We recently celebrated another action-packed year at the Atelier with our annual Summer Show. Students, teachers, Salisbury Studios artists, friends, models and proud mums and dads packed the RQAS Gallery fit to burst as an overripe pomegranate in a Dutch still life on the warm December night, and we had plenty to be pleased about. Brisbane artist and former student of Pietro Annigoni, Lance Bressow, warmly opened the show, regaling us with his best art jokes (‘Surrealism is a load of Bosch’) and imparting wisdom to do with presenting our work. And students were clearly bursting with pride for the work they produced in the past year, judging by the care and attention that went into the framing and presentation of it. The variety and quality of work continues to expand as more and more students begin to explore their own subjects and ideas under the guidance of Nick, Ryan and Scott.
We were all unashamedly pleased to celebrate Scott’s return from Europe and the US, excited to see his drawings from galleries and eager to hear his impressions. Scott presented awards to students who had taken strides themselves, rewarding them with class passes (and eternal glory). The works selected demonstrated the breadth of approaches encouraged in the studio—from sheer drawing prowess to technical investigation; from feats of expression to the construction of personal meaning. While the Atelier encourages a strong focus on technical exercises, observation and long-term application, these practices are intended to build students up to a place where they can make their own aesthetic choices and selectively organise what is in front of them, and the four selected works were singled out for succeeding in this respect.
As explained by Ryan: Andrea’s work Peace evoked what the cast was about, capturing a soft, tranquil mood. Andrea’s composition imaginatively used void and ambiguous shadow coupled with a subtle look, creating an expressive piece with simple elements. Brian’s Still Light under a blue light gave a great sense of light and atmosphere, and was part of a series of paintings in which he explored colour and light relationships. His curiosity pushed him to build a contraption with LED lighting to bring to class to push his investigations to the absolute physical limits. Brian doggedly takes his learning to unprecedented extremes. Samantha’s (that’s me) still life Nausea drew together elements engaged in their own quiet dialogue, exploring meaning through selection and arrangement, with a particularly persuasive handling of yellow paint. Wayne took home the big prize for his drawing Pope Innocent X, judged a solid form drawing—rigorous, labour-intensive, highly rendered and impressively sculptural. Wayne’s drawing stood out as a strong example, and the prize celebrated his discipline and attention to drawing, which the Atelier prizes as the basis for everything else.
The efforts of some of our younger associates were also acknowledged, with prizes going to Anuda and Tess of the Drawing Room for Kids, run in the afternoons at the Atelier by Jacquie. The generously-sized prize packs of pencils and books made the grown-ups undeniably jealous. The Drawing Room was a happy new addition to the Salisbury family during the past year, and we were glad to acknowledge all of Jacquie’s hard work and devotion to her students. With some attentive guidance, these little people have produced some impressive work.
The Atelier welcomed many new students in the past year and we were thrilled that many of them chose to exhibit. Many had already completed some beautiful long-term drawings both from casts and from the model. We even welcomed a new teacher for several months, with Penelope taking over Scott’s classes in his absence, bringing new approaches and expertise into our midst. Other long-term students were sorely missed, their artventures drawing them to all corners of the earth. Brian was (and is) in New York City pursuing more puzzles at the Art Students League under the guidance of Michael Grimaldi and Costa Vavagiakis, as well as at the Bridgeview Academy with Polina Osnachuk. Deevya was busy winning prizes at the Julian Ashton’s annual show in Sydney, having completed some lengthier study there. Earlier in the year she spent some time studying under Anthony Ryder in New Mexico. Scott’s Bale Travelling Scholarship took him to Europe in the months immediately before our Summer Show, where he surveyed the big galleries, but also to the studio of Nicola Verlato in Los Angeles. Corinna spent some time at the Grand Central Academy of Art in New York. Kobi dropped in to Brisbane again during the year, having taken sculpture workshops at the London Atelier of Representational Art. Samantha (me again) took three months out to swan about the Kunsthistorisches and the Belvedere in Vienna. Our community continues to cross-pollinate and deepen our learning experiences.
Friends old and new—thanks for a lovely night and a great year with plenty to celebrate, and here’s to the fun and mind-bending challenges of the new one.