At the 90th Annual Open Exhibition this year thirteen exhibitors received awards sponsored by prominent drawing materials manufacturers and selected by Ali Pettit, owner of the Northcote Gallery, London. The prizes were presented by Fred Cuming RA.
Olive Webb SGFA won the Cass Art Award for a work on the Optional
Theme for 2011, graffiti, with her mixed media piece, ‘Hunting Magic’. She says, ‘The need to construct is an important part of how I approach my work. The images are built slowly layer by layer starting with an idea, often narrative. With this approach there is always an element of surprise. Presently I am interested in prehistoric imagery, so called ‘primitive art’, and the SGFA graffiti theme this year worked wonderfully well with cave paintings.’
Kit Surrey SGFA won the Stabilo Award for Drawing with his ‘Granite Faces XIII, Land’s End, West Penwith, Cornwall’, (graphite and compressed charcoal on paper). As a child in the late 1950’s Kit’s family would rent a small farm cottage in Snowdonia. ‘When out on wonderful walks in the mountains I would catch glimpses of brightly clad figures high up on seemingly impossible rock faces….Something about the great sweeping faces of granite cliffs, poised between the sea and the sky excited me tremendously both as a climber and an artist. My drawings are an attempt to express this excitement and the sheer drama of the places that I am drawn to. I deliberately use graphite and compressed charcoal to emphasise the strong chiarascuro and even the theatricality of these impressive places, and joined the SGFA as I consider myself primarily as a “draughtsman” rather than a painter’.
Karen Munck SGFA’s ‘Urban Landscape, Vienna’ (mixed media) won the Award for a Highly Commended Work on the Theme for 2011, graffiti, sponsored by Derwent at the Cumberland Pencil Company.
She says, ‘After spending several years at Art School I embarked on a career as a Graphic Designer. In recent years I have returned to my first loves painting and printmaking. My inspiration comes mainly from the seashore, where I live, and travel. I love making collages from my scraps collected from fly posters and graffiti.My picture ‘Urban Landscape’ is a mixture of this and drawing based on things observed in Vienna’.
Veteran of the Florence and Venice Biennale Maz Jackson SGFA won the
Award for a Highly Commended Print sponsored by Stabilo for her woodcut
‘Silence -Before Dawn’.
Associate Members were also well in evidence. Annie Ridd ASGFA won The
President’s Choice Award, sponsored by the Society of Graphic Fine Art, for her stunning ‘Trapped 1’, a quirky meditation on the Book of Common Prayer, beautifully executed in pencil. ‘My drawings feature overlooked everyday
objects, unwashed clothes and jewellery. Dead animals and insects often presented in ambiguous compositions intended to stimulate the viewer’s memories and emotions based on their personal experiences. Many of the constituents hold personal connections to my past, and many become synonymous with my fears and hopes for the future. Coded messages
deciphered differently by each viewer’.
Jane Walker ASGFA’s ‘Melting Snow II’ (ink), won the Arquadia Award for a Work in Monochrome, sponsored by Arquadia Limited. Jane says, ‘I am
trying to find a new drawing language, one that evolves from my way of working. The winning piece was made by constantly changing the marks I was
making, following values in Chinese art, but I was also trying to hold on to Western space and depth. I favour ink because I work quickly. I joined the SGFA because they were so enthusiastic about my work!’.
In January 2011 Michael Wilson ASGFA retired after 37 years as a banknote engraver/designer. In that time he was responsible for over 200 banknotes and passports and over 20 stamp designs, winning 6 international awards in the process. His piece “Native American Woman’ (pen and ink) won the Award for a Highly Commended Work sponsored by Derwent at the Cumberland Pencil Company. According to Michael, ‘The technique I used on the two portraits I submitted to the Menier Exhibition drew on my experience of etching. The angles of the drawn lines are 45 and 35 degrees, and executed exactly as if I had drawn them through a wax ground onto a steel die. I would like to thank the Society for a wonderful exhibition’.
Chris Forsey RI, ASGFA is also a member of the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour. His ‘Up the Harbour, Port Isaac’, in ink and watercolour, is the
winner of the Award for a Highly Commended Work in Monochrome,
sponsored by Stabilo. ‘I endeavour to create work that is strong on graphic
composition, light and atmosphere. I enjoy the strong contrasts of deep shadow
and bright sunlight combined with dynamic composition, often with high
horizons and deep foregrounds as in my artwork of Port Isaac. Expressive mark-making in crayon and ink are combined with loose washes of watercolour , ink and acrylic creating an unpredictable and exciting, textured look to the work.Tools include, flat brush , roller, card, stick, dip pen, fingernail, all of which are unpredictable, sometimes clumsy and always
challenging!The SGFA encourages design, draughtsmanship and technique, all of which I try to include in my work’.
Finally, non-members are also encouraged to submit work.
Sue Andrew won The Jackson’s Award for a Work in Colour, sponsored by Jackson’s Art Supplies, for her gouache, ‘Paraguayan Dream No.4’. She trained as a printmaker but works in varied media, recently gouache, water-soluble pencils
and pen and ink.’My long-standing interest in tropical plants and animals was
intensified by a visit to Paraguay, which led me to create a series of drawings
and paintings, ‘Paraguayan Dream’. These aren’t literal representations but,
rather, try to capture the spirit of the country’. ‘The attraction of the SGFA was the opportunity to work and exhibit with others on the cusp of Fine Art and Graphics: much of the art establishment is based in London so one can feel rather isolated working up North’.
The St Cuthbert’s Mill Award for a Print was given to Jules Cowan for her
drypoint with handcolouring (on plate), ‘Flamingo’. Says Jules, ‘Drypoint is
resistant and wayward; it simultaneously disciplines and corrupts the line. It
seems to me an ideal means for the ostensible subject of adolescence. Art
should resist us a little so that we are required to grow. It is the means by
which we reach the bittersweet ache of adolescence again, the archetypal
moment of leaving/arriving’.
Ceridwen Jane Gray’s evocative mixed media painting, ‘Rite of Passage’,
earned the Award for a Highly Commended Work in Colour, sponsored by Jakar International Ltd, UK Distributors of Caran d’Ache Artists’ Materials. ‘I am fascinated with what is beyond the eye – the energies that underlie everything – the ‘footprints’ of the past that inform the present. In ‘Rite Of Passage,’ I wanted to convey the special energy of spiritual experience. I
usually work in mixed media but drawing has been a love of mine for many
years. I love the sheer pleasure of mark – making and usually start a picture in
an abstract way allowing the subject to present itself’.
‘I submitted work to SGFA to test myself in a prestigious society, if I’m honest!! I’m so very glad I did’.
Ece Clarke is a Turkish artist who works on paper in a variety of media. After working in several countries, Ece is now settled in England and based in Vauxhall. Her work investigates the relationship between the tangible and the intangible and our ability to express or recognise one in the other. This is conducted in a broad range of media, including etching. Her work is non-representational – but inspired by the rhythms found in nature. Her prize winning piece consisted of an etching on Somerset paper, curved into three-dimensional objects – creating a cross between two-dimensional and sculpture that gives a different scope to the work. It creates an inner space within the work that cannot be perceived; and an outer space that is shared with the observer. Her submission, ‘SGFA NO.4’ was awarded The Derwent Award for the Best Work in the Exhibition, which she was delighted to receive.
Finally, David C. Nix gained the Award for a Highly Commended Drawing sponsored by Stabilo for his ‘Sunt Lacrimae Rerum’, a thought-provoking work in graphite on paper.
‘As an artist I have always had a strong interest in archaeology, poetry, history and attendant mythologies from various cultures. Even when exploring a diverse range of materials, a significant aim is always to reflect events and experience through visual metaphor. The work exhibited combines traditional momento mori subjects with text taken from Virgil’s Aeneid, translated as ‘the world is a world of tears and the burdens of mortality touch the heart’. The technique used combines a series of washes of graphite powder, applied in various dilutions and densities, symbolising the veiling or unveiling of the sadness of reality.’
Article by Pat Harvey SGFA, Media Liaison