I had a real ‘joining the dots’ moment when reading Katherine Tyrrell’s Making a Mark post early in February. Naturally I had seen news online about the fabulous winning works in the Artists and Illustrators annual competition, and marvelled at the skill of the artists.
Katherine’s post included news of the exhibition of these works at the Osborne Studio Gallery, on Motcomb Street. That’s when I realised that the gallery is on my regular route during my weekly London days. I frequently make a point of stopping and looking in the window to see what’s on display.
Diary note to self: Go to the exhibition; which I did, today.
Until I read about this exhibition, I hadn’t realised that the gallery is spread over two floors. When you wander downstairs, there’s the added discovery that it has an enchanting little garden behind it. It’s a proper Aladin’s cave down there. As you might expect, the winning paintings are indeed even more extraordinary in the flesh.
The much-written about Physalis II by Linda Alexander is gloriously large and vibrant. Looking at the images online has a Wow factor – even more so when the size and real intensity of colours can be seen.
(Side note: Please forgive the quality of my photographs. They were taken with my phone and do not do the paintings justice.)
Another painting that grabbed my attention was Showers and Sun Derbyshire, an acrylic on canvas by Jenny Aitken. This and Physallis II are on exhibition but are NFS. All the other paintings from the competition are available for sale, although I did see a number of red dots in evidence.
Although all the paintings from the winning artists have something special about them, I was particularly drawn to a few: The remarkable portrait of Len by Mark Fennel reveals a dishevelled image of old age, which elicits feelings of empathy and concern in the viewer. Two enchanting watercolours by Jan Harbon, Fall, and Jane Austen’s Garden are fascinating in their fine detail and beautiful delicacy.
The exhibition runs until Tuesday, 19th February so there’s still a full week to get in there if you want to see these exceptional paintings.
[On a side note, I was interested to see on the gallery’s calendar for the year, an upcoming exhibition of works by John Tierney who is described as being a ‘Criminology professor, musician and painter’. It’s great to see evidence that the world can cope with someone being analytical and an artist at the same time. Not only that, seeing an artist with a professional life outside of art, still being taken seriously by the art world is something I find quite encouraging. We can be multifaceted people, after all!]