The 5th Biannual exhibition of the Society of Wolverhampton Artists was opened on Saturday 24th in the city’s Art Gallery with a large audience. From over 100 submissions 47 Artists were represented in the exhibition.
A team of Gurkhas travelled from Nuneaton to get a sense of the culture in the exhibition on the recommendation of their Captain who is an associate of the Society.
Mark Whitehouse – double award winner with his winning painting.
There were many varied styles of painting, drawing and sculpture from the Society’s membership, enjoyed by a big wolverhampton audience.
The worshipful Lord Mayor signed the visitors book.
The Mayoress was presented with a bouquet of freshly hand cut Shropshire flowers.
The Gurkhas on the famous Gallery Staircase with the Black Country painting by George Warner Allen in the background.
The WSA’s Rita Jukes, Keith Oram and programme secretary Claire Starmer.
The High Sheriff Opening Speech.
As the High Sheriff of the West Midlands I have put the arts, creative industries and young people at the centre of my year. This is an unusual theme for a High Sheriff, but one that is proving very rewarding. Only a couple of nights ago I was at the Black Country Talent Awards in the Molineux to see the wealth of local talent and the value young people get through engaging in the arts and creative industries.
Arts and culture are core to society and provide opportunities to bind people together in celebration and enjoyment of our communities and histories. They also provide a chance to reflect on our lives and from time to time question where we are. One of my chosen charities is the Koestler trust – who offer opportunities for prisoners in all sorts of penal institutions to ‘do art’ and in turn be part of an annual national exhibition, and indeed sell their work to benefit not just them, but their families and institution.
So doing art is good for all and its great to be here today to celebrate the work from the membership of the society from across the West Midlands, rural Shropshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.
This 5th biannual show is better than ever and as it captures the work of professional and amateur artists. It’s also one of a number of arts of their events in the region that Society members are involved in across the region including the Junction Festival. And its not only locally important – members have work in exhibitions in the UK and around the world including; Canada, USA and China. It’s Great to take the west midlands to the world!
The Society of Artists has had a long association with the Wolverhampton Art Gallery over the last ninety-six years. When I first came to the Midlands in the early 80’s I worked in the School of Fine Art and from time to time dropped by the Art Gallery and particularly enjoyed the state of the art pop art collection. And more recently as High Sheriff I visited the city for Armed forces day and spent the afternoon in the Gallery to see the refreshed and refurbished Galleries. I also enjoyed the Martin Parr Black Country photographs, the local collection including the arresting painting ‘Christ on the rubbish Dump’ by George Warner Allen, commissioned by Cannon Abel Wood of the Black Country Industrial Mission in 1955.
A few weeks later I attended a Church service in Rowley Regis where the minister referred to the self same picture in his sermon as a piece of art that helps us understand our lives. –
So galleries and artists are very important!
It gives me great pleasure to officially open this, the 5th Biannual exhibition of the Society of Wolverhampton Artists.
While you visit the show take a moment to see the Made in the Midlands show by John Abernethy, technical demonstrator in the Graphics department of the university, in the street gallery.
John Abernethy has been making digital prints for over fifteen years. He studied graphic design and has an MA in Fine Art Printmaking from the University of Wolverhampton where he is currently the principal technician for digital and traditional printmaking.
Made in the Midlands presents his recent work, exploring the history and remnants of Midlands manufacturing. Jim is particularly interested in the automotive industry and its remains. He contrasts these often derelict surroundings and objects with vivid, high saturation printing, reminding us of the wealth of history and hidden beauty of our region.