The annual exhibition of the Lake Artists Society opens this weekend at Rheged.
John Dunning, founder of Rheged, opened the exhibition’s preview yesterday at the venue near Penrith.
He and his wife, Barbara, are long-time supporters of the Lake Artists Society, which is holding its annual exhibition at Rheged for the first time in its 117-year history.
“This is a wonderful exhibition and it’s a great privilege to have the Lake Artists here,” John said. “Barbara and I have been to the summer exhibition, and the previews, for more than 50 years and it has been a real delight throughout our lives.”
“There’s a more vibrant group of artists in our county than elsewhere, and we needn’t look too hard to see where that comes from: there’s immense inspiration in the landscape and people and culture of Cumbria.
“The Lake Artists Society and artists generally are tremendously important in our society, particularly during this pandemic. They have kept us all aware of wider values that we should be recognising and cherishing.”
Almost every year since it was founded in 1904 by the artist and author WG Collingwood, the Lake Artists Society has held its flagship Summer Exhibition at Grasmere Village Hall.
Having cancelled the event in 2020 due to the pandemic, the society found itself without a venue for the 2021 exhibition when Grasmere Village Hall became a COVID vaccination centre.
With Rheged’s purpose-built gallery at its disposal, the society has been able to bring together 260 artworks by its 45 members and carefully selected non-members, all of whom live and work in Cumbria.
“We are very pleased to be here in this wonderful gallery,” said Lake Artists Society president Kevin Chester. “In these strange and changing times, we cannot take events like this for granted.”
Society’s 25th anniversary
This year’s exhibition marks the 25th anniversary of the Friends of the Lake Artists Society (FOLAS), whose members include John and Barbara.
After opening the preview, John presented five awards, sponsored by local businesses, which are awarded by the society in recognition of excellence and innovation in two- and three-dimensional media.
Lyn Evans won the award for A Work on Paper, sponsored by Kent Valley Colour Printers, for Red Screes, inspired by the view of Clough Head near her home at the foot of Blencathra.
The Ophelia Gordon Bell Award for Sculpture, sponsored by the Heaton Cooper Studio and Lakeland Mouldings, was awarded to Edward Dawes, of Holme, for Crag Wood.
Trinity, a painting by Stefan Orlowski, based in Ulverston, won the award for A Work in Oil, Acrylic, Mixed Media or Tempera, sponsored by Youdells.
The Young Artist award went to Justin Corbishley of Cartmel for his work Mont Ventoux from Merindol les Oliviers. It was sponsored by Peter Tyson.
Sponsored by Friends of the Lake District, the award for Most Captivating Lakeland Landscape was given to Into the Light, Great Langdale, a work in pastel by Christine Baines, who works from her home studio at Loughrigg in Ambleside.
A sixth award, the People’s Choice Award, is sponsored by Northern Lights Gallery. This will be voted for by visitors to the exhibition and the winner will be announced in November.
First for the show
Every artwork in the exhibition is being shown for the first time, and all artworks on display are for sale.
In a first for Rheged and the Lake Artists Society, artworks from the annual exhibition will also be available to buy online.
To coincide with the opening of its latest exhibition, Rheged is launching an online gallery, selling work from the current and previous exhibitions, including Great Print 6.
The exhibition also coincides with Rheged’s new programme of creative classes for beginners and enthusiasts.
They include three classes led by Lake Artists Society member Catherine MacDiarmid, who has six paintings in Rheged’s exhibition and will be teaching A Taste of Acrylics (16 October), Portrait in a Day (21 November), and Introduction to Life Drawing (22 January).
The exhibition, which is free to visit, opens tomorrow and runs until Sunday November 21.
For more information about the gallery and to book creative classes, visit rheged.com