The new exhibition Modern Masterpieces of Botanical Art at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew Gardens is very definitely a LANDMARK exhibition of contemporary botanical art - and one woman's dedication and commitment. It's significant in size and scope and is very impressive to the point of being quite overwhelming.
I'm very happy to highly recommend it to all those interested in botanical art and/or watercolour painting and/or plants and nature in general.
I think it's the first time in the 11 year history of the gallery that the entire gallery has been given over to paintings from The Shirley Sherwood Collection. Normally exhibitions on a theme have been a mix of artwork (and/or other items) from the Kew Collection and the Shirley Sherwood Collection.
However, this exhibition is rather different. It celebrates
As such this exhibition has a much more personal feel. It's also organised by geographical area - in terms of where the artists live rather than where the plant comes from - with notes from Dr Sherwood about how she met artists in the different countries - which provides insight into how the collection developed over time.
(Note: It struck me that it would be interesting to see another exhibition - with artwork organised by plant family. I don't think we've had one since The Art of Plant Evolution).
I've never ever seen so many artworks in the galleries - and one senses from the number of artworks in the exhibition that it's been very difficult to prune the list of artworks that Dr Sherwood wanted to include in the exhibition!
The net effect is that the exhibition is quite overwhelming - meaning it takes quite a long time to get round and do it justice!
This is only an overview. As I was walking around I very quickly decided that it would be absolutely impossible to do it justice in one blog post/review. Over lunch at the Pavilion Restaurant I tried to work out what to do. I've decided to repeat what I did with the lists of the artists whose work is on display - and do each gallery and geographical area in turn.
As a minimum (i.e. there may be more!), I will review each gallery exhibition in turn - one country or continent each week. I'm not quite sure of the order yet - maybe the one I followed as I viewed the exhibition late last week. For the record:
I was very fortunate that I knew what works were in the exhibition before I walked through the door. That's because I'd been sent the list of artists and artworks in advance. I can tell you that the artworks in the book exceed those in the exhibition. Even so, there's a big difference between working your way through a list - and then seeing all the artwork from a country or continent there in one gallery!
At the end there is a list of my posts about the artists who have work in the exhibition which I've been posting recently. They're worth a read - there are some very diverse backgrounds!
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