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Ipswich Art Society exhibition looks to inspire next generation of artists

PUBLISHED: 08:10 30 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:10 30 June 2018

Views of the Ipswich Art Society Open Call exhibition. Photo: Andrew Clarke

Views of the Ipswich Art Society Open Call exhibition. Photo: Andrew Clarke

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Two inspiring art exhibitions featuring talent from across the region is designed to offer inspiration to a new generation of emerging artists. Arts Editor Andrew Clarke is overwhelmed by the quality of work on show at the Ipswich Art School Gallery

Views of the Ipswich Art Society Open Call exhibition. Photo: Andrew ClarkeViews of the Ipswich Art Society Open Call exhibition. Photo: Andrew Clarke

The Ipswich Art Society’s annual celebration of local talent is bringing together professionals and experienced amateurs to provide a dazzling range of fine art, prints, installations and sculpture as part of their 141st annual exhibition.

This year the exhibition, held at the Ipswich Art School Gallery, is offering two shows for the price of one: a show within a show. They are also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Anna Airy Award, made each year to promising emerging artists, offering them support as they 
go from A Level art courses to degree level and further training.

This year the Open Call exhibition features 150 new works while the Anna Airy winners exhibition offers a wide range of work from 18 past winners featuring material that won them the prize as well as work that they are currently producing.

Andrew Casey, from the Ipswich Art Society, said: “This year we are very excited that 30% of the work on show has come from non-members. The standard and quality of work has been staggering, amazing and seeing it up on the walls just takes your breath away. The selection committee had a very difficult task to whittle it down to a manageable size.”

Views of the Ipswich Art Society Open Call exhibition. Photo: Andrew ClarkeViews of the Ipswich Art Society Open Call exhibition. Photo: Andrew Clarke

He said that the current exhibition space was the largest area they had used but even so a lot of hard decisions had to be made. “The joy of using the Ipswich Art School Gallery is that there is a very real sense of coming home because the majority of our artists, on display in this exhibition, were trained here. I think many of them got goose bumps coming through those doors again.”

Jan Watson, who helps curate the annual Anna Airy prize exhibition, said that the prize established in the name of the society’s former president, who was both professional artist and passionate educator, at times resembled a Who’s Who of contemporary local art with past winners such notable names as Sula and Zoe Rubens, Matthew Darbyshire, Jevan Watkins Jones, Kate Reynolds, Julie Adams, Tricia Newell, Edward Parkinson and Cathie Shuttleworth.

Andrew Casey, himself a former Anna Airy winner, said that the ambition of the Society was to spread awareness of the Open Call exhibition across the region to entice artists to submit their very best work and make the annual show not only a centre of excellence but also something that would inspire both visitors and other artists.

The work on the walls includes portraits and landscapes, executed in a range of bold and innovative styles using oils, watercolours, mixed media and charcoal. The show has been hung with some of the best pieces on show in the atrium, facing the doors as you enter the gallery. It’s very much a wow moment.

Views of the Ipswich Art Society Open Call exhibition. Photo: Andrew ClarkeViews of the Ipswich Art Society Open Call exhibition. Photo: Andrew Clarke

There’s sculpture to accompany the two-dimensional work as well as a film and an installation from former Felixstowe artist Matthew Darbyshire.

As part of the programme of aspiration and inspiration the Ipswich Arts Society have published a book to accompany the Anna Airy exhibition which has been funded by The Arts Society South East (Suffolk) formerly known as NADFAS. The book shows high quality illustration of the work and potted biographies of the artists in the exhibition.

Both the Ipswich Art Society Open Call Exhibition and the Anna Airy Winners Exhibition are at the Ipswich Art School Gallery, High Street, next to the Ipswich Museum and run until September 23.

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