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.


Mall Galleries – new online gallery

For many years The Mall Galleries have actively supported both established and emerging artists offering a wonderful space in Central London where various exhibitions take place.

More recently they have set up a new online gallery to showcase many of the regular contributors to their exhibitions and we were delighted to have been invited to have some of Andrew Holmes’ works included. He submitted a few paintings from his studies of bathers and dogs in water and below are a couple of examples their curator selected.

boy bathing IV – Oil – 40cm x40cm
Sunday – Oil – 50cm x 50 cm

Home to the Federation of British Artists, (FBA),  the Mall Galleries space is very well designed and in a fabulous location in the heart of Central London – situated on the Mall – next to Admiralty Arch and Trafalgar Square, opposite St James Park and with stunning views down the Mall to Buckingham Palace, across to Westminster and the London Eye.

The variety of exhibitions held at the Mall Galleries showcase traditional techniques along with more contemporary and dynamic works. They provide helpful advice and an informed service for collectors, together with valuable support for artists.

dog carrying stick – oil on board – 40cm x 40cm

To visit the Mall Galleries website, please see:

and to view Andrew Holmes works , please see:

For further information, please see:

 To contact Andrew:

© AB Holmes 2017, All rights reserved.

Royal Institute of OiI Painters – 2016 Exhibition

AB Holmes – searcher, Oil on Panel, 40cm x 50cm

Opening next week at the Mall Galleries in Central London, the Royal Institute of OiI Painters (ROI) will be showing this year’s selection of members’ paintings  together with just over one hundred pieces chosen from the open submission to be included in the exhibition. The selections were made earlier in the autumn.

Andrew Holmes’s painting of a bather – searcher – will be showing in this year’s selection and we were delighted to receive this notification. The Mall Galleries offers a wonderful exhibition space, benefitting from recently refurbishment including a raised ceiling and lighting system which provides visitors an excellent opportunity to view the artworks at their best. To add to the experience, the gallery is located in a most beautiful area of London.

It’s always lovely to have an excuse to drop by and especially to enjoy the stunning christmas lights London has on display at this time of the year. However, we’re particularly looking forward to visiting the Preview on the evening of the 29th, as we will be joined by good friends, artists Aldo Balding and Sarah Spence, who also have paintings selected to be in the exhibition.

To view Aldo’s painting please see:

Sarah has two paintings in this exhibition, please see:

The ROI is a long established Art Institution with many well-known artists listed in their membership and this exhibition allows the members to further engage with and encourage new artists. They say:

“The Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition has a well earned reputation for attracting highly exciting young exhibitors, alongside the much admired, more established member artists. This year the trend will continue, with new artists and new discoveries waiting to be made.

The exhibition is open from November 30th to the 11th of December gives visitors the opportunity to see the many and varied ways in which artists use oil paint today, from a traditional approach to this highly technical media through to more innovative uses of material, style and content.”

For more information regarding all the artwork showing over the following 10 days please see:

AB Holmes-searcher, Oil on Panel, 40cm x 50cm
AB Holmes-searcher, Oil on Panel, 40cm x 50cm – SOLD

To visit Andrew B Holmes website, please see:


© Andrew B Holmes 2016. All Rights Reserved.


An Exhibition of Small Works – ING Discerning Eye 2016

Untitled AP12 (White head and dress)

The selectors of Andrew Holmes’ paintings showing in this years Discerning Eye Exhibition were finally revealed at the Artists Preview evening on Thursday the 17th November. Two pieces of work by Andrew were chosen to be included, each by the two artists who were on the selectors panel: Dan Coombes and Chris Orr, RA.

Andrew’s painting; Untitled AP12 (White head and dress), features on Chris Orr’s pages in the catalogue next to Gormley’s Dog by Michael Barrett and Helen Davidson’s Little Sprats (Great White) – an excellent example of how different styles can sit so well together. Please see:

This years exhibition includes the largest selection of artworks ever accepted. Out of over two thousand submitted works, there were a total of seven hundred and twenty-four pieces by four hundred and three artists exhibited.  So the Gallery was ‘packed to the gunnels’ with artists and visitors. Although difficult at times to stand back to view the overall hanging, because the size of any submitted piece was limited, this allowed most work enough access to view individually.

ING Discerning Eye Exhibition Preview
ING Discerning Eye Exhibition Preview

We may also try to make a second visit when a little quieter!

Dan Coombes selected only one piece from any artist and he made an engaging speech, stressing the importance of the inclusive approach this exhibition has and so Andrew was very pleased to see Woman in white dress on his wall.

AB Holmes - Untitled AP12 - Oil on Paper - 41cm x 31cm SOLD
AB Holmes – Untitled AP12 – Oil on Paper – 41cm x 31cm SOLD

What was clear about the overall show is how very varied and interesting the artworks were and how well the curation and hanging complimented these.


For further information, please check the ING Discerning Eye 2016 gallery at:

To visit Andrew B Holmes website, please see:


© Andrew B Holmes 2016. All Rights Reserved.


ING Discerning Eye 2016

This exhibition attracts some of the most interesting and varied artworks each year because the selectors are drawn from so many different areas of the art world. The works submitted cover a diverse range and styles, inclusive of the traditional approach but with a strong focus on contemporary pieces.

Andrew was very happy to have been introduced to and invited to exhibit a painting there last year by Steve Pill, Artists and Illustration magazine Editor. Steve was one of the six Discerning Eye judges for 2015 and Andrew’s painting Em Bathing was hung in his selection.

As the deadline drew nearer for the 2016 submissions, Andrew was keen to submit some work to see if these would stand up to the selection process. This can be an extremely useful way to test new ideas and concepts in the ever moving contemporary art world and to gauge how your work is received by a larger audience. Although, some artists are often reluctant to apply, not only due to the costs but because their work can be a very personal reflection and we remind ourselves that whilst it is an honour to be included, a great many excellent paintings, sculptures and photographs can slip past the judges when they have only a short time to make a decision. One key area which holds Andrew’s interest is in the aesthetic, within context, so he finds submitting works is an extremely helpful way to explore this further.

By limiting the size of works for this particular exhibition however, more works can be displayed and with the variety of selectors in many ways it becomes far more inclusive. The result is a show which offers the audience great energy.

This year’s selectors were made up from two established artists; Dan Coombs and Chris Orr RA. The collectors are both well known and very accomplished: actress, Celia Imrie and Ian Mayes QC, alongside Michael Glover and Sacha Craddock, representing the art critics .

Andrew B Holmes Untiltled - oil on paper - 41 x 31cm
Andrew B Holmes Untiltled – oil on paper – 41 x 31cm
AB Holmes - Untitled 02 - Oil on Paper - 41cm x 31cm
AB Holmes – Untitled 02 – Oil on Paper – 41cm x 31cm SOLD

Andrew submitted two paintings in oil on paper which we were very pleased to hear have been successful and will be included in the 2016 exhibition this autumn.

These studies of Girls – which have been discussed briefly earlier this year in his post Andrew B Holmes recent work – make up a larger body of studies and paintings currently being explored in the studio.

Andrew says: “I’m interested in how contextualising any form of art influences our perception of it and, using a formal and uncomplicated approach to place them into an ambiguous context, the paintings of generic young women are my oblique  and generic view of beauty. In working with both figurative and non-representational content, my practice is centred on an interest in the human condition and an inquiry into aesthetic appreciation.”

The link between the more abstract paintings and the detailed works, employing elements of traditional practice, is connecting more as these develop.

We are excited to know who has selected Andrew’s work for their wall but will have to wait to hear further news.

The 2016 ING Discerning Eye Exhibition will be the 25th show and it will open to the public at the Mall Galleries on Thursday 17 November and run until Sunday 27 November 2016. Admission will be free and all works will be for sale.

To visit Andrew B Holmes website, please see:


© Andrew B Holmes 2016. All Rights Reserved.


Discerning Eye 2015

The Discerning Eye annual exhibition is a show of small works opening this week.

Work for this exhibition is selected from open submission and from artists invited by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics. Each individual selector curates work by their invited artists alongside the successful selected submissions. 

Continue reading Discerning Eye 2015