve achieved everything we’ve done without Government subsidy: we’ve strengthened our finances, ensuring sufficient reserves are set aside to see us through uncertain times; we’ve modernised our gallery spaces and improved our resources so we can provide superior exhibition services to members, exhibitors and visitors alike; and we’ve expanded our educational provision, having built our own dedicated Learning Centre and developed our own innovative learning programmes. 

The Main Gallery in 2016

None of this would have been possible without the incredible support that my team and I have received from a host of large and small grant-givers, major corporate sponsors and hundreds of loyal supporters, Friends and Patrons of Mall Galleries. Their support, together with the hard work and enthusiasm of the Mall Galleries team, makes it possible for me to stand down knowing the organisation is in great shape, looking forward to exciting times ahead.  



The FBA Board is seeking an experienced and inspirational arts executive to lead the next phase of this leading visual art charity’s development as Chief Executive.

 

The Kitchen Sink Too: Voices from Artists’ Lives

This summer, visitors to Mall Galleries have a unique opportunity to view the radical and beautiful bodies of artwork belonging to the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust, The Jerwood Collection, The Ingram Collection and The Fleming Collection, exhibited together to celebrate the individual collections and their collaborative relationships with each other.


Reserve your seat now


As part of a programme of events accompanying The Art of Collecting, we will be joined by author, broadcaster and art historian, Michael Bird, for a lecture entitled The Kitchen Sink Too: Voices from Artists’ Lives. Based on research undertaken by Bird in the British Library’s Artists’ Lives Archive, he will offer a fresh approach to the oeuvre of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and her contemporaries, their collaborative creative process, and their significance, both within their local artistic communities and the internationally important British Modernist Movement.

‘Kitchen Sink’ painting was a term coined by preeminent post-war art critic, David Sylvester. Reviewing the work of John Bratby and others for Encounter (1954), Sylvester wrote:

Bratby takes us back from the studio to the kitchen, depicting in his work an inventory which includes every kind of food and drink, every utensil and implement, the usual plain furniture and even the babies’ nappies on the line. Everything but the kitchen sink? The kitchen sink too.

A selection of John Bratby’s paintings are now in the Jerwood Collection, as are artworks by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham.

author, broadcaster and art historian, Michael Bird

A specialist in Modern British Art, Bird is the author of The St Ives Artists: A Biography of Time and Place. Speaking to Rupert White for artcornwall.org in 2010, Bird highlighted how the book offers a new angle on the St Ives School, stating:

The book works as an unfolding narrative which brings together artists, places and events with certain broad historical themes. I wanted to tell a serious art-historical story but at the same time make it as readable as a novel.

With each chapter focusing on a different artist and historical theme, from the introduction of the Welfare State to forging connections with American Abstract Expressionism, this masterful survey offers surprising insights into the St Ives School and its personalities, styles, technical methods and inspirations.

Reserve your seat for this talk on eventbrite. The St Ives Artists: A Biography of Time and Place will be available to purchase in Mall Galleries Bookshop throughout the exhibition. The Art of Collecting will be open to the public from 27 June to 6 July and throughout Mayfair Art Weekend (open from 12 noon to 8pm on Friday 29 June, open until 6pm on Saturday 30 June, and closing to the public at 1pm on the final day).


Reserve your seat now


Mall Galleries Artists Win BP Portrait Awards

Mall Galleries artists have numbered among the winners of the BP Portrait Award on many occasions, including last year’s winner Benjamin Sullivan RP NEAC, the 2010 winner Daphne Todd OBE PPRP NEAC, and the 1996 winner James Hague RP. This year, we congratulate regular Mall Galleries exhibitor and Buy Art artist, Miriam Escofet, overall winner of the BP Portrait Award 2018.


Browse Work by BP Portrait Award Winners


Vanitas - Self Portrait by Miriam Escofet: Mixed Media & Pastel, 70 x 50 cm - £6,100

Miriam’s portrait of her mother An Angel at my Table wowed the judges with its surreal and sensitive representation of the universal mother figure. In Miriam’s characteristically luminescent style, the artist presents a table laid with fine china at which her mother sits taking tea, looking to her left at something unseen. Not only has the artist been praised for the great skill demonstrated by this work, Miriam has also received touching feedback from viewers for whom An Angel at my Table has helped them reconnect with their own mother, often after the mother has passed away.

Anthony by Miriam Escofet: Pencil & Charcoal, 43 x 33 cm - £2,600

There is something in the fineness and frailty of the china, itself made of bone, that evokes both the necessary ephemeral and the human desire to preserve the things we love. Miriam has captured a moment of connection and nostalgia with her own mother, yet the sitter’s gaze has moved on, hinting that this connection might one day break. It is an incredibly powerful painting, depicting the sense of dependence, admiration and fear of loss that is felt by all children.

Girl in the Hat by Ania Hobson: Oil, 56 x 40 cm - £900

We are furthermore delighted to share that Ania Hobson has won the BP Portrait Young Artist Award 2018 for her work, A Portrait of Two Female Painters. Ania is also a regular Mall Galleries exhibitor, with work on Buy Art | Buy Now. A Portrait of Two Female Artists presents the artist alongside her sister-in-law, Stevie Dix, with whom Ania shares a studio. Although Stevie is an abstract artist and Ania a portrait painter, the two women take a great deal of inspiration from each other. The double portrait is angled upwards - a classic shot used in filmmaking to indicate a character’s powerfulness. It makes a feminist statement about the historic under-representation of women artists, and Ania and her peers’ commitment to remedying this imbalance.

Both winning works are powerful statements as well as stunning works of art, achieving a level of accomplishment and complexity that Mall Galleries has come to expect through its intimate dealings with the artists, Miriam Escofet and Ania Hobson. We heartily congratulate them both.

Thom by Ania Hobson: Oil, 180 x 80 cm - £5,130

Mall Galleries Buy Art | Buy Now is also proud to host a selection of their work, including Miriam’s Vanitas – Self Portrait, the charcoal sketch Anthony, and several of the artist’s fantasy landscapes: The Portals (triptych), The Temple, and Olive Tree III. The luminescence of An Angel at my Table is shared in Vanitas – Self Portrait, where layer upon layer of mixed media and pastel combine to create the sense of light emanating from within. Miriam’s interest in symbolic objects is also seen through the inclusion of the skull, the nest and the egg, representing birth, death, and the circle of life.

Ania’s Girl in the Hat is also a self-portrait, and one which demonstrates the artist’s characteristic appreciation of fabric and texture. Similarly, Thom is Ania’s 2016 submission to the BP Portrait Award and is a life-size portrait of the artist’s brother in an eye-catching blue chequered suit. The sitter lounges in a tactile leather armchair.

The Temple by Miriam Escofet: Oil, 76 x 51 cm - £15,130

Explore stunning work by these award-winning artists online at Mall Galleries Buy Art | Buy Now, and check out their winning works at the National Portrait Gallery (14 June – 23rd September), before they leave for a tour of the UK.


Browse Work by BP Portrait Award Winners



Hermione Hammond Drawing Award Winner 2018

'Study 1' by Martin Karpisz

Out of 699 entries from over 70 colleges in Britain and the Republic of Ireland, Mall Galleries is delighted to announce that the winner of the Hermione Hammond Drawing Award 2018 is Martin Karpisz, professionally known as Siguel. 

Study 1 by Martin Karpisz

Karpisz is currently studying a one-year Master’s programme at Glasgow School of Art, having completed his BA at Poznan University of Arts. His winning work is titled Study 1 and portrays two friends, Cheak Yen Hui and Julie Mitchell, to the right of whom an ear is drawn in considerable detail; “I want the viewer to listen to the story the picture is telling”, explained Karpisz.

Self Drive by Nicholas Peall

Guest Judge of the Award, Peter Clossick, praised “the quality of Martin’s drawing”, adding that “it has a lovely rhythmic quality, and I like the listening ear”. Clossick is a member of the New English Arts Club and past President of The London Group. He was joined on the judging panel by three others, representing Hermione Hammond’s family and Mall Galleries.

My Grandfather by Meggie Waktins

The 2018 runner-up is Nicholas Peall, student at Turps Art School, for his charcoal drawing, Self Drive. “My work is fuelled by modern-day anxiety and the yearning for spiritual freedom which, in our age of electronic chaos, can be hard to achieve”, says Nicholas. Three further works were highly commended by the judges; My Grandfather by Meggie Watkins (University of Brighton), City Life by Jack Dickens (Norwich University of the Arts), and Peckham High Street 4 by Rebecca Harper (Turps Art School).

City Life by Jack Dickens

Peckham High Street 4 by Rebecca Harper

The Award was established in 2012 in memory of the artist Hermione Hammond, and aims to encourage artists to develop their drawing skills. It is now run in conjunction with Mall Galleries and the Federation of British Artists.

Falcke on the Mall

Despite being a practising artist since the 1950s, John Falcke has never exhibited... until now. Mall Galleries is honoured to host Falcke on the Mall, a retrospective exhibition showcasing a remarkable career characterised by creativity and experimentation.

John Falcke, Big Screen Kiss

Spanning several styles and subjects, Falcke’s art draws on canonical twentieth-century movements, from Picasso and Cubism to Malevich and Suprematism, in which shape and colour ‘reign supreme’ over image and narrative. These referential elements, combined with a flexible approach to subject, and a serial method of working, saw Falcke develop a unique style which has contributed significantly to British Modernism.

John Falcke, Copenhagen Factory

A fascinating element of John Falcke’s practice is his commitment to using unusual and modest materials; not only are his pieces stripped of unnecessary mark-making, they are also stripped of material pretension. From household gloss paint to MDF board, his tools of choice are surprising, and contribute a humbleness and charm to each piece, keeping viewers on their toes.

Falcke on the Mall will be displayed in the North Gallery until Saturday 17 March (closing at 1pm on final day). This exhibition is complemented by a range of accompanying literature available to purchase from Mall Galleries Bookshop, including Falcke,  a monograph about Falcke’s life and career, Identity, Art and Guilt, the illustrated memoir by Dan Davidson, and John Falcke’s book of Rhythms and Christmas Jingles. Postcards and posters of the exhibited works are also available.

John Falcke, Great Pett Farm 1

Pastels and Pirouettes

Coffee Morning sketching ballet dancers

Pastel painting and ballet have been close companions since Edgar Degas first ventured backstage at the Palais Garnier to sketch the dancers of the Paris Opera. Not only are the frosted hues of pink-ribboned pointe shoes and snow-white tutus ideally suited to the tonal delicacy of pastels, but the shapes and movements in ballet achieve an austere grace under the pastellist’s touch. 

As part of The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2018, Mall Galleries paid homage to this celebrated relationship with a visit from the ballerinas of the Central School of Ballet, who danced and posed, with classical piano accompaniment, for the galleries’ visitors to draw. 280 people took part, with help from Derwent who supplied free art equipment. As eager guests queued out of the door, and excited artists stood on chairs to get the best angle for their balletic compositions, the ballerinas and pianist wove a spell of creative serenity over Mall Galleries.

“It’s a wonderful challenge to capture movement in this way”, remarked one guest, whose sketchbook was dotted with rapidly-drawn figures in motion. Each visitor developed their own approach to drawing dance; some took photographs and worked from these, some used iPads to create digital drawings, and some used multiple pastel pencils simultaneously, the replicated lines mirroring the synchronised movement of the dancers. From realist to abstract and amateur to professional, artists from all backgrounds and ages entered into the spirit of the occasion.  

This event was organised as part of Mall Galleries’ ‘Coffee Morning for Art Lovers’ initiative, which takes place on the last Thursday of every month, offering guests unique opportunities to sketch extraordinary subjects, befriend fellow art-lovers, and receive a coffee and pastry from our café for just £3. Previous sitters have included iguanas and tarantulas, and next month there will be the opportunity to sketch jazz musicians, performing live in the main gallery.  

The next ‘Coffee Morning for Art Lovers’ will take place on 29th March between 10am and noon, during the Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition. This event will be sponsored by Winsor & Newton. If you were as enthralled as we were by the Central School of Ballet’s graduate performing company, Ballet Central, look out for their nationwide tour, which starts tomorrow at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. If you were unable to join us for this event, visit our What’s On page to find out about other activities during The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2018, which runs until Saturday 3rd March.

 

David Curtis ROI RSMA, Mission Deep Snow

David Curtis Mall Galleries Christmas Cards

David Curtis is a figurative and ‘plein air’ watercolour and oil painter known for his ability to observe transient light conditions and communicate changing atmospheres in his work.

In 1983, David was elected to become a member of the Royal Society of Marine, then became a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1988.

David’s oil painting, ‘Deep Snow’, will be available as a Christmas card in our Mall Galleries Bookshop. We chose to make it into a card because, for us, it is the essence of winter and implies a seasonal cosiness tinged with nostalgia.

Snow is a symbol of the festive season, and David’s portrayal of snow enveloping the roads, roofs and trees is acutely observed and very moving. He achieves snow’s glittering, subtle changes in tone with a muted palette. He achieves the visualisation of that perfect soft, powdery snow texture - compacting underfoot - with tight brushstrokes and seamless blending of paint. The air is pleasantly crisp and fresh. It is a painting in which the viewer can experience a beautiful snowfall with all five senses.

In an otherwise silent scene, David builds anticipation with a solitary figure, wrapped up warm against the elements, crunching through the foot-deep snow as they slowly approach the viewer. You get the sense that everybody else is happily snowed-in inside, sat around woodburning fires, wearing knitted socks and drinking cocoa together. In other words, the perfect Christmas.



Buy Mall Galleries Christmas Cards for the Festive Season

Content Image

Image credit

David Curtis Mission Deep Snow

Roger Dellar ROI PS RI, First Snow

If there’s one image the lyrical lilt of ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ brings to my imagination, it’s this: Roger Dellar’s oil painting, ‘First Snow’. We all have that idyllic vision of a proper rural and wintery Christmas, with crisp virgin snow carpeting the fields, waiting to be crunched underfoot on a traditional family Boxing Day walk.

Roger is a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, the Pastel Society, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, and President of the Wapping Group of Artists. He is a champion in many media and can work in various environments from the comfort of his Surrey studio to the inhospitable yet picturesque locations favoured by the plein air painter.

He has long been fascinated by the depiction of light in paint. This is evident in his tender and peaceful treatment of the foreground snow contrasted with the bright glare of the distant snow-capped hills. I’m not sure if it’s the framing of the image by the two leafless trees or the cool neutral tones in Roger’s palette, but the tranquillity this scene conjures gets me excited for the start of the festive season.

‘First Snow’ is available as a Christmas card in our bookshop here at Mall Galleries, so you can send your friends and family a card evoking the peace and serenity of that perfect White Christmas.



Buy Mall Galleries Christmas Cards for the Festive Season

Image credit

Roger Dellar, First Snow (detail)

Darren Rees, Polar Bear Christmas Card

Darren Rees SWLA is a self-taught artist and sits on the council of the Society of Wildlife Artists. Inspired by nature, he travels all over the world throughout Europe, the Americas and the Arctic to sketch and paint all varieties of flora and fauna.

He has created this wonderful Polar Bear design for a Christmas Card which we will be selling in Mall Galleries’ Bookshop this festive season. We caught up with him to discuss Christmas, acrylics and Arctic expeditions.

How did you go about capturing the bear in the moment?

It was one of the several bears on pack ice in the Barents Sea, southeast of Svalbard. I sketched it from the ice-worthy ship I was on. It was originally sketched from life with watercolours, and I then I reworked some of the images with acrylic in the studio on my return.


I have read that this year you are doing some naturalist tourn with Speyside Wildlife Company to really exciting destinations - where has been your favourite so far? Where are you most excited about visiting next?

I lead nature tours for about ten weeks every year. So far for 2017 I have been to see bustards and eagles in Spain, grizzly bears and wolves in Yellowstone Park, and lions, rhinos and cheetahs in South Africa. By the time this interview is published I will have also been whale watching in Nova Scotia!


Can you explain how you create your subtle yet striking brushstroke technique using acrylics?

For this polar bear, I used a loaded brush on a very smooth panel as I wanted the brushstrokes to keep their integrity. Integrity is sometimes lost on woven canvas, and I wanted the bold brushstroke effect to remain to emphasise the softness of the polar bear.


Finally, how will you be spending the festive season?

I will spend this Christmas with the family in Scotland - I hope there will be some snow!

Image credit

Darren Rees Polar Bear

A Meeting of Like Minds that led to a Lasting Friendship

Friends of Mall Galleries

On the 26th January at one of Mall Galleries’ ‘Coffee Mornings for Art Lovers', two of our visitors happened to sit next to one another …by the time they left, just a few hours later, they had swapped numbers and become friends in real life!


Read their story:

Patricia Glasswell & Katrine Storebo

Katrine: I started visiting the Mall Galleries regularly earlier this year to attend the Coffee mornings. It seemed like a lovely thing to do on a Thursday morning; inspiring, cultural and social…It was there that I met Patricia. We shared the same table as we were both there on our own

Patricia: The morning we met I felt a bit reluctant to get drawing in public, so initially we got chatting about how this fear can hold you back…talking to Katrine encouraged me.  Then I noticed she was pregnant so I told her I had trained as a midwife and that was it, we got chatting about loads of things. Having swapped emails, later that week we exchanged photos of our own art and then carried on swapping notes and chatting by email

Katrine: Having sent some photos of my son Alex when he was born, we decided to meet again in June for Patricia to meet him in person

Patricia: “…what a lovely baby

I have been a Friend of Mall Galleries for many years and really enjoy the end of month coffee mornings. They are a great way to meet other like-minded people plus an extra enticement to not miss a current exhibition. It is amazing to have the use of paper and drawing materials. I also usually visit Cass Art in Charing Cross to receive 10% off purchases thanks to Mall Galleries.

Katrine: It’s so lovely to plan to meet up with someone at the Gallery, it’s a really friendly, social place and I feel very comfortable attending events there. I think it is great that I can still come to the coffee mornings with my son Alex, he is now just over 6 months old and it’s really convenient with the lift, plus the staff are really friendly. Patricia has been raising money for the St John’s Hospice for years and so not only are we meeting up again at Mall Galleries but I’m aiming to attend her latest exhibition in November in St John’s Wood…it’s for such a good cause.


Patricia Glasswell has shown and sold work at the Discerning Eye exhibition at Mall Galleries. Her next exhibition is being shown on the walls of The Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth from 6th – 14th November, 10am-4pm. 40% of all proceeds are in aid of St John's Hospice. Patricia has been raising money for St John's Hospice for over 17 years.

Exhibition Address: The Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, 60 Grove End Road, St John's Wood, NW8 9NH (nearest tube St John’s Wood)

Katrine Storebo works as an art teacher at Spitalfield's Crypt Trust (the New Hanbury Project, which was recently visited by Prince William) where she teaches art to people who are in recovery from drugs and alcohol. She is a figurative painter



Our Coffee Mornings for Art Lovers are perfect for those of you who love popping in to have an informal chat about art with other visitors and members of the Mall Galleries team. There is also the chance to do some drawing, with Free drawing materials generously provided by Winsor & Newton

Coffee Mornings for Art Lovers take place on the last Thursday of each month*, so there will always be a new exhibition to see and discuss.

* excluding December 2017