06 July 2015

SIG: Visual Art

The membership of the Visual Art Group continues to grow towards the

thousand mark. Members are spread throughout the Society’s regions as well

as abroad. The Group is often criticised for being London or South East based.

It is true many of the Group’s committee members are based in this area and

our meetings are mostly held in London but one growing strength over recent

years has been the South West Region Visual Art Group, set up some six years

ago for the primary benefit of members living in Devon and Cornwall.  The

organisers here have regular meetings and events which are well supported.

One of these meetings two years ago was combined with the Autumn weekend

meeting of the whole Group when over 70 participants attended. This was a

great success.

Members in other regions are sometimes heard saying ‘nothing ever happens in

my area’. That is not wholly true as residential weekend meetings are held

twice a year all over the country, including Scotland this year for the first time.

Local members are invited to join in on a daily basis to hear our speakers and

meet visiting members. Regrettably few ever do.

How can this be addressed? We want to be seen doing things for all our

members. Thus, based on the success of the South West group our

committee Chairman, Jay Charnock FRPS, is very keen to set up other local

groups. Discussing this at one of our weekend meetings Andreas Klatt ARPS

took up the challenge and agreed to set up a similar group in his area of the

north Cotswolds. Well situated amid four RPS regions and four or five

counties, it offered the prospect of good support.

Saturday May 30th was the date chosen for an inaugural meeting which

Andreas arranged in the village hall of Long Compton in Warwickshire where

he lives.

A programme was put together with some invited speakers as well as an

invitation for members attending to bring some of their own work. A sample of

the Group’s 2015 exhibition would also be on show. Members in the Thames

Valley and Central regions were notified directly, details were shown on the

Group’s website and the event was advertised locally. Some 40 participants,

including an encouraging number of non-members, responded from a wide area

around the venue and gathered on the appointed day.

After the opening welcome to the meeting, Linda Wevill FRPS was the first

speaker telling how the South West Region VAG was formed and then showing

some DPIs from a number of its members. Second came Ray Spence FRPS

who, with a keen interest in old processes, introduced us to Ambrotypes.

Going further back in time, Dr Barrie Dale, illustrated how photography

relates to the history of art, from the cave wall to the present day. Having gone

back 30,000 years into dark caves, it was interesting to realise photography

itself only really came out of the dark some 30 years ago with the arrival of the

digital age.

After lunch, Ray Spence, a member of the Fellowship Board and Distinctions

Advisory Board, gave much advice on how to approach forming a panel for

submission on all three levels. L, A and F entries were discussed, based on

successful panels brought in by members.

All too soon it seemed it was half past four and time to bring the meeting to a

close but not before some discussion ensued on what the new Group should

be known as. It was agreed not to align it with a specific RPS Region or

County as it would be open to all members and non-members. Following a

survey of those attending it will now be known as the The Rollright Visual Art

Group. Why?, I hear you say. The name comes from a nearby site of standing

stones relating to folklores of witchcraft and dark art in this area near Long

Compton – precursors of photography to be sure!

Andreas, Jay and I considered the day a great success and worthy of being built

upon with further meetings. Referring again to the survey three or four

meetings a year seemed popular so, a second meeting has been arranged for

Saturday 22nd August at the same venue. Full details will be found on the

Group’s website and all attendees at the first meeting will be individually

informed. A programme is being produced.

Finally I must thank all those concerned with promoting and running the day;

Andreas, Jay and Robert Charnock for bringing the two dozen exhibition

prints with a suitable easel (kindly made available by the Richmond &

Twickenham Photographic Society), our speakers for the day and especially

Sue Klatt who masterminded the catering.

The Rollright VAG is wished every success. It is open to all RPS members and

others living in this part of the country.

David J. Wood, ARPS

Vice Chairman

Visual Art Group

Image by David J. Wood, ARPS