Mall Galleries news

Updates from Mall Galleries - the national focal point for contemporary figurative art, and home to the Federation of British Artists. Includes written content and photo essays from our Exhibitions, Call for Entries, Art Consultancy.

Search Press Demo Day 2018

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Last week was the Search Press Demo Day at Mall Galleries, where hundreds of visitors came to watch their favourite artist-authors painting in the gallery. Search Press are an international art and craft book publisher, who print instructional texts for artists and crafters of all skill levels.


Find out about Upcoming Events at Mall Galleries


Matthew Palmer demonstrating landscape painting in watercolours at the Search Press Demo Day

We were fortunate enough to have artists Hashim Akib, Matthew Palmer, Carole Massey, Julie King, Peter Cronin ARSMA and Billy Showell all painting in the main gallery, with colour experts from Winsor & Newton in the Threadneedle space, teaching visitors how to create their own watercolours, and talking them through the history of watercolour, using artefacts from the Winsor & Newton archive.

Many guests were artists themselves, and painted prolifically throughout the day. To capitalise on this creativity, we held a postcard painting competition, the winner of which received £50 worth of art materials from Winsor & Newton. “It’s always a pleasure to take part in events at Mall Galleries” said a representative from Winsor & Newton, “because the visitors are so passionate about art”. Winsor & Newton often sponsor Mall Galleries art workshops, such as our regular ‘Coffee Morning for Art Lovers with Sketching’, where they supply free art materials.

Billy Showell demonstrating floral painting at the Search Press Demo Day

Whether you were in the mood to learn about landscape painting, portraiture, floral, wildlife or marine art, there was something for you at the Search Press Demo Day. “The best thing about the event is the variety” remarked one guest, “and the price of the ticket makes it really accessible!” For one visitor, it was not only their first trip to Mall Galleries, but their first trip to London, and one made specifically to come to the Demo Day. “I’ve had a great day” she told Mall Galleries’ Digital Coordinator Beatrice Bowles-Bray. “I work in pencils, so I’ve learnt lots from Carole Massey.”

Representatives from Winsor & Newton teaching visitors how to make and use their own watercolour

Events like these are a regular feature of life at Mall Galleries, and they can be as valuable for the artists as they are for the visitors. “It’s great for an artist to get positive feedback about their work, so it’s been a really good day”, said Hashim Akib, who painted to a packed-out audience for the entire duration of the event – five hours straight, kudos to Hashim!

Hashim Akib demonstrating at the Search Press Demo Day

Find out about Upcoming Events at Mall Galleries


Coffee Mornings coming up

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When we started our Coffee Mornings two years ago, we never dreamt that they would become as popular as they now are. Thanks to everyone who has helped make them such a success!

This year we have already drawn: ladies in traditional Japanese Kimonos, a Jazz Band, Dutch still life, abstract shapes and forms and Ballet Dancers.

As always, we’ve taken August off Coffee Mornings to make space for the Summer Workshops, but we are back with them next month and have some really exciting ones planned for the rest of the year.

Bring along your sketchbook and drawing materials, or if you don’t have any you can use those generously provided by Winsor & Newton – who have been supporting our Coffee Mornings since they began.



Thursday 27 September, 10am to 12 noon

Coffee Morning with sketching Female Kickboxers

Taking inspiration from the Society of Women Artists Annual Exhibition we sought for something that would emphasise the Society’s message of female empowerment, and what could be more empowering than kickboxing? Safari Kickboxing hold women-only martial arts classes promoting fitness and exercise as well as self-defence and self-confidence. A display team from the club will be demonstrating their skills while we draw along.


Sunday 7 October, 10am to 12 noon

Coffee Morning with Sketching for Silver Sunday

Inspired by the exhibition Lydia Corbett, Picasso’s Sylvette, we'll be drawing in the gallery while listening to the hits of 1953, the year that aged 19, Lydia Corbett, then called Sylvette David, became Picasso’s muse, sitting for some of his finest paintings.

Over 200 of Lydia’s works, oils and watercolours along with ceramics and other three-dimensional works will be in the exhibition and will inspire our drawing.

This event is part of Silver Sunday, a day of free events and activities for older people. Find other events near you: www.silversunday.org.uk


Thursday 25 October, 10am to 12 noon

Coffee Morning with sketching Birds of Prey

Willows Bird of Prey Centre are joining us with a few of their beautiful birds to act as life models for this Coffee Morning during the Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition, The Natural Eye. There will be an Owl and a Hawk posing for your drawing.

In previous years we’d had snakes, lizards, toads and tortoises acting as live models during the SWLA Coffee Mornings, and they’ve been some of our most popular events, so make sure you arrive on time to avoid missing out.

 


Thursday 29 November, 10am to 12 noon

Coffee Morning with sketching Ballet Dancers

For the last Coffee Morning of the year, we are pleased to welcome back the Central School of Ballet.

Central School of Ballet’s renowned graduate performing company Ballet Central joins us again this November and their talented dancers will be posing in Nutcracker costumes for us at our Coffee Morning for Art Lovers, inspired by the festive season approaching. They will be surrounded by the paintings of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition. This is another event we anticipate being very popular, so make sure you arrive on time to avoid disappointment.

Do come and join us at any or all of these events. No need to book, just drop in on the day between 10am and 12 noon.

 

A Note from Lewis McNaught, Chief Executive

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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

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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.

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).

 


Mall Galleries Artists Win BP Portrait Awards

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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

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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 Watkins

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

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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

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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

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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

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Image credit

David Curtis Mission Deep Snow

Roger Dellar ROI PS RI, First Snow

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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

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Roger Dellar, First Snow (detail)