Bath Society of Artists 2017

A few weeks ago I attended a private view that was “invitation only”. And the venue was so packed, no one could even move, go figure.

Bath Society of Artists 112th Open Exhibition at Victoria Gallery in Bath is an event that showcases the best of the region’s artistic talent. However, I really have to ask myself if this is actually correct.

Let’s consider this:

There is a selection panel of 9 (David Inshaw (President of Bath Society of Artists), Jon Benington (Director of the Victoria Art Gallery) guest panellists and Members of the Bath Society of Artist), who choose which of the hundreds of submitted works will get on display. Ok, there is a variety of people, who select the artworks.

Yet, there are only three judges who decide who gets the award: Anthony Hepworth of Anthony Hepworth Fine Art, Mark Surridge, painter and Dan Allen, Assistant Dean, Bath School of Art and Design (who was the only judge for sculpture). So, you tell me, there is no preferential treatment …

Since the prizes are quite amazing, one would think they are not given away so easily.

Bath Society of Art Prize: £1,000, open to all exhibits.
Malcolm Ashman RWA RBA ROI: ‘Yellow Coat’
Morgans Best Landscape Award: £500
Yi Yuan: ‘The Empire’
Bath Society of Artists Public Choice Prize: £500.00 open to all exhibits and chosen at the close of the show.
Artwork Creations: £200 for framing from bespoke picture framer Paul Webb, open to all exhibits
Adrian Thompson-Boyce: ‘Jean’
Bath Society of Artists Graphics Prize: £100 for a print, open to all exhibits
Matthew Benington: ‘Phoenix’
Bristol Guild Prize: £250 for a 3-dimensional work, open to all exhibits
Keith Newstead: ‘The Little Oratress’
The Harry Walker Young Artists Prize: £250 (only artists aged 18 – 25 are eligible)
St Cuthbert’s Mill Watercolour Prize: – a selection of watercolour paper, open to all exhibits
Ros Cuthbert: ‘The Revolt’
Ian Black Small Painting Prize: £50 open to all exhibits
Helen Davison: ‘Ghosts Live Here’
J.F. Harris/Minerva Best Portrait Prize: voucher for materials, open to all exhibits
Annie Fry: ‘Marion. Dream the Soft Look’
Meltone Gallery Framing Prize worth £100, open to all exhibits
Rostra Gallery Prize: winner’s work exhibited in the gallery for two weeks
Juraj Prodaj: ‘Bath Abbey’


Seeing, which artworks got the awards, I am a bit sceptical about this. Can one find out what the criteria for the prizes was? I would really like to know that, because I was utterly shocked on some winners. Especially, because there were many fine artworks to select from (and some not so attractive, I have to admit).

I am not even going to mention the daft salon-style display, but I guess the curators do not have a choice, considering how many artworks they have to display …

One could also sense a baby theme going on …


Nevertheless, I really enjoyed Michael Pennie‘s sculptures. He was this years’ invited artist, which was a splendid choice!



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