I went to see this exhibition on Saturday afternoon at Leicester New Walk Museum and Art Gallery:
The Leicester Society of Artists hold an annual exhibition at the gallery each year and it is always worth a visit. I enjoyed the exhibition, as I have on previous visits over the past few years, particularly the quality of the work and the standard of presentation. The exhibition always has a very professional polish to it and, whilst there are a lot of artworks on display, it does not feel overcrowded or overwhelming. Each work is given a respectful amount of wall space, and the lighting makes it look vibrant and exciting.
The works on display were all quite traditional which completely appeals to me. I like to see the craft and hard graft that has gone into an artwork. It was only really after I finished my degree that I realised how relatively conservative my taste in artwork is. I am interested in a variety of art forms, but I naturally tend to be more inspired by the technique, quality and construction of a work rather than the concept.
I was pleased to see that both my old A level tutor was a recipient of one of the prices, and a work colleague had sold a piece of work.
I have considered applying to join the society before but have never actually got around to doing it. The main difficulty I have with the application process is that you do actually have to apply. Your application is considered by a panel and your membership is either denied or granted. I can understand the reasoning behind this process (quality control, limited exhibition space etc.) but find it all a bit elitist.
Who is in a position to judge who is and is not a good enough artist to join? If you are not accepted does this make you a bad artist? If you are accepted does this make you a good artist? Are you continually judged if you are accepted to ensure that you are still good enough in 2, 5, or 10 years time?
In order to promote visual art in the region, and build an inspired creative community, it would be better to allow anyone to join the society and in some way participate and contribute toward all meetings and events. A selection process could be used for exhibitions in order to create a cohesive and coherent showcase (and to take into account space limitations). This should be a curatorial process to select works that react with or against one another to create a show that challenges, inspires, questions and promotes.
This is all obviously only my own personal opinion, and not based on any knowledge of how the society is managed or administered (as I do not have any!). After publishing this post, particularly if anybody in the society reads it, I very much doubt that an application by me will be accepted anytime soon. Not to worry. I will continue to visit any exhibitions that they put on in the future and will, on the evidence of today, thoroughly enjoy them!