Summer Exhibition - Malvern Theatres

by Humph Hack 27. July 2014 16:38

The artists - Three Visions

Sheryl Roberts studied at Jacob Kramer School of Art, then graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University. Several years of teaching led her in 2001, to become a full time artist - working from her studio in Hyde Park. Her latest body of work is directly inspired by the changing skies over the aviation graveyards in Arizona - a place she finds mysteriously fascinating. She says,

“It’s a place that evokes emotion as reflective light seems to divide in every direction".

Her work has been much acclaimed through exhibition and private commission across the UK and Europe. She is rising steadily through the ranks of the UK’s best selling artists. This is her first exhibition in Malvern.

Gill Stokes was born and grew up in Warwickshire but now lives in Shropshire. She has always been interested in painting and drawing , even from a very young age she would save her pocket money to buy pencils and brushes.

She studied Fine Art after leaving school, but then decided to train as a primary school teacher, still painting and drawing in what little spare time she could find. 

She now paints full time. She paints in Oils, sometimes in Acrylics, and is fascinated by the natural world around us and the changing light. She likes to draw and sketch outside whenever possible, but it is often more practical to make sketches and photographs and complete the painting in the studio.

She has had paintings selected for exhibition in many galleries, including The Kings Place Gallery, London; Weston Park Gallery, Staffordshire; The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Gallery, Birmingham; The Shirehall Gallery, Stafford; Keele University Gallery, Keele; The Octagon Centre, Sheffield; and The Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead. Gill has shown at Malvern twice before.

Yvette Metcalf’s artistic background began in ceramics and sculpture. She was taught her craft at a working studio at Codsall, Staffordshire. 

She created original sculptures in Bronze and was trained in techniques for producing original limited edition pieces. During this period she was able to work alongside many Fine Artists, including many who painted in oils. This helped her to develop the techniques she uses to create her original pieces.

She is capable of producing work in a variety of styles, but for this exhibition we have chosen to highlight only one. These brightly coloured imaginary landscapes are as popular with children as they are with their parents. Yvette is fast developing an impressive reputation for skilful and engaging works of art. This Yvette's first Malvern Exhibition.

 

The exhibition runs every day until 7th September. Click on any photo or artist's name to see more. 

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Global Graffiti: 10 Top Cities for Urban Art

by Aileen Mitchell 22. July 2014 12:10

Graffiti, or street art, has always been about revolution and rebellion, a visual statement and paint-based commentary about the political, social and economic concerns of our time.

Councils have tried to ban it, some have painted over it (oh, if only they knew how big Banksy would become), supposed art critics have vilified it, and many have questioned whether it can truly been classed as art at all.


Image by:  Heather Cowper

The fact remains, however, graffiti art has captured the attention and imagination of the public and perhaps a generation which wants more than the usual, prescribed - and therefore limiting conventions of stuffy art galleries and dusty museums.

(Ironically, and somewhat fantastically, Bansky’s exhibition at Bristol’s City Museum and Art Gallery in 2011 attracted more visitors – from all over the globe – than any other event in the museum’s entire history.)

But like a pack of paint-spraying pugilists, graffiti artists continue to fight the fight and make their unmistakable mark(s) on the world. Their artistic creations have revived life in run-down areas, provoked controversy and comment, and transformed many of the art form’s finest exponents into international superstars.

Graffiti art is truly a global phenomenon that’s showing no sign of abating. Here are ten of the world’s top cities for graffiti. 

New York City

New York has produced an impressive coterie of graffiti artists, from Poster Boy to Basquiat. Long Island’s 5 Pointz area has over 200,000 square feet tagged by both local and international painters, whilst other locations of graffiti-led interest include the Bronx Wall of Fame on East 173rd St, Victor Goldfield’s Ol’ Dirty Bastard Memorial, and Manhattan’s Bowery Wall.  

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires has a much more open door policy when it comes to its tolerance of graffiti, as street artists are able to quite legally tag any building as long as the owner gives consent.  As a result there’s a cornucopia of top-level graffiti art all across the city, including works by America’s Ron English, Spain’s Aryz, and France’s Jeff Aerosol. 

And as you’d expect from such a diverse range of stencil-and-spray can impresarios, the themes encapsulated in their artwork is equally eclectic, from portraits of Argentine soccer triumphs by native Martin Ron, to political commentary by Italy’s Blu. 

Los Angeles

L.A. is a positive showcase for some for some of the most exhilarating graffiti in the world.  Bristol’s very own Banksy has several pieces along the La Brea Blvd, and Shepard Fairey – creator of the iconic Obama ‘Hope’ poster for the 2008 election – has a virtuoso mural on Melrose Avenue. Other pieces by renowned graffiti artist Lister and JR have also been frequently popping up. 

Melbourne

Down Under’s second city of Melbourne certainly isn’t backwards at coming forwards when it comes to embracing street art.  The city has its own Graffiti Management Plan, a body established to monitor and review graffiti work, as well as commissioning new pieces by emerging and established talent, and hastily removing illegal installations.  Notable native graffiti artists include Rone and Anthony Lister.  

Sao Paolo

São Paulo, Brazil’s bustling and chaotic industrial centre has a fervent and thriving community of street artists which has also attracted the attention of many international artists, including Paris’ C215 and urbanhearts.  Local urban art celebrities such as Vlok and Os Gemeos joined forces to create a graffiti corridor known as Batman Alley in the Vila Madelena neighbourhood, which consists of regularly rotating works

London

Cotemporary graffiti is represented on a grand and glorious scale in London, serving as a veritable who’s who of top talent with works and installation by internationally revered artists such as Grafter, Shepard Fairey and Banksy – all of whose unmistakable style span the Square Mile.  Camden, Shoreditch and Brick Lane are districts with new and burgeoning urban art talent.  

Santiago

Barrio Bellavista is the best place to check out the up and coming talent of Chile’s capital.  You’ll be dazzled by a colourful pictorial onslaught of variegated graphics, political cartoons and murals practically everywhere you look. And although graffiti is technically illegal in Chile, the government tends to turn a blind eye to graffiti as long as it’s confined to certain neighbourhoods.  

Berlin

Berlin is a tractor beam for top graffiti talent, being as it is a UNESCO-designated City of Design.  Most of the best tagging and installations are done in eastern Kreuzberg, where controversial political murals by Italy’s Blu take centre stage, as well as a huge astronaut on Mariannenstrasse by Victor Ash.  Spring 2013 saw Kreuzberg’s Gustav Meyer Allee clock tower receive the addition of a mural installation by France’s esteemed JR. 

Bogota

Whilst Colombia’s expansive vistas has miles and miles of murals, the historic quarter of La Candelaria – home to a coterie of university students and candlelit cafes – is regarded as the best. Everything from strong-worded comments against its former president to panoramas of a more psychedelic persuasion, the area’s cobblestoned plazas and sidewalks are decorated with invigorating graffiti art.     

Cape Town

Local graffiti celebrity Faith7 has firmly put the graffiti credentials of Cape Town on the map, giving it a kudos and gravitas that elevated graffiti to a revered art form in the city.   Public spaces and private homes in suburban Woodstock, for example, have seen specially-commissioned pieces adorn the buildings and walls, amongst them Cape Town’s native Freddy Sam and New York’s Cern.  In fact, Cern was instrumental in organising a global graffiti exchange program called A World of Art.    

Can you think of any other cities that should rank alongside these esteemed hubs of graffiti excellence? Share your comments below.

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Artists | The Art World

Incredible Pop Art Facts

by Aileen Mitchell 22. July 2014 11:30

We're all familiar with the iconic images of Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup cans and his multi-coloured screen prints of Marilyn Monroe, but I bet there are plenty of interesting and surprising facts about Pop Art that you didn't know.


Image by: Ian Burt

Originating in the UK in the 1950s, the Pop Art movement created a landmark cultural and revolutionary shift in the way art was created and perceived.  In contrast to abstract expressionism (which was rife with over-exaggeration), Pop Art got right to the point, with little or no ambiguity, in a direct and no-nonsense way. 

Its use of icons, celebrities, everyday images and concepts, and cartoon characters took the art world by storm and created an immediate artistic appeal that galvanised the very core of pre-conceived concepts of art. 

It was funky, fresh, and fun, and was a term that applied to painting, sculptures, assemblages and collages.     

And the fact its images remain as potent and alive as they were when they were originally launched onto an unsuspecting public is testament to its striking originality and enduring appeal.  

It’s a style that been imitated ad infinitum since, and has been used, borrowed and paid homage to in countless food and drink promotions, magazines, comics, TV programmes and films.  It was, in short, an artistic revolution.  Art would never be the same again.    

The facts:

  • Pop Art wasn’t called that when it was originally unleashed unto the London masses – instead, it was referred to as Propaganda Art.
     
  • As the name suggests, Pop Art was unquestionably one of the most popular artistic movements of the contemporary art scene.  Its prime modus operandi was to act as a counter movement, a rebellion against the pretentious and over-intense style of the Abstract Expressionists.  
     
  • Another of Pop Art’s intentions was to reflect the normality and reality of people’s everyday lives; hence its plundering of images and concepts from magazines, comics and television.
     
  • Pop Art was born in the UK in the mid 1950s but it didn’t take long to reach the United States – by the late 50s it was already there. Its intention was to challenge everything about perceived ideas of tradition, and that visual aspects of mass media and popular culture could be considered art.  
     
  • Pop Art is primarily so effective because it extracts an image or idea from its familiar context and isolates it and associates it with other elements.   
     
  • Pop Art coincided with the Swinging 60s of London and its music scene – and resulted in a very happy and productive union.  Peter Blake, for example, created cover art designs for Elvis Presley and The Beatles, and – like Andy Warhol
    incorporating Marilyn Monroe in his work - used actresses such as Brigitte Bardot. 
     
  • Andy Warhol’s motto was: “I think everybody should be a machine.” This was reflected in the way he created his prints, which looked as though they could have churned off a factory conveyor belt.  American Pop Art was less subjective and referential than its British counterpart, being more aggressive and emblematic.  
     
  • The Independent Group is widely regarded as the pre-cursor to the pop art movement. Collages created from found objects - such as mass media items and advertising of the American culture - by the group’s co-founder, Eduardo Paolozzi, made up art pieces he called Bunk! between 1947 and 1949.  The word ‘pop’ first appeared in one his collages entitled I Was A Rich Man’s Plaything, made in 1947, where a smoking gun was accompanied by the word ‘pop’.   
     
  • Pop Art’s finest and most well-known exponent, And Warhol, certainly predicted the future with his quote: “In the future, everybody will be famous for fifteen minutes.” If only he could see the frightening reality of what his prescient prognostication would ultimately bring. 
     
  • As well as its use of advertising, comics and mass media, Pop Art’s intention was to present the banal and the prosaic in unique and exciting ways, very often through the use of irony.
     
  • Pop artists primarily use the vivid colours red, blue and yellow in their works – the colours representing the references to popular culture as opposed to any inner feelings or emotions of what was being shown.  It’s a palette that also lent itself easily for mass reproduction, as was the case with Andy Warhol’s silkscreen paintings.
     
  • Roy Lichtenstein created his own unique Pop Art style inspired by the visual immediacy of comic books. Black outlines, bold colours, and Ben-Day dots were all recreated in the spirit of comic books that were printed in the 50s and 60s. 
     
  • Pop Art is immediately recognisable from its clear lines and representations of people, objects and symbols.  It took a more reverential approach towards mass culture and consumerism - as opposed to Dadaism, which was destructive, satirical and anarchic.

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Art History | Artists | The Art World

Inside the Artists' Studio: Art Materials and Processes Explained

by Aileen Mitchell 1. July 2014 15:58

At Art Gallery.co.uk, you get to see the end result of many hours of hard work. Here, we explore the various processes and materials our artists use to create the work you see. Not only will this give you an insight into the artistic process, but it will help you choose the right artwork.

Before the finished artwork is alive with colour or texture, it's basically a collection of materials and tools. There are so many ways to capture an image or craft a sculpture that we thought we'd explore the most common mediums used by artists today. 

Paintbrushes
Image by khawkins04

Painting

One of the most popular art-forms, painting, encompasses a wide variety of styles – from abstract geometric shapes to portraiture. There are many ways to put paintbrush to canvas (or any other surface for that matter).

Let's start with oil painting. This type of painting comes with a rich, cultural history attached. It has been the artist's favourite medium for many centuries, for its long-lasting colour and the variety of ways it can be used – although there has always been the problem of how long it takes to dry! And despite its prevalence throughout history, it's still popular with artists today. 

Take a look at some of the artists using oil painting at Art Gallery such as Mike Bagshaw and Rumen Dragiev.

Offering a different look and style is 'watermedia'. This includes acrylics and watercolours and they are different, simply because the pigments are diluted with water instead of oil. Offering a different texture, tint and style, water-based painting can produce a wide variety of effects, from Hockney's quietly bold painting 'A Bigger Splash' to the calm landscapes of William Turner

From our collection of artists, we have a wide variety working with watermedia including Humph Hack and Eric Hattrell



Humph Hack
Image by Humph Hack
Rumen Dragiev
Image by Rumen Dragiev

Mixed Media

Mixed media is a phrase that can confuse those unfamiliar with fine art, begging the question – a mix of what? Quite simply, it can be anything. From a range of artistic mediums like drawing, painting, textiles, photography and collage, to a variety of found objects that can add a sculptural element to the canvas. 

Mixed media artworks can really be a melting pot of ideas and materials – it's an act of layering and getting ideas and materials to spark off each other and make new connections. The concept began with the Cubist collages of Picasso and is still seen today in contemporary art after the Pop Art movement demonstrated how it can be used to explore modern life. 

There are plenty of artists on Art Gallery, whose work uses a variety of media to 'paint' a picture, including Cyndy Cmyth, Sharon Deegan and Peter Mason (who works using postage stamps). 

Peter Mason
Image by Peter Mason

Photography

Photography began as a way to document the world, but it has developed into an art form in its own right. If you think about it poetically, it's a way to capture light – and paint a scene in light rather than oils or watercolours. 

And while everyone may be able to take photos these days, with camera-phones popping up into the air at all major events, you can't beat a beautifully choreographed photograph.

The world of contemporary art is full of photographers capturing the world in a different light, showing what is fantastical in everyday life. Artists like Andreas Gursky and Jeff Wall demonstrate what is possible with the medium. 

At Art Gallery.co.uk, we have a wide range of photographers including Paul Berriff and Jurgen Dabeedin.

Jurgen Dabeedin
Image by Jurgen Dabeedin

Print

The term 'print' can be applied to a wide variety of practices in fine art. It basically refers to the method of transferring an impression of something from one surface to another. It could mean anything from the limited edition of prints you can get from an original painting or photograph, to art forms like etchings, woodcuts and screen-printing. 

The popularity of print-making grew during the Pop Art movement with artists like Andy Warhol grabbing headlines with Black Bean, a screen-print of a soup tin. 

Many of the artists at Art Gallery.co.uk use print-making – from the silkscreen printing of Alexander Baynes to the vibrant screen-prints of Nick Sellers

Nick Sellers
Image by Nick Sellers

Drawing 

Drawing is much more than a way to just sketch an idea out before painting between the lines. It's a well-respected art form in its own right. While it may be a way to experiment and explore ideas, it's also a simple yet effective way of capturing a moment. 

Artists like Frank Auerbach and Juan Muñoz demonstrate the range of possibilities, in terms of style, but also the simplistic power of putting pencil to paper. 

You can find many artists who specialise in drawing at Art Gallery.co.uk like Zizi Lagadec, Dean Waite and Louis Julien.

Louis Julien
Image by Louis Julien

Sculpture 

Sculpture can be defined as an artwork in three dimensions. And with this as a starting point, the end result could be just about anything. Sculpture is one of the oldest art-forms, with sculpted stone and ivory figures from as far back as the Upper Palaeolithic period. Sculpture developed rapidly in Ancient Greece as bronze casting was mastered, allowing life size figures to be sculpted.

In the 21st century, there are four main techniques for sculpture. The first is fairly straightforward and involves carving into a hard surface like stone, wood, ivory or bone. Henry Moore's Girl is a good example of this. Next, there's modelling where you craft and shape a more fluid material like clay or wax. 

There's also casting, which is very popular in contemporary art. The process involves pouring molten metal into the cast of a shape or figure, the metal hardens to form the sculpture. Antony Gormley's cast iron figures in Testing a World View is a brilliant example of this technique. And lastly, there's assemblage sculpture, which involves the collection of various materials and assembling them to create a sculpture. A well-known example of this would be something like Dali's Lobster Phone

At Art Gallery.co.uk you'll find a refreshing selection of sculptural work – from the bronze and steel relief work of Bill Mack to the wire sculptures of Paul Nicholson.

Bill Mack
Image by Bill Mack

Hopefully this guide has helped to give you an idea of the range of artistic mediums out there and the variety we stock here at Art Gallery.co.uk. Browse by subject or style to find an artwork that captures your imagination. 

Do you have any art materials or processes that you love? Or any Art Gallery.co.uk artists that you think stand out from the crowd? Let us know in the comments. 

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Art and Money: A Rocky Relationship

by Aileen Mitchell 1. July 2014 15:36

Art and money may go hand in hand but it can sometimes seem like an odd relationship. Art wants to be free, innovative and individual. Money on the other hand is concerned with value, profits and markets.

Over the years, it has been a rocky relationship but you can't have one without the other. If you want your work to be out there in the world, society will attach some sort of price tag to it. 

The art of not mentioning money 

During the Renaissance, successful artists charged huge sums of money for their work but it was not socially acceptable for artists to publicly appear concerned with money. It was like it was a dirty word, better not mentioned, but happily accepted in return for a recently finished masterpiece. 

It was not until the 1960s that this convention was broken by none other than Andy Warhol. The pop artist began freely and openly voicing his desire for profits. In many ways, art had always been a business but it wasn't until now that the illusion was broken. 

When asked about how he found inspiration for his paintings, Andy Warhol said:

"I’d asked around 10 or 15 people for suggestions. Finally one lady friend asked the right question, “Well, what do you love most?” That’s how I started painting money." 

Art that rejects money

After Warhol spoke openly about money, it paved the way for many other artists to do the same. But what followed was far from a celebration of money. In 1994 the K Foundation (pop-stars-turned-artists), burned £1 million in cash in front of a small audience.  The act of burning bank notes was filmed and was quite simply titled K Foundation Burn a Million Quid

Whether you consider this to be an appalling waste or an inspiring anti-capitalist statement, or a confusing middle-ground between the two, it certainly grabbed attention. 

Perhaps a more poignant attempt at a similar theme was Michael Landy's Breakdown. For this 'performance piece' he systematically catalogued and dismantled all his worldly possessions, before taking it all to the skip. The material weight of his life came to 5.75 tonnes and at the end he was left with nothing at all.

The performance was watched by art-lovers, bemused members of the public and friends and family. Landy described the process as being like people coming to his funeral, watching the conveyor-belt take each and every one of his possessions to the 'afterlife'. 

In many ways, Landy's work represents the end of the line when it comes to artists rejecting money. Not only did he create an ephemeral artwork that couldn't be sold, in the process he destroyed all his possessions. 

Now that artists have burned £1 million and destroyed all their possessions, maybe we can move on with a more balanced approach to art and money.

A question of value 

Money is still a hot topic in contemporary art. Damien Hirst is perhaps the artist who's most openly concerned with money. His diamond-encrusted skull cost £14 million materials and sold for £50 million. It's interesting to look at the difference between the material cost of diamonds, compared with the added value 'art' can bring.

Banksy on the other hand has explored what makes something valuable in other ways. In 2013, Banksy began an experiment: he set up a stall in Central Park, New York and got a man to sell his original, signed artwork to passers-by. Unsurprisingly, the passers-by didn't recognise the value of what was on offer, with only eight paintings sold for a total of £263 – but their value is estimated at £140,000.

An affordable future 

It seems now art's relationship with money has been acknowledged, it simply can't be ignored. One positive from all this is that a fairer approach is developing. From art only being accessible to the super-rich, to a rebellion against the art market, in many ways, the art world has come full circle with the amount of people able to own art increasing

More people are looking to collect original art to decorate their homes and the rise of online galleries gives artists the exposure they need to gain an audience. Not all art is for the financial elite – affordable art is on the rise. Browse our range of art by British-based artists and see how you could start your collection. 

What do you think about the relationship between art and money? Has a happy middle-ground been reached? Share your thoughts below.

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Art History | Artists | Buying Art





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