You can now vote for your favourite painting in this year’s BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the Aberdeen Art Gallery… If you’d like to vote for Sarah’s portrait of the very brilliant Lola Flash, here’s the link:
Another first – 360 degree views of our latest exhibition by Lots Road Group member Stuart Howitt.
The exhibition runs at Waterstones Gower Street until Thursday 10 January. It is sponsored by Heatherleys and is in association with Children & the Arts. Many works – those connected to the theme and secondary works showing more of each artist’s practice – are for sale.
More than 175 people came to the Private view of Connected: the changing face of Britain last night. It was fantastic to see so many of our sitters. The Lots Road Group’s Hilary Puxley explained the intention of our exhibition, born of a simple idea in divisive times to portray a person to whom we had a personal connection and, like casting a pebble in a pond, to see where the ripples would take us. The answer was that our connections extend very far indeed and reveal much about the identity of 21st century Britain.
She introduced Rosie Millard the CEO of our exhibition partner, Children & the Arts, who welcomed our partnership, not least because our show celebrates life with all its diversity and difference. She spoke of the work of the charity to bring art into an active and lively engagement with children and young people, many of whom have not experienced art and creativity before.
We are hugely grateful, as always, to our exhibition sponsors where we all studied Heatherleys.
The Lots Road Group’s latest exhibition presents a microcosm of contemporary British society through the artists’ own connection to family and friends.
Seventeen members of the group have chosen an eclectic mix of sitters – diverse in age, gender, ethnicity, and nationality of origin. Having connected with each other through our attendance at The Heatherley School of Art we decided to explore through portraiture how our personal connections spread outwards and reflect life in 21st century Britain.
Set against the backdrop of Brexit, a time often described as divisive, our sitters are people to whom we have personal ties, some traditionally British from Aberdeenshire, Cornwall, Oxfordshire, Sussex and Yorkshire, as well as residents who have come here from a staggering array of countries: Bolivia, Brazil, British Guiana, Eritrea, France, Iraq, Norway, Pakistan, Poland and the United States.
Lots Road Group representative, Hilary Puxley said, “We started with the simple idea of painting people to whom we are connected, and have been astounded by the results! The list of countries with which our sitters are associated is astonishing and reflects a sea change in British society. Our artists have come up with a wealth of compelling and sometimes touching stories that evidence a much kinder and more welcoming Britain than you might suspect. I think the public will find the portraits fascinating.”
Our charity partner this year is Children & the Arts whose CEO, Rosie Millard OBE said, “I am delighted that Children & the Arts is partnering the distinguished Lots Road Group in this year’s exhibition, which testifies so beautifully and powerfully that art is an essential expression of humanity. Without it our lives are diminished. We work with thousands of children across the nation and across all art forms. We change lives and open up vistas. On the threshold of a time when the UK moves away from Europe into an uncertain future, our mission has never seemed more important, and it has never seemed more appropriate and meaningful for us to be connected with this wonderful show which celebrates life with all its diversity and difference.”
As usual, our exhibition has a narrative component which introduces our sitters and explains how we are connected to them.
Several sitters evidence changing tastes, of Britain being more open both to world, to different lifestyles and conscious of the impact all our lives have on our environment:
- Martin Burrough’s sitter is Thomasina Miers who founded the Wahaca chain of restaurants, bringing Mexican food to our attention and introducing British palates to exciting new combinations of flavours.
- French-born Laurence Collis’ sitter is her partner Tim Peacock who grew up in Yorkshire but moved to the south of England. They met when he came to fix her motorbike and has had to adapt to her bilingual family. Tim represents the antithesis of a changing Britain with his passion for conserving and curating things of value from the past.
- New Zealand born Sarah Jane Moon’s sitter is fellow immigrant Krishna Istha, a US-born performer. Both have fallen in love withLondon’s live art and queer scenes and, through the creative arts actively promote visibility and representation of under-represented people like them.
- Hilary Puxley’s sitter is her long-term friend Soli Mehta who came here from Karachi and whose import business created new designs for traditional crafts and brought them to the British high street.
- Lucinda Rendall’s sitter is Brazilian-born Diegos Barros, now a British citizen and her third son’s partner, a personal trainer and body builder who designs and markets clothes.
- Sarah Reynolds’ sitter is Sophie Robinson, an interior designer, broadcaster and TV presenter of BBC 2’s The Great Interior Design Challenge and BBC One’s DIY SOS, whose mission is to bring colour and optimism to British interior design.
- Sarah Richardson’s sitter is her neighbour Bolivian-raised Annie Copponex who has lived in Britain for 50 years with her Swiss-born husband Jean-Pierre and made British culture her own without losing touch with her Bolivian roots, turning her house into a living museum of artifacts and cooking and making objects for her regular Bolivian fiestas.
- Elizabeth Shields’ sitter is her brother John; their shared connection is to their homeland Aberdeenshire, where John is attempting to put a traditional estate on a more environmentally sustainable footing.
- Stella Tooth’s sitters are Ben and Sacha Bowling who are pictured with their father, British Guianan-born Frank Bowling OBE RA’s, painting. Frank fled to New York after graduating from the RCA to avoid attempts to pigeon-hole him. A Tate Britain retrospective next year will establish the artist who now lives in London as one of today’s most brilliant painters.
- Ukrainian-born Alla Broeksmit has chosen to portray herself as she feels she personally exemplifies multiple connections. She splits her time between London, with its cultural and artistic opportunities and her family in New York, but looks to her childhood in Ukraine for her artistic inspiration.
There are also very long-term friendships, touching stories of young people being added to family circles, and of courageous immigrants finding a new life in this country, or helping others acquire skills they need:
- Hero Johnson’s sitter is Cornish-born, London-based Kathryn Patrick, a friend since infant school, pictured in front of the Botallack Mine, where she sat when her husband proposed.
- Katherine Firth’s Polish-born sitter, Kasia, is a former employee and now friend who has become a British citizen who lives in Cambridge and teaches female immigrants from all over the world.
- Stuart Howitt’s mixed-heritage, Norway-born sitter Boris is a graphic designer whom he met at their local gym. Boris’ pose echoes the look of a passport photo, engaging with the viewers in a way that shows the determination and courage it takes to start a new life in a foreign country
- Christine Klein – Cailliau’s sitter is London-based Sarah Lewis whose African-European heritage is reflected in her different coloured eyes. The youngest of eight siblings, Sarah grew up on a council estate in Poplar, east London and met Christine’s daughter Celine on Channel 4’s Celebs go Dating. She now has a modelling career, as Christine once did.
- Colleen Quill’s sitter is 28-year-old Eritrean-born Abnet Anday, whose quest for a better education led her to being taken into social care in London and eventually graduating in psychology at the University of Worcester, where she studied with Colleen’s daughter Maria.
- Maureen Nathan’s sitter is her 92-year-old mother-in-law Victoria, who came to England in 1960 with her husband and children from Iraq.
- Mark Stevenson’s sitter is his French-born long-term friend Patrick Deguara, who is now a chiropractor in Witney, with whom he shares a love of cooking and golf.
Our charity partner this year is Children & the Arts which works with arts venues across the UK to reach children in communities and hospices who may be in danger of missing out on creative and cultural experiences. Since the charity was founded in 2006, it has given half a million children access to the arts, provided more than 1000 children and families affected by life-limiting illness with therapeutic arts experiences, and created more than 6000 partnerships between schools and arts organisations in the most deprived areas of the country.
Our sponsor is The Heatherley School of Fine Art. Founded in 1845, it is one of the oldest independent art colleges in Britain and is among the few art schools in the UK that focus purely on portraiture, figurative painting, sculpture and printmaking. The college offers both vocational and part-time courses to students aged 18 years and over.
The Lots Road Group accept commissions.
To see a copy of our catalogue visit http://www.blurb.co.uk/bookstore
and search for Connected: the changing face of Britain from Friday 30 November.
OSCAR NEMON, PORTRAIT SCULPTOR
An illustrated lunchtime talk by his daughter Aurelia Young
Thursday 6 December 1-2pm
Tickets £5 Waterstones
From her unique viewpoint, Aurelia, whose mother, Patricia Villiers-Stuart attended courses at Heatherleys in 1939 and 1949, talks about her late father Oscar Nemon, a genius who sculpted the crowned heads of Europe, Sigmund Freud and Winston Churchill, and who, against the odds being a Jewish refugee, brought us close, through his art, to those who shaped the 20th century. Aurelia will be happy to sign copies of her newly published book ‘Finding Nemon’.
The Lots Road Group’s latest exhibition, ‘ Connected: the changing face of Britain, aims to present a microcosm of contemporary British society against the backdrop of Brexit – a time often described as divisive.
Through an eclectic mix of sitters – diverse in age, gender, ethnicity, nationality of origin – we explore how people who live in Britain are connected, using ourselves and our meeting at The Heatherley School of Fine Art as the starting points.
Our sitters are people to whom we have personal ties, those who live in different parts of Britain, both traditionally British as well as residents who have come here from elsewhere.
As usual, our exhibition has a narrative component which introduces our sitters and explains how we are connected to them and their views on Britain today.
The Lots Road Group accept commissions.
When the exhibition, which is staged in association with Children and the Arts launches you will find a catalogue online by googling BLURB Lots Road Group and exhibition title.
PRIVATE VIEW Friday 30 November 2018 6.30-8.30pm
Monday, 26 November-Thursday 10 January 2019
Waterstones Lower Floor Gallery
82 Gower St, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 6EQ
Open Monday-Friday 8.30am-9pm, Saturday 8.30am-8pm and Sunday 12-6pm
Closest tube: Goodge Street. Check on Waterstones website for Bank Holidays.
FINDING NEMON with Lady Aurelia Young Thursday 6th December 1 – 2pm
Lady Aurelia Young’s connection: her mother, Patricia Villiers-Stuart attended courses at Heatherleys, where the Lots Road Group all studied, in 1939 and 1940.
And we’re off!
The Lots Road Group’s next exhibition will be Connected: the changing face of Britain.
At a time often described as divisive, our new show will explore how people who live in Britain are connected, using ourselves, and our meeting at The Heatherley’s School of Fine Art, as the starting point.
Against the backdrop of Brexit, our aim is to produce an exhibition that presents a microcosm of contemporary British society.
As usual, the narrative component of our show will introduce the diverse and eclectic mix of sitters, explaining their background, connection to the artist and views on Britain today.
The exhibition will go on show from the end of November to January in Waterstones’ dedicated exhibition space at 82 Gower Street in Bloomsbury.
Watch this space for more details!
Maureen Nathan is joining the Lots Road Group for its next exhibition – Connected – which will go on show later this year. Watch this space for details.
We catch up with Maureen, who studied portraiture at The Heatherley School of Fine Art, to find out about her art.
How did you become a painter?
Which other artists or painters do you look to for inspiration and why?
What, to you, constitutes a good portrait?
Do you have any current projects that you’d like to tell us about?
It is with great sadness that we read in this week’s Observer that the remarkable Katharine Whitehorn has been diagnosed with advanced Alzheimers Disease.
Lots Road Group member Sarah Richardson writes:
“This is particularly sad for me as I had the great privilege of being able to paint Katharine’s portrait three years ago for the Lots Road Group’s exhibition ‘Portrayed’. Our time together in the studio will be with me always for it was an extraordinary opportunity to share the company of this brilliant, witty and beautiful woman who broke journalistic barriers for the way women were perceived in all walks of life. ”
Katharine Whitehorn’s portrait is now in the private collection of Newnham Cambridge, her old college.