Open Studios at Wimbledon Art Studios ǀ Exhibition review
Established in 1993, Wimbledon Art Studios is London’s largest studio complex. The biannual Open Studios event gives visitors the opportunity to meet the artists in residence and view some of the exciting work that is being created on site.
A visit to the studios provides a very different experience to viewing work in a gallery setting. The spaces are curated by the artists themselves, and while some are presented in the traditional style, with only finished works on show, others are more organic, appearing as if the artist has done nothing more to prepare for the arrival of visitors than to unlock the door and let viewers into their own space, where they are still busily working away.
There are artists at the complex working in every imaginable media, from painting and print to ceramics, sugarcraft and landscape design. With so many beautiful and original pieces, it’s difficult to pinpoint just a few, however, one of the most exceptional studios in this show is that of Hazel Mountford, who has won the BBC’s Wildlife Artist of the Year award for her paintings of British mammals. Mountford’s paintings are incredibly detailed and lifelike, yet her layouts and the way in which she often works on blocks of wood rather than canvas give her pieces a fresh, contemporary, feel.
Other notable painters on show are Henrietta Stuart, who works with oils to create stunning sunlit landscapes, and Charles Rowbotham who paints nightime cityscapes.
The Wimbledon studio complex houses over 227 individual spaces, and walking around often feels like navigating a maze – with exciting rooms to be discovered at every turn. One such unexpected delight is Studio Green, where Regina Al-Habib Nmeir works to create intricate miniature pots, in unusual designs, all featuring green glazes.
As well as fine art, many of the works exhibited in the studios also fall in to the category of craft, and there are plenty of reasonably priced pieces on sale. Danielle Wood’s textile designs are bold and cute and would make perfect gifts, as would many pieces by other designers. A visit to the Open Studios is highly recommended for anyone interested in art, craft, or snapping up a bargain for their home!
Wimbledon Art Studios are open to the public until Sunday 19th May 2013. For further information visit the studios’ website here.