Hertford Art Society 63rd Open Exhibition 2015 - May 3rd - 16th
New Light - a personal selection
A wander around this year’s Open Exhibition made me think - was there a common thread in any of the works? There were explosions of colour and vigour alongside calm and tranquil scenes. Looking in detail at the individual pieces and taking in the wide variety of techniques, my attention was caught. The sun had burst in to Cowbridge Halls with a new brightness, which revealed the 3D works in all their glory. The wonderful shapes, reflections and fantastic effect light and shade had in all of the works. It was the answer to my earlier thoughts, I saw the light.
The glass and wood piece, ‘Set Sail’ by Niko Brown drew me in first. Its shapes, refractions and shadows, shimmering as the sun intensified and receded seemed to make the piece alive with light. Mere melted sand and pigment but brilliantly combined to show real character. The stunning, vibrant colours cleverly fashioned described the form, but also revealed the surrounding landscape as the boat sails by. Housed on a wooden base, the grain of which echoed the shapes of waves rhythmically moving past. A fresh and lively piece, technically challenging I feel sure, full of charm and wit.
I moved on to a view across a snowy valley to hills beyond, the scene punctuated by trees and hedgerows. The daylight highlighting the areas of snow, with strong shadows in the foreground gradually weakening towards the hills in the distance. I could almost feel the chill of the wind on the hillside. A wonderfully simple watercolour, skilfully executed. ‘Derbyshire Snows’ by Paul Curtis.
Looking up I found the intense blue wall of a bar with its tiled floor beneath, that told the tale of many feet. Leading to a light room where a man sits confident and at ease at a table with a drink close to hand. I got the impression that the man had escaped from the heat outside, to enjoy a cool beer and recoup. The painting also seemed to hold a hidden story, ‘Down Time’ by Anne McCormack RI in acrylics, a piece that one can return to time and again for fresh interpretation.
Up early, someone is taking a dog for a long walk, across the marshy banks by the river that runs down to the lake. The conditions seem fresh, but the sun is just bursting through the clouds to soon warm the day. Just oil on canvas, but confidently described with very successful results ‘Donegal Light’ by Rosemary Tinney. The impressionistic technique allowing the eye to fill in the gaps and through half squinting you can really start to feel that warm sun.
Next the scene set close to a river, where nature comes up hard against man’s industry. Strong shapes and colour marking out the landscape. When viewed closely the shapes are abstract and very actively painted, from a distance these describe the scene perfectly with a fantastic economy that help make this a very interesting and evocative work. ‘Navigation, Snape’ by Clive Patterson, Acrylic on canvas.
Wow! I was in awe at the patience, dedication and skill that must have been involved in creating this last piece in my personal highlights. To cut, shape and craft what is a remarkably tactile object has to be admired and must be the envy of many who like furniture with personality. Dr Waring Robinson’s ‘Carver Chair’ I found irresistibly tactile, the rosewood fashioned into a household object but being so much more, imbued with elegance and grace. Just beautiful, little wonder that it was entered as not for sale, a true treasure to be cherished and enjoyed.
This was a vibrant and exciting show and the works above were my personal favourites.
Hertford Art Society Open Exhibition
Each year this Exhibition is different because, each year, the 600 or so works submitted are judged for a place in the Exhibition by a panel of four eminent, practising artists who are completely independent of the Society. Over the years, our judges have comprised painters, sculptors, graphic designers, members, even presidents and vice-presidents, of the ROI, RI and SWA, to name but a few. Their considered opinions, based on experience, give rise to an individually tailored overview and no one show is quite like another. This year we were delighted to welcome Derek Daniells, Alex Roch, Abel Kesteven and Dr. Waring Robinson as our judges.
The 2015 show comprised 239 two dimensional works and 27 sculptures and three dimensional objects displayed in the spacious and bright Cowbridge Halls. Open for an entire fortnight the exhibition attracted many visitors from a wide area.
The exhibits included etchings, lino and screen prints; oils, acrylics and watercolours; pastel, pencil, charcoal and ink; collage; 3 D works in stone, wood, glass perspex and metal. There was a quiz to keep children engaged, hunting for hares and buses (both of which seemed popular this year). Whatever your taste there was something exciting to see: the delicate, the precise, the raucous the random. Narratives, works of infinite craftsmanship, landscapes, townscapes, abstracts, still lifes, hares and musicians, boats and goats, nudes and shiny things and badly behaved girls. Some works were rich in colour, others favoured sophisticated tonal qualities. Delicate watercolours were shown side by side with gutsy gesso and acrylic. Additional works were displayed at other venues in Hertford and Stansted Mountfitchet.
Thanks go to all the people who contributed in making this, the 63rd Open Exhibition, such a success - it was another exciting and popular show.