This is an exhibition by an art society which also calls itself ‘The Drawing Society’. It focuses on drawing and the graphical qualities of fine art. Consequently it’s an exhibition which should be of interest to anybody interested in drawing
You can find out more about the activities of the SGFA and see artwork by its members in its
One of the interesting aspects of the exhibition is to look at the very many different ways in which drawing can be expressed across paintings, drawings and original fine art prints – from conventional graphite and charcoal – through ink in all its many forms – to coloured pencils and watercolour which are most typically used to add in colour to artwork. However there are also examples of silverpoint on gesso and needlework being a couple of examples I spotted yesterday
I found LOTS of monochromatic examples of drawings in graphite, charcoal and ink.
|Monochrome artwork in the far north gallery|
There are also very many drawings in coloured pencils and/or soft pastels or oil pastels in the show – and some which mix media.
|More colourful artwork|
In terms of paintings, there were many excellent watercolours – but I did find some paintings which puzzled me in terms of not being artwork I normally associate with SGFA.
- The SGFA is not a member of the Federation of British Artists and hence exhibits at the Mall Galleries on a hire basis.
- However if they continue to improve the quality of the exhibition and the calibre of the artists who are members, then my guess is that they will attract more FBA members (with a strong bias towards drawing) to enter via the Open Call.
- this could lead – if they wish – at some point to an application for membership of the FBA.
The SGFA and the SBA are the two art societies which have a very distinctive focus – and hence don’t compete per se with other FBA art societies and, to my mind, would make the obvious next members of the FBA if the latter were ever minded to expand their membership at any point – and likewise if those two societies were minded to ‘join the club’ and were able to ‘jump’ over the entry hurdles.
|Two drawings of trees by Ian Sidaway
drawn with a fineliner pen
I thought the hang was well done. The larger works were typically hung in the more open space of the East Gallery.
|East Gallery – more larger works|
Smaller works were typically in the North Gallery. Interestingly hanging small works together actually succeeded in making the gallery seem much bigger to me.
|Middle North Gallery|
Overall, I thought splitting the size of the works in this way worked really well.
Size of artwork
There’s a bit of a tendency in this show for conventional perspectives e.g. on how to do a portrait drawing – but Curtis broke the mould with his.
|Conventional portrait drawings and Curtis Holder’s drawing!|
I’m always a bit concerned when lots of the artwork hung tends to be small, that people are not drawing bigger because they either lack the confidence or the skills to do so. It would be nice to see more of a mix of sizes next year. However the bonus of showing more smaller works is that you get to show MORE artwork by MORE people – which is also good so long as standards are good.
|small artworks in the North Gallery|
It’s always a difficult one to call – my priority would always be to go for the best artwork irrespective of size. Although a lot of the artwork is comparable to that seen in other FBA Society exhibitions, some of the artwork hung in the exhibition is what I usually refer to as “good amateur society standard“. I think this is maybe an area for the SGFA to aim to raise standards in the future.
Overall, work has been hung thematically with examples of different subject matter typically being hung together which I felt gave the exhibition of this size a more coherent feel. I confess I’m not a fan of everything being completely mixed up.
I was amazed at the number of artworks portraying trees in the exhibition and wondered if this had been a theme set for members. Or some other reason? Can anybody help me out on this one?
|The excellent Wall of Trees (East Gallery)|
Some of the pricing looked really, really odd across the exhibition. Artwork seemed to be both overpriced and underpriced i.e.
- artwork which is underpriced relative to its quality. This often tends to be the result of a lack of experience of pricing at a national level and/or for shows in London.
- artwork priced way over the top for its size relative to:
- either its quality
- or the exhibition venue
- the artist’s skills, reputation and demonstrable credibility.
I can only conclude that those exhibiting:
- do not go to other exhibitions at the Mall Galleries and
- don’t look at other artwork and how it is priced
- or NEVER ever read my blog posts about the pricing of artwork which has sold in an FBA Exhibition at the Mall Galleries. e.g. see
More guidance is obviously needed.
- It occurs to me this is an aspect where the SGFA might like to offer guidance to both their own members and those submitting through the open entry.
- Besides my regular blog posts about what price artwork sold for in exhibitions at the Mall Galleries, I also offer guidance via my section on How to price your art on my Art Business Info for Artists website.
Artwork I liked
I’m going to highlight a few artworks I liked a lot.
Gary used ink, watercolour and charcoal for these two artworks. I’m a fan of people who submit paintings for an exhibition knowing that they will “hang well”. I’d be very surprised if these two paintings are not bought by the same person.