If you’re in the Oxford/Abingdon area why not drop into the Oxford Art Society’s annual exhibition. It’s being held at the impressive Sewell Centre Gallery at Radley College and is on until Friday 23 March. The Oxford Art Society has an illustrious history, having been established more than 100 years ago. Its founder, Walter Tyrwhitt, remarked on the need for a society to encourage Art in the City and in the University. And that’s what this year’s exhibition does, in abundance. You’ll find a wide selection of work from wire sculptures to abstract paintings with some more traditional pieces along the way. It was great to see Harriet Eagle‘s beautifully calm work. Susan Kirkman‘s bold landscapes and abstracts are also on view. There are some playful paintings as well such as Marie Boyle‘s ‘Stripy Table’ and some bold, colourful abstracts like Jill Colchester‘s ‘There’. The majority of the Society’s members have professional art training and many combine their lives as working artists with teaching or other art related professions. A good number of members exhibit nationally or internationally, as well as locally during Oxfordshire Artweeks. Definitely worth a visit.
So, what would the ultimate accolade for a sculptor be? Well, if it was garden sculpture then surely being exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show must be up there. And that’s exactly what Alison Bell will be doing this May. Many of you will be familiar with her Wee Souls Collection. Exhibited at Forton Fine Art for many years, they pull on the heartstrings, reminding us of our children and our own childhoods. Well, imagine these sculptures in life-size because that’s exactly what she is working on right now. Three of her pieces will be on show in Laura Antiss’ garden for the charity Supershoes. Entitled, ‘Laced with Hope’, the garden follows a child’s journey following a diagnosis of cancer. It also showcases the work that Supershoes does by empowering these children in their fight. As you know, sculpture can add a focal point to any garden. Either as a feature piece or nestled into a flower bed, garden designers have been incorporating them for centuries. And if you’ve visited Chelsea in recent years you will have noticed an increasing number of sculptors now have their own stands. From Michael Speller’s abstract pieces to Hamish Mackie’s more traditional animals they are as impressive as they are large. So look out for the three not so wee souls on the Supershoes’designer garden. I think you’ll agree that King of the Castle will, quite literally and figuratively be that. King of the Castle Too
A basic principle of interior design is to have a focal point in every room, something that catches your eye as you walk in but at the same time looks completely at home in its environment. Working with art, I would argue the case for a painting to fill that role. Too often artwork is the final installment in a room and yet it can provide a wonderful link between well thought out wall coloring’s and beautiful pieces of furniture. It can serve as a statement piece or can be used to bring together a collaboration of interiors. It can give a traditional room a contemporary feel or it can be used to make a room welcoming and warm. Even after working in the business for more than a decade I can still be surprised and enchanted by the way a painting can instantly make an impact, how it can look as if it was created for a particular space. So whilst buying a painting is an investment it is one that can make a huge impact on the enjoyment of your home. In fact, more often than not it is the ingredient that makes the difference.