Tuesday 11 December 2012

RBSA Christmas Open - 10 #worksthatcaughtmyeye

The Open Media Exhibition at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists gallery in Birmingham, open until Christmas Eve, is like most open exhibitions densely hung with works competing for your attention. But I always enjoy open exhibitions because there is always an opportunity to be surprised, to find that work which you might normally miss in more themed or focused exhibitions. So here, I present 10 of the works that caught my eye during a visit to the gallery. An eclectic and personal selection but it might just interest you enough to go along and see the work for yourself. In no particular order....

First up is "Untitled " by Alex Homas. Reminiscent of Anish Kapoor's "When I am Pregnant" it leaves the viewer to his own interpretation of the sensuous forms. A conversation piece.

My next choice is "Hockley Brook" by Joanna Powell. I like the way this small oil painting hovers on the edge of abstraction with the vigorous brushmarks suggesting a sense of the energy of summer.

"Isobel" by Mo Enright. A wonderfully enigmatic and mysterious oil painting, it positively invites the eye to linger and lively discussion with fellow viewers as to the narrative behind the painting.

My photography could not possibly do justice to this remarkable small piece of glass sculpture, entitled "Stream", by Harry Seager. Made from geometric pieces of sheet glass it refracts and reflects light cleverly creating a sense of movement and interest from all angles. A piece which would make a stunning piece of public art. For me the work of the exhibition.

"Revival Gothic" by Philip Potter is a substantial fragment of reclaimed stone, possibly ecclesiastical in origin, skilfully reworked with letter-cut mathematical symbols and relief carving suggesting a more secular reading.

Keith Turley's large acrylic painting "Chain" seems to capture the heat, noise and energy of the foundry in this dramatically rendered depiction of a craftsman engaged in the making of chain links. The artist deservedly  won a award for this ambitious figurative work.

"Robin" by Matthew Gale is small, delicate wire sculpture. I just loved the minimalist approach to the head and the splash of colour. I could definitely imagine this on a monumental scale too. Charming.

This detail from a large drawing "St. Martin's Church and Bull Ring" is a remarkable piece of draughtsmanship especially when you learn, as the accompanying video exhibit demonstrates, that the artist Saranjit Birdi executed this drawing using his feet.

"Two Ugly Mugs" by Janet Groves is a tiny watercolour which could be so easily missed in a busy exhibition like this but I particularly liked because of she way she used a limited palette to make this little jewel out of such prosaic subject matter.

Joan Sharma's "Waves on the Shore" appealed to my own stone-carving interests in the way she has cleverly exploited the natural colour and texture of the stone and created interesting forms in this interesting block of Hoptonwood stone.

These then are my 10 "finds" from this open exhibition.  Incidentally I am also fortunate to have four sculptures in the exhibition but modesty forbids me etcetera, etcetera. But for those of you sufficiently interested they will be the subject of my next blogpost about "more affordable sculpture".

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