New English Art Club – 2018 Exhibition

Apartment 31 by Andrew Holmes

The New English Art Club (NEAC), established in 1886, is part of the Federation of British Artists and they are currently holding their annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. The show represents members’ work along with up to one hundred non-member submissions chosen from over two thousand entries. Member artists and the submitted works encompass many different techniques in various mediums and the exhibition provides the visitor with an interesting and diverse collection to view.

On the website, they say:

“The New English Art Club is a group of around ninety professional painters whose work is based principally upon direct observation of nature and the human figure. We aim to foster excellence in all our activities and continue to assist and encourage the art of painting to develop even more expressive possibilities.

Our Annual Exhibition is a showcase for our members and gives aspiring artists an opportunity to be seen alongside some of the best figurative artists painting today.”

Over the past 18 months, Andrew has been exploring how we assimilate the divergence of information that we receive through so many media outlets, all promoting differing opinions and agendas. These influences can include: an obsession with celebrity status, fashion, luxury and wealth, but equally, everyday needs and desires, implications of political choices or even, desperate images of natural disaster. Alongside this, we see remarkable new discoveries and extraordinary achievements. Andrew initially decided to paint a collection inspired by found pieces as backgrounds for some of his figurative work.

Apartment 31 started out as a study piece painted on paper in 2017, which Andrew then decided to submit to the NEAC as a stand alone piece. The member judges alter each year and so the work they select will vary accordingly which means that each annual show will offer a different dynamic. However, the group’s aim continues to be based on a strong appreciation for enquiry and observation and this clearly provides incentive for that further development.

Holmes – Apartment 31 76cm x 56cm – oil on paper

In regard to Andrew’s painting – Apartment 31 – he discovered that a large amount has been written over the years about the “aestheticization” of ruins. Critical studies discuss the obvious historical, socio-political points of landmark sites, with fascinating accounts documenting, for example, the fall of Rome.  Throughout the centuries, accounts of these have, in particular, ‘framed’ obsessional levels of landscaping to satisfy fashions such as the “picturesque movement” and as a consequence, follies were imagined and built to recreate this love for such nostalgia.

Now, with so many media outlets available, we are regularly being exposed to images of both natural and sadly man-made destruction – in areas of conflict and war, entire cities and their populations have been impacted. Seeing the demolished buidings, the derelict communities and the desolation of peoples lives then broadcast all over the world. This turmoil has not unfolded over decades or centuries but within a matter of days, weeks or months at most and the information is fed back with the all the immediacy that modern media technology provides. In this, lies a concern that with the abundance and regularity of such brutal imagery, our emotional responses no longer react or relate – the impact doesn’t alarm us and we are becoming increasingly impervious to these sights.

In Apartment 31, the floor levels appear to have folded in layers, leaving twisted steelwork dangling precariously and yet these look more like threads attached to pieces of card. The exposed rooms – seemingly empty of any evidence of everyday life – as the monotonous, grey concrete dust coats and flattens any traces of what used to exist or of who resided here – leaving only a barren monochromatic scene.

Andrew is currently exploring the use of employing more abstracted language in examining how this can alter our experience and our initial and emotional perception.

Holmes – Apartment 31 76cm x 56cm – detail

As our concept of these complicated socio-political issues become increasingly abstract, it’s clearer to see why modern representational art can often achieve more impact by employing a more abstracted vocabulary.

An excellent example of this is in Robert Motherwell’s abstract documentation – ‘elergies to the Spanish republic’ – where he documents his experiences of the Spanish civil war.

Levy Gorvy Gallery – 2015 Robert Motherwell’s Elergies to the Spanish republic Exhibition

Please see a link to the Levy Gorvy 2016 Exhibition, together with Stella Paul’s essay on Abstract Expressionism taken from the Met Museum’s Educational Dept site listed below.

Many well known artists, writers, poets and filmmakers have applied their craft to try to engage with these subjects, highlighting the analogous sense of the modern human condition and our fragility.

Andrew Holmes – Mia (after Lely) – oil on panel – 80cm x 60cm

Within the process of further investigating this concept, one piece Andrew painted: Mia (after Lely) – called in to the Columbia Threadneedle Selection in 2017 – included one of his generic figures in the foreground against a darkened background of rubble and collapsed buildings. Andrew has since made some additional alterations and this is now showing on the Singulart website after they approached him to list some pieces earlier this year.

Andrew Holmes -Mia – oil on panel -detail
Andrew Holmes -Mia – oil on panel -detail

The NEAC 2018 annual show runs from 15th to 23rd June at the Mall Galleries in Central London. Andrew was obviously very pleased to hear that his work had been selected and Apartment 31 is in the north Gallery, on an area of wall of other monochromatic pieces and these complement one another well. Members work can be purchased via the NEAC website, (see link below), and enquiries can be made directly to the Mall Galleries for any other pieces.

The Preview last Thursday was very well attended with an excellent introductory speech from Sir David Clementi – chairman of the BBC. The club run an active and varied education programme, they award two scholarships each year and offer continued support and valuable opportunities for artists and collectors alike.

The NEAC 2018 Annual Exhibition runs from Jun15th -23rd and to preview the work showing this year or to visit the NEAC website please see:


To visit Andrew B Holmes website, please see:


© Andrew B Holmes 2017. All Rights Reserved.





Two Artists’ Previews and an Award

Last week, Andrew attended the Artists’ Previews for the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition at the Mall Galleries, as well as the final selection of works from The National Open Art Competition (NOAC) at The BargeHouse, Southbank.

ING Discerning Art – Artists Preview
Artist, Gavin Turk’s speech and awards at the NOAC 2017

Both exhibitions include works from a broad range of mediums and this definitely adds to their dynamics, providing the visitor with a rich and varied experience, and we were pleased to see that both previews were very well attended.

At the Discerning Eye Exhibition, if successful in getting work accepted, one can then look forward to visiting and discovering which selector has chosen the pieces and how these are displayed. It is always intriguing and, this year, two sketches, ‘Taya’ and ‘Auba’, were selected by one of the collectors, Ellen Bertrams whilst the artist, Anne Magill, chose Andrew’s piece ‘Untitled figure (sketch 01A)’.

ING Discerning Eye – selection from Art Critic – Ellen Betrams
ING Discerning Eye – Selection from Artist – Anne Magill

Interestingly, Discerning Eye are one of the few shows who do not advise the artists of any awards prior to the exhibition, therefore, Andrew was equally surprised and delighted to discover that his ‘Study of Taya’ had been selected for the ‘London and South East Regional Prize’.  He’s extremely honoured to have had his work chosen from so many very accomplished pieces.

Taya sketch- Oil on paper – 41cm x 31cm SOLD

Inevitably, the diversity of work provides an inspiring environment. The artists enjoy meeting up at these events: the chance to celebrate all their hard work – often undertaken in isolation – allows for an exchange of experiences and much discussion on the work, the process and their frustrations!  It is a great opportunity to encourage the further development of their skills and ideas.

The paintings Andrew has been exhibiting in these two shows are representational studies of individual subjects. Each piece is based on his intuitive observations where he explores these ideas in the application and painting techniques. On close inspection, the hand of Andrew’s work is evident in all these paintings. However, where the execution is looser and less finished in the study pieces – shown here in his human figurative work – by their nature these become more enigmatic. Andrew hopes to achieve an ambiguity in the sketches; his aim is to examine our initial reactions to any of his figurative work. How we view aesthetic elements and respond differently are key elements in Andrew’s process which he constantly refers back to, in particular, considering the role of context.

The 21st NOAC venue this year is fabulous. Laid out over several floors, each space has an individual style and the excellent hanging of pieces most certainly deserves a mention. Alongside the show they are running a range of very interesting events and workshops throughout the week. Andrew’s ‘Lemon Meringue’ is beautifully displayed alongside ‘Pear’ by Tif Hunter, ‘Dusk I and II’ by Grace Ayson, ‘Forest Trail 1’ by Belinda Bailey and two small oil painting on boards by Fiona Bradford to name just a few, but there really is so much more to see here.

Andrew Holmes painting of ‘Lemon Meringue’ shown hanging in Room 7 at the BargeHouse Gallery

A particularly special element of the NOAC is the Under 16’s category. There are few opportunities for this age group to participate alongside the major shows and the artwork selected is quite remarkable, beautifully observed and utterly charming.

NOAC Small selection of Under 16’s Category
‘Pearl’ by Molly Bulmer aged 12 yrs and ‘Tiger’ by Claudia Scholes aged 4 yrs.

The Graduate Prize went to Harriet Fawcett for her Photographic piece ‘Ersatz 2017’, a focus on the decline of the bumblebee and this was very well deserved.

Entrance to each of these venues is free and they are well worth visiting as the work available to view has been selected by panels of accomplished artists, gallerists, collectors and critics, and is easily comparable with the exhibits in the RA Summer Show – a view supported by the critic, Simon Tait (please see links below).

However, there are only a few days remaining to visit these exhibitions as the two shows will be closing at 5pm on Sunday 26th November.

For Further information please see –

For Ing Discerning Eye Exhibition 2017:

Video Link

For The 21st National Open Art Competition (NOAC)

To visit Andrew B Holmes website, please see:


© Andrew B Holmes 2017. All Rights Reserved.


The Discerning Eye Exhibition – 2017

The selection process for this year’s Discerning Eye Exhibition is now complete and Andrew is delighted that he will have three new paintings included in the show. Sponsored by ING, this is a show of small works in various mediums and is always very exciting.

All three pieces to be included in this year’s hanging represent more of Andrew’s figurative work; an area within which he is keen to further develop fresh ideas and techniques.

Taya sketch- Oil on paper – 41cm x 31cm SOLD

It is always a daunting prospect for an artist to offer up their paintings for judgement in the public sphere. However, as mentioned in previous posts, submitting work into a show can, in fact, be a useful tool for an artist to gauge reaction, and where this exhibition differs is that the broad variety of curators also put together their own individual selections further contributing to the  show’s vibrancy and variation.

sketch 01A – Oil on paper – 41cm x 31cm

Andrew wanted these new works to be muted and uncomplicated. The more monochromatic approach of these images simplifies the decision-making process; where he can focus on the application of the paint, the marks and the tone and by using a limited palette, Andrew is able to concentrate more on the physical aspect of painting.

The Exhibition takes place in November at the Mall Galleries in Central London.

On their website, Discerning Eye says:

“The Discerning Eye annual exhibition is a show of small works independently selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics. […]

The selectors choose both publicly submitted works and works by personally invited artists. Each selector’s section is hung separately to give each its own distinctive identity. The impression emerges of six small exhibitions within the whole. […]

The open submission provides an unusual opportunity for works by lesser-known artists to be hung alongside contributions from internationally recognised names. Each selector is solely responsible for their own selection, not by committee and are required to select at least 25% of their section from the open submission.”

Auba – oil on paper – 41cm x 31cm

This year’s selectors are:

Artists: Elmo Hood and Anne Magill, Collectors: Ellen Bertrams and Miranda Richardson and Critics: Nicola Coleby and Simon Tait.

The 2017 Discerning Eye Exhibition will be open to the public from Thursday 16 November until Sunday 26 November, between 10am and 5pm daily, at the Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1. Admission will be free and all the works will be for sale.

We now have to wait for the show to open in November to find out who has selected Andrew’s work for their wall in this year’s exhibition.

For more information regarding the Discerning Eye Exhibition,

please see:

To visit Andrew B Holmes website, please see:


© Andrew B Holmes 2017. All Rights Reserved.






21st National Open Art Exhibition – 2017

Andrew is very pleased to hear that a still life he painted earlier this year – ‘Portrait of a Lemon Meringue’  – is to be included in the NOA, (National Open Art), 2017 Exhibition.

Professional and amateur artists aged 15 and over have submitted works in a variety of mediums and each entry has been judged anonymously, making the competition one of the most democratic in the UK and Ireland operating today.

Overall, this exhibition has a strong contemporary style. However, more conventional pieces sit well within the show.  This diversity in the range of works selected provides an interesting view on where the process of combining traditional techniques with a more explorative approach can offer new ideas. Bridging these areas of study has always held Andrew’s interest, when developing his abstract, figurative and still life pieces.

Portrait of a Lemon Meringue – 60cm x 60cm – Framed SOLD

The finalists works will now go on to be exhibited in the 21st National Open Art Exhibition at The Bargehouse Galleries, Oxo Tower Wharf on Southbank in London this Autumn.

The Oxo Tower Wharf is an award-winning, landmark building situated on the riverside walkway part of London’s fast moving South Bank and Bankside areas. This vast, untouched four-storey industrial building is a wonderful destination – home to over 30 innovative contemporary design studios, shops, cafés, bars and restaurants with breathtaking river views – and so well worth exploring.

Bargehouse -Oxo Tower

A programme of events will be taking place during the exhibition with collaborations between NOA Vice President Gavin Turk and Deborah Turk’s House of Fairy Tales along with Be Smart About Art, Explore Learning and more to be announced.

The 21st National Open Art Exhibition opens at the Bargehouse Galleries,  Oxo Tower Wharf Southbank London | 17 – 26 November 2017.

To view more of the works in the exhibition, please see:

Andrew Holmes – Portrait of a Lemon Meringue


To visit Andrew B Holmes website, please see:


© Andrew B Holmes 2017. All Rights Reserved.














National Open Art Competition – Winter 2016

The NOA winter 2016 LONG LIST now announced

The first round of judging for this year’s competition was held in London at The Arts Club, Dover Street, on Monday 1 August 2016. 

There are five judges for adult painting, photography and 3 dimensional works: Robin Muir, a photographic historian, former picture editor of Vogue and the Sunday Telegraph Magazine who more recently curated Vogue 100 – A Century of Style for the National Portrait Gallery in London; Fiona Kingsman, former Production Manager with independent film and television who has worked for the Tate Learning department for 10 years; Lorenzo Beleaguer, an art critic, curator and artist who’s been based in London for the last 12 years; Anna Koska, a published professional illustrator of some 25 years, together with the well know painter David Remfry RA, who has had over 60 solo exhibitions in Europe and America including exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

On August 3rd, a shortlist of 500 works was published and Andrew was delighted to hear that girl in black dress — a painting from his studies of Generic Girls —was to be included in this selection.

For the second time the Judges are inviting the world to have their say to choose their favourite shortlisted work in an online vote. The work with the most votes will then be shown in the exhibition alongside the judges’ final selections.

Generic girls
girl in black dress -oil on panel -76cm x 57cm

“One of a group of paintings obliquely examining a formal view of beauty, ’girl in black dress’ is part of this comment on the sensibilities of a secular middle class”.

The World Vote will close on the 29 August 2016 and if you would like to view any of these artworks, please follow this link:

To vote for ‘girl in black dress’:

The Winner and the Prize Winners’ names are to be announced at the Private Views at The Mercers Hall, London on October 27th and 28th, 2016.

Update – 31st August 2016

Andrew is delighted to hear that ‘Girl in Black Dress ‘ has been selected for the final show.

To visit Andrew B Holmes website, please see:


© Andrew B Holmes 2016. All Rights Reserved.


Thompson’s Gallery – Still, Not Static

For the next couple of weeks Andrew Holmes is showing a small group of cake paintings in Marylebone, Central London.

Devon - 51 x 61cm - oil on canvas
Devon – 51 x 61cm – oil on canvas SOLD

‘Still, Not Static’ includes sculptures by  Andrew Lacey, Johannes Von Stumm and Vanessa Pooley, paintings by Peter Kelly, Terence Clarke and Serena Rowe, to name a few. Tony de Wolf’s detailed work is a development of his studies in the techniques of the Flemish Masters and his paintings have hung beside Andrew’s work in other still life exhibitions.

Andrew is delighted to have been invited to take part in this show.

Thompson’s Gallery was established in 1982 in Aldeburgh, Suffolk by John and Sue Thompson. In 1991 they expanded with an additional gallery in the West End situated on New Cavendish Street between Marylebone High Street and the renowned medical destination of Harley Street.

The ‘Still, Not Static’ exhibition will continue until the end of January 2016

To visit Andrew B Holmes website, please see:


© AB Holmes 2016, All rights reserved.



Gondolas at the Alexander Gallery

A few Classic views of Venice are now exhibiting in Bath over the coming months.

Gallery owner Peter Slade recently commissioned more work featuring Venice for his winter show and he dropped by to collect four new paintings from Andrew earlier this week.

Gondolas and mooring posts - oil on canvas - 60cm x 80cm
Gondolas and mooring posts – oil on canvas – 60cm x 80cm

When revisiting a subject, Andrew’s approach is to bring together new ideas developed in other areas he studies to his current work.

The exercise of exploring alternative subjects can expand and refresh the mind. This provides an opportunity to review and investigate both the way Andrew advances newer paint techniques, whilst considering the objectives of earlier interpretations.

evening return - oil on canvas 60 x 80cm
evening return – oil on canvas 60 x 80cm SOLD

Within the larger and more traditional pieces the informal areas of paint often achieve more clarity and is a source Andrew will then go on to develop in abstract form.

from Riva degli Schiavoni to San Giorgio Maggiore – oil on canvas – detail – SOLD

Venice overwhelms us with the it’s unique and fascinating atmosphere. In the smaller painting waking gondolas – below, Andrew’s composition discernibly shows evidence of his interest with the more abstract frame of reference. This quiet place, set to one side, offers a peaceful, uncomplicated space and by employing a limited palette with less complex brushwork he hopes this study provides the narrative.

waking gondolas - oil on canvas - 38cm x 46cm
waking gondolas – oil on canvas – 38cm x 46cm

To visit Andrew B Holmes website, please see:


© AB Holmes 2015, All rights reserved.