Friday, August 03, 2007

At the New English

Happened to be in Hereford last week and was delighted to discover an exhibition by members of the New English Art club in the Museum and Art Gallery. It seemed to have been staged in memory of John Ward CBE, RA, NEAC who died earlier this year. He was born and educated in Hereford before going on to the RCA after service in the Royal Engineers in WW2. He left a set of drawings which he made on active service to the Hereford museum which were on display.

The NEAC was founded in1886 - one of founder members was Sickert he and others imported impressionist and realist ideas from France. Augustus John’s work aroused a concern for sensitive draughtsmanship and his influence is still traced in the work of current members.

The NEAC claims to represent the very best of contemporary British figurative painting. There are some fine medium sized oil paintings that look well in a large gallery space and are well worth studying. There’s also encouragement to be gained by seeing the smaller works painted with a directness of touch maybe as studies. There were two little oils of Padstow by Tom Coates – they left me with the feeling that with a little effort and practice I could pull off something almost as good! A touch of conceit? – perhaps but at least Tom's paintings inspired me to push myself a lttle further.

The exhibition runs till 29th August - do get to see it if you can.

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