Last Friday I attended the private viewing of the first exhibition I have exhibited in. It was quite an experience not least because it meant I achieved one of the major goals I set myself last year. I had on display four peices:
Day out at the Beach, oil on canvas. It can also be seen here.
Time and Tide, oil on canvas, which can also be seen here
Migration Patterns,oil on Oil paper, wich can also be seen here
Orphans, oil on board which can also be seen here
I learnt an enormous amount from my first exhibition. I was involved in the setting up of the exhibition on the Monday prior. Probably by dint of being the youngest and fittest member of the society I was delegated light hanging. Once this was completed the actual hanging was still proceeding somewhat slowly. I lost paintence and left. On arriving at the exhibition I was slightly annoyed to find that all my work bar one, had been hung very low. Particularly Orphans looked isolated an bedragled. Also one was slightly hidden behind a piller. So lesson one, stay at the hanging and fight for a better spot otherwise you will end up like below. Despite this I was pleased both with how my work looked when hung and how well it stood up to the competition.
You can just see Orphans in the bottom right of the left picture bellow, by the bag. See what I mean? Easy to overlook . This and comparing my work to other people and particularly with the prize winners led me to two further realisations. Frames play a very important part in the presentation of the work so I either need to frame my larger oil paintings or cover the side of the canvas.
Prizes where awarded at the event. You can see two of the prize winners in the pictures above, the picture of the people fighting in the left hand photo (it is called Black Friday) and the picture of the Skiers on the right. In both of theses pictures, particularly the Skiers, the frames, I think, play an important part in the presentation of the peice. The reality of why I didn't frame the larger of the works is that I am a cheapskate. It can be expensive, very much so in fact. Secondly I think my work didn't really fit in with what else was on display. I am not saying change your style or that I will change mine, just that success at exhibition will, to a certain extent, depend on how your work is complimented by other people's.
Prizes where awarded. The judge was Edward Lucie Smith. I was not expecting to win anything and to that extent I was not disappointed. There was some very good stuff on display, particularly by Ruth Munby and Karen Birkin that I thought worthy of accolade which were overlooked (I liked Karen's Benbecula which you can see on her website). Richard Davidson the painter of the Skiers won best in show for that work and best oil painting for another of his. He is an interesting man, having left the law at 45 to become a painter full time. Mr Smith gave what may of have been an interesting speech that proceeded the prize giving. It was impossible to tell as no one could make out a word he said, a fact which left many, including my sister (above left) someonwhat impatient. All I could make out was that there was no avant-garde in art any more, only in technology.
There was quite a large crowd at the viewing. Over a hunderd I'd say. As you can probably glimpse from the above photos the law society is quite a sumptuos venue. Red carpeted floors, marble pilars, and dull portraits of legal worthies overlooking it all. The main reading room where the exhibition was housed, has a sombre atmopsphere generated by the 1st world war memorial that runs along three of the four walls. I you haven't been then it is a worthwhile building to look inside.
My tutor, Hugh Mendes, was kind enough to make an appearance (above right). He gave me some very interesting insights. For example he confirmed my suspicions on frames by saying the he thought the active way Migration Patterns sits in its frame added to the work. I was also suprised to find that this was generally people's favourite work of mine. I should do more like it then.
It was great fund being able to attend this event. Thanks to John Mackenzie (my dad) for taking the photos and to my wife, Daphne Harvey (pictured with me above) for her support and to my sister and my friends for turning up and of course to Hugh for his ever helpful instruction.
The exhibition continues until next Saturday (details below). If by some miracle you go, tell me what you think.
William John Mackenzie
I am an artist with a specialism in landscapes and still life. My contact details are here.