What Is 'Fauvism'?

by Aileen Mitchell 17. August 2016 12:00

The Turning Road, L'Estaque – Andre Derain

Fauvism is one of the most influential styles in contemporary art, whether today's artists are fully aware of it or not. The 'wild beasts' of Fauvism radicalised colour and form, and inspired the next generation of young artists to engage with their surroundings on a whole new level, changing art forever.

Last month we looked at the trailer for the new film, Loving Vincent. It's from the legacy of Van Gogh that the story of Fauvism begins …

Starry Night – van Gogh

French artist Henri Matisse is considered the founding father of Fauvism. Inspired by Van Gogh's post-impressionist style of intensifying colours and distorting forms to create images fraught with emotion, Matisse began to use colour on a very emotional level. The results of this were bright, multi-coloured paintings and scratchy brush stroked figures.

In complete contrast to the pastel coloured impressionist paintings from the 1800s – 1900s, Matisse would use paint straight from the tube without mixing them, and combine cold and warm palettes in the same work.

The concept behind creating these daring new paintings was to not paint the scene before them as realistically as possible, but to interpret how the scene was conceived in the mind. Matisse didn't choose colours based on what looked technically correct, but based his palette on the feelings and emotions he had whilst painting a particular 'experience' rather than 'scene'.

The first time Matisse's colourful works were displayed, a respected art critic exclaimed that the one renaissance sculpture in the exhibition was surrounded by work created by 'wild beasts' (les fauves). Although this comment was intended to be highly damming, Matisse and his fellow artists in this new style decided to take this as inspiration for the title of the new movement they had created, Fauvism.

The Green Stripe – Henri Matisse

One of the most famous works created during this movement was the portrait of Amelie Matisse – wife of Henri Matisse, called Green Stripe, carrying the famous green stripe down the middle of her face.

Dividing the face into two shades is a conventional portrait technique – usually used to divide the face between light and shade – but Matisse chose to use the line as a divide between cool and warm tones.

This bold new move was analysed in many different ways – some said the green stripe was for jealousy, others said it divided the painting into purity and serenity. The most likely reason, however, is none of these. Matisse was not called a wild beast for nothing. Art was now beyond the point of displaying well-known representations and symbolism. The green stripe is simply there because it was what Matisse felt inspired to do at the time. Under close analysis, art historians claim that much of the painting appears to have been 'improvised'. This is indicated by the brush strokes – which are perhaps most obviously ad lib in the black patch centre-right. 

Paysage du Midi – Andre Derain

Although revolutionary, this gaudy movement did return to familiar territory in the subject matter artists would choose to paint. Moving away from the popular urban depictions, les fauves returned to painting landscapes.

In fact, London played a large part in the Fauvist movement. We can really see this period of history in context when we compare Claude Monet's dreamy, misty picture of the Houses of Parliament with Andre Derain's piece of yellows, pinks and lurid greens.

Houses of Parliament – Claude Monet

Charing Cross Bridge – Andre Derain

London art is still by far one of our most popular categories of art to this day! Perhaps it was Fauvism that set off this iconic theme with our very own ArtGallery artists.

Icarus – Henri Matisse

Fauvism was also a revolutionary movement for exploring the negative space in a painting. This is how works like 'Icarus' came to be so famous. Out of context, some people can find it difficult to understand why a piece so simple has become so revered. The answer is context. There may be thousands of people who can reproduce work like this, but les fauves were the first to do it – the first to have this original idea of completely breaking away from traditional art.

Inspired by some of the greatest painters of the previous era, like van Gogh, Munch and Cezanne – Matisse inspired many young artists who in turn became notable painters of their respective fields, such as Chagall, Levy and many abstract expressionists.

At the time of Matisse's first exhibition, another critic commented that his work was, 'a pot of paint flung in the face of the public.' This could either be taken in a negative way, or a great of describing the rebellious, spontaneous spirit captured by fauvism. We'd like to see it as a compliment to one of the most energetic and influential styles in Western art.

[Image credits]

User: artfactory.com/ André Derain, The Turning Road, L’Estaque (1906)

/ Public Domain

User: bgEuwDxel93-Pg at Google Cultural Institute

/ Starry Night – van Gogh/ Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain

User: William Allen, Image Historian

/ The Green Stripe – Henri Matisse

/ Flikr / Public Domain

User: Sharon Mollerus

/ Paysage du Midi – Andre Derain

/ Flikr / Public Domain

User: Unknown

/ Houses of Parliament – Claude Monet/ Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User:  André Derain / Charring Cross Bridge – Andre Derain / Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain

User: Sharon Mollerus / Icarus – Henri Matisse/ Flikr / Public Domain


Art History | The Art World


by Aileen Mitchell 15. August 2016 09:00

An interview with Andrew Reid Wildman

Photography of urban scenes draws me. I am attracted by its realism, its resonance with everyday life in all its shades. When I see a photograph of a rundown shop or a derelict building, it sets off a chorus of emotion in me; sadness, recognition, familiarity, nostalgia, mystery, danger even. However I need to be able to engage with the photograph and this is why I use a technique I describe as “photofusionism.”

Andrew Reid Wildman

In photofusionism, I use the photograph as a starting point, the core of reality that cannot be changed. I am fascinated by the borders of reality, the point at which it blurs into perception. For me the work really starts to come alive at the edges of the photograph. I seek to fuse the painting and photograph in nearly every work I do, in order to create unity of reality and perception.

When I choose my scenes, I look for an underlying sense of nostalgia. On a deep level, I identify with my buildings; their loneliness (I never paint people in my urban work), the feeling of gradual decay and ageing, their world weariness, their emptiness and sadness but also their solidity, their resilience and timelessness.

I see great beauty in urban scenes; the glory of red brick Victoriana, the solid ochre and limestone colour of stone, the corrugated iron and rusting metal of windows. I love the peeling plaster work of stucco and the black, inky texture of hot tar. My works tend to focus on places of great personal significance to me. For instance many of my photofusionist works depict Yorkshire. As a young child I remember the thrill of visiting Hull with its endless streets of tatty Victorian terraces, many of them already condemned and empty. I also remember the joy of York’s medieval buildings and the promise of cakes and toys.

In London, I constantly return to Maison Berteux, an old fashioned Soho cake shop with striking stucco that makes me want to paint it again and again. Other favourites are Edinburgh and Glasgow and London’s Brick Lane, all with their fair share of urban danger.

I very often add collage to my photofusionist works as I find this makes the work really come alive. I choose collage materials from lost decades, the 50s, 60’s and 70’s. This material connects me to the building and gives the work a soul. The cheery idealism of advertising draws me and cheers me, softening the sharpness of time lost with its eternal simplicity.


Artists | Artists Corner | Being an Artist

The Culture of Equine Art

by Aileen Mitchell 10. August 2016 12:29

We have records of our relationship with horses ever since the beginning of society from murals in ancient Egypt to cave carvings in the South of France. There has been a strong presence of equine art throughout history that doesn't seem to be stopping. So what is it about these animals that make them so important to our culture and us?

The first known wall carvings of horses are from around 30,000 BC. At this point in history, we were most likely to still be gazing at the creatures from afar, as the domestication of horses didn't actually happen until 3,000 BC. We can already see an obvious fascination for horses so early on in history.

After the domestication of horses, they took a back seat in the art world as Christian faith themed paintings became the most popular theme. It wasn't until the Renaissance era (1300 – 1600) that equine art had its own renaissance with artists like Leonardo da Vinci, who was commissioned to make the largest horse sculpture in the world. 

It was the following Baroque period (1600-1760) that depicting horses in paintings really become en vogue. This came about with the birth of British horse racing and hunting, popularised by King James I, and later, King Charles II.

Suddenly, Lords and Knights wished to be on their noble steeds and prize horses in their portraits. This was the beginning of horses used in serious UK sports, and the status symbol of the day.

The 1700s was also the time of George Stubbs – one of the most influential artists in equine studies. Nicknamed 'the horse painter', George Stubbs developed a fascination for the animals in childhood that later developed into his artist career. Stubbs would not only paint the horses he was so captivated by, but would also go on to produce anatomically correct studies after dissecting carcases. These studies were a major influence on later artists who would use Stubbs' work as reference for their own paintings.

British horse sports continued to be extremely popular a century after the work of Stubbs, and into the era of Romanticism (1800 – 1850).

Famous artist, Edgar Degas, joined the long list of history's equine artists and painted horses at the races. Degas was also one of the first artists to use photographs as a reference for his paintings.

Famous photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge took equine study to new levels with his breakthrough in using motion photography. As a pioneer of motion photography, Muybridge took some very important shots of horses that aided countless artists on the anatomy of the horse. This footage also helped answer a centuries old debate about whether a horse's four legs were all off the ground at a point in its stride. (The answer is yes). Some of Muybridge’s animal locomotion prints can be seen in Kingston Museum, Surrey.


Since then, we’ve used horses for lots of different purposes in our society – sport, military, the American West expeditions, and agriculture. The growth in demand for horses has certainly lead to more depictions in many styles and forms.

But what about the modern world? There has been a definite subsidence in the need for horses as working animals and companions, but our intrigue seems not to have been abated.

Skewbald by Paul Burgess

Even up to today where our online gallery boasts a huge variety of equine art, which is one of the most popular categories.

It seems that we have a deep-rooted fascination for these magnificent creatures that was stirred thousands of years ago and seems to have stayed. Perhaps it is purely because they are beautiful animals: they themselves are a true work of art.

Image credits

User: Cro-Magnon peoples/ Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User: Cliff/ Flickr/ Public Domain

George Stubbs
 - http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/george-stubbs-whistlejacket

/ Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division/ Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain


Why Do We Really, Really Like Art?

by Aileen Mitchell 28. July 2016 18:26

Creating and looking at art has been an important part of civilisation since its beginnings - from cave painting to fabulous costumes for fireside rituals. Today, most art resides on walls as canvases or as sculptures on pieces of furniture. Although its place in 21st century life has shifted, the most important thing has remained the same: we still have it because we like it.

But why do we have this ancient affinity with shapes, colours and patterns that still manage to give us as much pleasure now as it did thousands of years ago?

There have been a number of studies in recent years to get to the bottom of why it is that we like art. All of these studies come to the same conclusion and reveal something remarkable.

Many people believe that although we now live in a world full of modern comforts, there is still a part of our brains that strongly responds to the essentials: water, food, sun etc. 

Certain pieces of art have been noted to take the flowing form of water, and intensified its blue colours in paintings. When we view this art, our brains may recognise these characteristics of water and respond positively to it. We need water to survive, and seeing an essential part of our survival on canvas makes us enjoy the piece of art.

Credit: Vincent van Gogh - bgEuwDxel93-Pg at Google Cultural Institute / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

We also respond positively to the colour green. One German study reveals that green inspires creativity and motivation when we see it - time to paint our art studio green!

So perhaps all good art engages a deep-rooted obsession with needing to survive?

Detecting patterns

Other studies have made very clear that there is significance in the well-known 'golden ratio', or 'golden rectangle' and superior creations.

From buildings to paintings and sculptures, anything made using the golden ratio seems to have a greater chance of becoming famous and noted throughout history than those that do not.

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris can be divided into golden rectangles

Credit: Peter Haas / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

A study from the journal of Brain and Cognition shows that there are two areas of the brain that respond to art.

First, we process a piece of art visually. This includes trying to work out "how it works". For example, when shown a picture of a knife, we don't just see it as a shape, but register what we do with it (or in other words, how it works).

This study from the University of Toronto also confirms that this first stage takes place in our posterior cingulate cortex. This is the name of the part of the brain that deals with logical thinking and understanding function.

So there is sufficient evidence to suggest that we enjoy a puzzle. And art provides much more of a mental stimulus than other types of puzzles.

The study also goes beyond this first logical reaction to works of art. After we have thought of "how it works", the posterior cingulate cortex is also stimulated. This is the part of the brain that deals with our most inner thoughts and emotions.

This explains why people can feel such happy bliss when sitting and looking at a Kandinsky, or shedding a tear to a particularly moving Rembrandt. The famous quote by Hans Christian Andersen, "Where words fail, music speaks" also applies to art.

The study shows we can create and experience a wide range of emotions from all works of art, be it fear, joy, peace, or pain.

Of course, art is also now academic. We have genres like conceptual art, which can be deeply intellectual and enjoyed at that level. But beyond the analysis that these pieces "require" to be enjoyed, there is a deeper, primal response that we all experience.

The results of these studies also suggest that responding and appreciating art is a biological predisposition, not a culture that has to be learned. Anyone and everyone can create wonderful art and enjoy it. We can also like art for a number of reasons, but none of these reasons are more or less valued than each other.

We like art because it is in our nature.


Art History

'Loving Vincent' - The First Fully Painted Feature Film

by Aileen Mitchell 13. July 2016 08:38

We're so excited in anticipation of the film ‘Loving Vincent’ which will be the world's first feature-length painted animation - due in cinemas later this year. 

Vincent van Gogh

The film (or animation) is about the life and the controversial death of Vincent Van Gogh told through the animation of his paintings and the characters who inhabit them.  Each one of the 56,000 frames of the film is a work of art in itself – each frame is a single hand-painted oil on canvas, painted in van Gogh’s post-impressionistic style.

The inspiration for the project came from a quote of van Gogh’s: 

"We cannot speak other than by our paintings."

Embracing this philosophy, the husband-and-wife team of co-writers and directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman have woven over 120 of van Gogh's most famous paintings into the film's plot to tell the story of his turbulent life. The people van Gogh painted are the characters in the film who recall stories and events often in an interview style.

Using van Gogh’s paintings and letters, Kobiela and Welchman were able to create a story which gives an insight on van Gogh’s life, career and his mysterious suicide. As the paintings provided the visual stimulus, the idea to create the whole film in van Gogh’s artistic style was born. 

Each frame a masterpiece

Over the past two years, the production team has been creating the animation in a studio outside Gdansk in Poland. Feeding into the studio are 91 artists located there, as well as Athens and Wroclaw.  They are painting the frame-by-frame images which join together van Gogh’s masterpieces.  The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam have been closely involved in providing guidance to the artists who are painting the 56,000 paintings - 12 paintings per second - in the post-impressionistic style in specially developed and patented workstations.

Van Gogh's paintings have the feeling of movement and life with their rich colours and many lines, so it will be completely captivating to watch them come alive in this film.

 Of the artists, Welchman has said "The painters also have to learn to act, none of the painters in the team has any animation experience. They have to realise it's not a pretty painting, it's a performance." Welchman also said that one of the team's most talented painters had to leave the project because "he was only painting individual paintings".

Ahead of the film’s launch there have been opportunities to get involved at Cannes Marche du Film,  Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and Glastonbury Festival.  The film is already gaining cult status and will undoubtedly pick up some gongs at the forthcoming awards ceremonies.

A troubled life

Despite his huge influence in the world of fine art that continues to this day, van Gogh was barely recognised as a great artist during his lifetime. Suffering from mental illness for most of his working life, the film focusses on the aftermath of van Gogh’s alleged suicide. 

Some art researchers have discredited the account of his suicide attempt and suspect someone else shot van Gogh. It seems there was enough evidence for this theory to be brought before a senior official at the Van Gogh Museum, who advised the enquiry should be dropped because it was "too controversial".

Today, van Gogh is rightly recognised as a genius and one of the most famous artists in fine art history. He also inspires some of the wonderful talent of our own ArtGallery artists:

We really cannot wait for the UK release of this visual masterpiece. For more information on the film see the trailer below and the website about the film’s development here: www.lovingvincent.com

Picture credit: Self portrait of Vincent van Gogh courtesy of Van Gogh Museum


Malvern Theatres - Summer Exhibition 11 July - 20 Aug 2016

by Humph Hack 10. July 2016 14:11

One of the reactions to the new extension to Tate Modern is that there are works nobody has ever seen before from relatively “unknown” artists. How often have you heard visitors to galleries seeking out the familiar and almost ignoring other equally good works of real quality. We all rely on the familiar in our everyday lives. If your favourite cup isn’t where it usually is, the day doesn’t start well. But to complain about being introduced to new Art surely misses the point. At the cutting edge, new work should challenge the viewer.

But, do you want to live with a pile of bricks or an unmade bed?

The works on show in Malvern until 20 August are fresh but are produced by artists who have a track record of selling works you can live with. All three have exhibited successfully here before. Their work graces homes and offices across the UK and further afield.

Lesley Blackburn completed a Foundation Art Course at Wakefield School of Arts and Crafts in West Yorkshire. She went on to achieve a BA in Fine Art and Sculpture in 1979 at Winchester School of Art. She has sold work privately as well as through the internet. She has exhibited and sold work in a gallery in Surrey. Her work is largely influenced by impressionism and she particularly specialises in paintings featuring water and seascapes. She recently gave up full-time employment to concentrate on her paintings, working in a purpose-built studio in her garden. Lesley is among the top twenty selling artists through www.artgallery.co.uk – a site which sells work from over 2,000 other artists. This return visit by Lesley features some of her most recent works.

Hazel Thomson has travelled the world, and meeting all sorts of people in the arts, sciences; people who are very spiritual. She says”, I am always learning in life and observing the obvious and not so obvious. I am always looking to conceive, cultivate and embrace new concepts and ideas in my art work”. She goes on walkabout around the country, observing places in all seasons and different times of the day. People have described her work as classical and but with more than a hint of the contemporary. She has sold her paintings in the UK and overseas. Since taking up painting full-time, in 2012 she has exhibited in an astonishing number of venues, regularly winning prizes and commendations.

Mark Bennett grew up in the Cotswolds and has painted from a very young age. He started exhibiting professionally in his early twenties. Since then each exhibition has been more and more successful and his paintings can now been seen throughout the country on a regular basis and in private collections throughout the world. He has been described as a rising star in the art world, his pieces have been compared to the likes of Fabian Perez, Jack Vettriano and Mark Spain and have become more and more collectable. Mark is inspired by many other art forms, particularly dance and music which are the focus of most of his pieces. Mark says of his work, "I love to paint passion and emotions in people and can see this most in dance. I paint fast and loose with oils which create great textures." Mark, like Lesley and Hazel has successfully shown in Malvern before.

The exhibition can be viewed all day every day from Monday 11 July to Saturday 20 August.



Father's Day Art on ArtGallery.co.uk

by Aileen Mitchell 17. June 2016 16:02

Father's Day Artwork on ArtGallery

With Father's Day fast approaching, we've scoured our ArtGallery collection to put together a special blog post gallery. All of these original artworks are for sale on our website, directly from the artist.

If you can't make up your mind, there is also a selection of vouchers to choose from. These are emailed directly to you and the recipient of your choice! 

Good luck, and we hope you have plenty of inspiration to choose from:

Dad's Day Out by Susan Shaw

Dad's Day Out – Susan Shaw

Beer by Gary Hogben

Beer – Gary Hogben

Speed by Andrew Alan Matthews

Speed 3 – Andrew Alan Matthews

Fish and Chips by Gay Forster

Fish&Chips – Gay Forster

New Bond Street, Bath 1930s by Ernest George Perrott

New Bond Street 2, Bath 1930s – Ernest George Perrott

God Save the Queen by Gary Hogben

God Save The Queen #2 – Gary Hogben

British Superbike Round 2012 by David James

British Superbike Round 2012 – David James

Old Blues by Shaun Keefe

Old Blues – Shaun Keefe


Artists | The Art World

Happy Birthday Damien Hirst & Paul Gauguin

by Aileen Mitchell 10. June 2016 10:00

This month we're celebrating the birthdays of two famous artists, Damian Hirst and Paul Gauguin. These two artists have given so much to art as we now know it today, from the creativity behind a concept to a renewed appreciation of bright colours.

Damien Hirst

Hirst in a still from the movie The Future of Art

There are few Brits who have not heard of Damien Hirst. As one of the most influential thinkers and artists of the modern scene, Damien Hirst has inspired many, split opinion, and created his own legacy.

Now one of the wealthiest British artists, with a net worth estimated to be £200,000,000, Hirst's creative path began when he took A-level art – only to be graded E. After applying more than once to the two art colleges he attended, (Jacob Kramer School of Art and later Goldsmiths, University of London) Hirst began to make a lasting impression on agents and curators that came to graduate exhibitions – namely Charles Saatchi.

Saatchi was so taken with Hirst's work that he offered to fund absolutely anything Hirst wanted to make for the showcase of the first ever Young British Artists (YBA) exhibition in 1992.

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living "Death Denied"

This exhibition saw the birth of the formaldehyde series – some of Hirst's most famous (or infamous) work. This piece was a shark suspended in a tank of formaldehyde, titled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. It also saw him nominated that year for the Turner Prize.

Since his YBA debut, Hirst's work has continued to sell out at auctions and galleries and he has designed charity CD album covers and even an image for a space probe to calibrate its onboard camera.

"Damien Hirst at the exihibition Damien Hirst The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011, Gagosian Gallery, NYC."

Although he has been widely received as a pioneer in modern art, there are also critics to Hirst's particular style. Some have described his paintings to be produced in a 'factory' setting. The famous spot series are largely painted by someone else, as Hirst has always believed that the creativity and art is in the concept of his work, rather than the production. He is even known to have said, "The best person who ever painted spots for me was Rachel. She's brilliant."

Paul Gauguin 

"Paul Gauguin, photography, ca. 1891"

Paul Gauguin was a French post-impressionist who was largely undervalued by critics until long after he died. In his lifetime he did however make a profound impact on Vincent van Gogh.

Inspired by his mother's Peruvian heritage and the bright colours of their culture, Gauguin incorporated bold, bright lines and backgrounds in his work that woke European art up from what he believed was a dullness in creativity.

"Parahi te maras, 1892, Meyer de Schauensee collection"

Initially a stockbroker, Gauguin began to paint in the late 1870s when Impression was the popular art style. Gauguin decided to paint with the colours he wanted to give life and vibrancy to his art, which was not in keeping with the style at the time. This lead to many bad reviews from critics and dealers alike, apart from one in particular…

Theo van Gogh was a big fan of Gauguin's work and bought three of his paintings. At the same time, Gauguin became close friends with Vincent – so much so they spent nine weeks painting together in Arles, France.

"Vahine no te tiare (Woman with a Flower), 1891, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek"

It was Gauguin who can be said to have had the biggest influence on van Gogh's progression and style as a painter. Sadly, their friendship ended after their nine weeks of painting, resulting in van Gogh allegedly threatening Gauguin with a razor blade before cutting off the lower lobe of his own ear. Van Gogh was subsequently admitted to hospital and Gauguin returned home.

Today, Gauguin's work is admired for its colours. The inspiration for these was African and Asian art – not to mention the Peruvian pottery and art that his mother collected whilst he was growing up. Gauguin tried to add a passion and depth to Western art that he thought impressionism lacked, creating the Symbolist movement.

Image credits

"Hirst in a still from the movie The Future of Art" by Christian Görmer licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living "Death Denied" by Agent001 licensed by Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

"Damien Hirst at the exihibition Damien Hirst The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011, Gagosian Gallery, NYC." by Andrew Russeth licensed by Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

"Paul Gauguin, photography, ca. 1891" by Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel - Museum page licensed by Public Domain

"Parahi te maras, 1892, Meyer de Schauensee collection" by The Yorck Project licensed by Public Domain

"Vahine no te tiare (Woman with a Flower), 1891, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek" by The Yorck Project licensed by Public Domain


Art History | The Art World

3 World Renowned Women Artists - Malvern Theatres - Early Summer 2016

by Humph Hack 29. May 2016 18:21

Women artists have suffered from a lack of recognition in the Western World for centuries. There were several reasons for this. Until relatively recently, the training available for women forbad the study of “the nude” – a staple of much public and private art, at the time. There was also a feeling that it was OK for a woman to paint as a hobby, but “leave the matter of earning a living from art” to the men. The net result….in Westminster and the City of London; of 386 public works of art, only 30 were created by women.

The National Gallery in London contains more than 2,300 works. At the start of 2011 only 11 of the artists in that enormous collection were women.

Little has changed. A recent survey of artists found that more than 8 out of 10 of those in Tate Modern were men, and men were 7 out of 10 of those in the Saatchi Gallery. Given that women make up the majority of art students, the fact that they account for just fewer than one in three of the artists exhibited in commercial London galleries might not seem much cause for celebration. But in the context of art history, it does suggest a step forward.

So it is, that among the artists selling from this online gallery - from which the exhibitors in Malvern Theatre are chosen….the majority of the 20 top-sellers are female and of those, the 4 artists commanding the highest prices for their works are all women.

This makes the selection of these 3 world-renowned female professional artists, for this Malvern show, an obvious one.

Arabella Kiszely is a Cotswold-based artist, specialising in semi-abstract landscapes. Painted mainly in oils, her pictures are characterised by a confident, contemporary style, full of colour and form. The result is a painting where you can feel as well as see, the forces of nature.

Louisa J Simpson loves painting strong patterns and shapes in her still-life works. This enables her to combine a traditional style with abstract qualities. She has a particular interest in painting glass and mirrored surfaces that show an unusual perspective; allowing her to create compositions that fill the canvas with colour and light.

Alison Johnson’s atmospheric oil paintings are vibrant and seductive focal points for any space.  By expressing the power of light playing amongst the elements, she shows the abstract, surreal side to the natural world. Her seascapes follow a deep tradition which Johnson modernises and brings to a contemporary conclusion. Colours sink below a piercing white surface as oceans and landscapes drift in and out of a sweeping hazy mist.

The works of all 3 are collected by art lovers from across the Globe.

The exhibition is available to view, both upstairs and downstairs, every day from Monday 30 May until Saturday 9th July.


Walks That Inspired Famous Art

by Aileen Mitchell 13. May 2016 15:38

National Walking Month

To celebrate National Walking Month this May, we take a look at some of the ways that walking has influenced some of the world's most famous and creative artists. Not only does walking get people from A to B, it helps stimulate the brain and gets the cognitive and creative juices flowing.

Many of ArtGallery's own wonderful artists take inspiration from walking, which is something they share with some of the most famous artists from Munch, to Gormley. 

The walk that inspired the Scream


The famous, The Scream, series came as an inspiration to Edvard Munch whilst he was out walking with his friends in Oslo. Munch wrote a poem on the frame of the original pastel of The Scream, which reveals how he was influenced to create this iconic scene:

"I was walking along the road with two friends,
the sun was setting - the sky turned a bloody red,
and I felt a whiff of melancholy - I stood,
still, deathly tired - over the blue-black
fjord and city hung blood and tongues or fire.
My friends walked on - I remained behind
shivering with anxiety - I felt the great scream in nature."

City walking with van Gogh


For a period, Van Gogh lived in Brixton, London. During his stay, he made sure that he went of plenty of walks both in and out of the city. We know this from the letters he wrote to his brother. In one he wrote, "I walk here as much as I can. It's absolutely beautiful even though it's a city."

Coastline ghosts


From coastlines walks to rambles through fields, Antony Gormley's art is continually inspired by the relationship between people and nature. The figures commonly used in his work are casts of himself, which reflect how much Gormley himself goes on the walks featured in his sculpture exhibitions. 

Visitors are also encouraged to walk amongst the sculptures and interact with the landscape around them. 

In 1997, three years after winning the Turner prize, Gormley created the sculpture, Another Place. The piece involves over 100 life-size cast iron figures of Gormley spread over Crosby beach in Southport, looking out to the Irish sea. The sculptures are spread out for around two miles along the beach. 

Walking on thin ice

Contemporary Dutch artist and film maker, Guido van der Werve uses walking as the inspiration for many of his thought provoking video pieces. 

Nummer acht, everything is going to be alright, one of his most famous works, shows Werve walking calmly across open plains of ice directly in front of an ice-breaker. Of course, without the trick of the lens this wouldn't be possible. Although Werve is some distance from the ice-breaker, he uses walking to create the sense of drama and shock in his film.

The speed and non-harassed way that Werve walks inspires the viewers to think about the fragility of life, the human form, and the power of nature (after they've got over the urge to shout, "run!"). 

This piece is one of the most dramatic works of art that focuses on the act of walking - a truly inspired video, if not a bit stressful to watch.

The mechanics of walking

Contemporary maker Theo Jansen uses plastic tubing and sheeting - but never electronics - to create his kinetic sculptures. These seemingly organic structures are powered by wind to move in an uncanny way across surfaces. Jansen's machines explore the mechanics of walking, showing us how we ourselves are part-machine. 

We'd be interested to know how walking has inspired you as an artist or as an art lover. 


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