Foyles Show by Penelope Mac Ewan

Free Painters and Sculptors Society Private View:
(9th February, 2008 6.30-8.30 3rd Floor Foyles Gallery, London.)

The cold wind bit into my hands and face. Londoners jumped over puddles and dodged umbrellas. I looked with silent envy at their boots, my own court shoes having long since become drenched and freezing. Why was our private view on such a night I wondered? Surely no one would be there!

The rain lashed hard against the cars that passed, soaking unlucky pedestrians with their wash. With relief I sighted the ‘Foyles’ sign, certain that at least soon I would be out of the cold. With grim resolve I took the lift to the third floor, believing I would meet a silent reception. But nothing could have been more the antithesis of my expectation!

The room positively exploded with life. Colour radiated from the walls. People chatted in groups, women wore pretty dresses, apparently undaunted or unaware of the foul weather outside. Glasses clinked; music played and while no one seemed ready with a cheque book to buy anything it was clear that despite the credit crunch a real ‘feel-good-factor’ prevailed. The atmosphere was pregnant with joie de vivre.

As I glanced around the room my eye was drawn to Keith Stanfield’s warm portrait, another child (besides his musical older son now playing the violin) was silently present within the picture.

Pete Murry’s luxurious designs sang out too from the walls, as did the contrasting cools of the snow theme developed in the far corner. Olive Cross’s magnificent oil paintings of mountains begged a closer look so I went across the room, glass in hand to congratulate her.

We chatted a while and then I retired behind the bar, receiving further compliments from people about Demeter’s Haralabaki’s textile piece, and the rough immediacy of the boxers jousting behind us, by Philip Worth.

So when it became time to select a raffle ticket for one or more of the pictures in
the room, I knew a challenging choice lay ahead of the surprised winner . It did; but she methodically moved around the room, wisely electing three unframed works, two gaily coloured prints by Katie Moritz and one by Owen Legg, part of his beautifully crafted cycle from ‘The Omar Khayyám.’

I looked up at the other prints by Owen on the wall besides William Frith’s work, steeped in the dark romance of the orient. Yes, I thought, ‘Free Painters and Sculptors’ draws the crowds for a reason. The work reflects the freedom of artists to express themselves.

So I would hope we all extend our thanks to those who made the exhibition
Grace Kimble, (Chair); George Spencer, (who put the pictures up with Vivien
Lodge, newly back on the committee after a well earned rest); Pete Murry, (committee
member in charge of the FPS blog); Keith Stanfield, (Honorary Membership Secretary,
who hopes you have all renewed your membership) and our new publicity man, Cliff

Let’s lift our glasses and give them all a toast!

(Penelope MacEwen, 2008, Outreach officer)


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