The Royal Watercolour Society’s Spring Exhibition opens today at Bankside Gallery (between Tate Modern and The Founders Arms on the Southbank). The RWS was founded in 1804 by a group of artists who felt their work wasn’t getting a fair showing at the RA (Royal Academy) so they resourcefully started their own organisation and showed paintings together. So that’s over 200 years ago and while artists haven’t changed in their need to work and exhibit – the materials available have. This means members of the RWS today can exhibit work in any water based media as long as the ‘support’ i.e. what you paint on is paper based. In this exhibition for the first time ever – RWS artists are allowed to exhibit an ‘Etc’ in the form of a piece of work that does not meet the criteria above – so it could be sculpture,oil painting,photography or prints.
The RWS elected 6 new Associate Members recently who will also be showing their paintings in the exhibition – so it will be even more exciting and innovative to visit and buy, which is what artists need!
I am looking forward to seeing the exhibition this evening – I was one of the team ‘laying out’ the works along with Bill Henderson (Chief Hanger) Francis Bowyer, Denis Ryan and Annie Williams. This took several hours with a good deal of lifting paintings and positioning them in the gallery – then changing what looked good where etc. Then the Bankside Gallery’s excellent team of ‘Hangers’ have the task of actually hanging the works – some of which are very heavy and making sure spaces are equal, paintings straight etc. Phew! Quite a business.