Clocktower exhibition has broad brush approach to local talent

The Croydon Art Society was recently named national arts club of the year.
KEN TOWL went along to their annual exhibition at the Clocktower and found out why

Apprehension. Or Theresa May

There is a portrait in the Croydon Art Society’s exhibition that looks like Theresa May.

At least, Bernadette Khan, the Mayor of Croydon, thought so when she opened the show at the Clocktower in Katharine Street.

I had heard from a source close to Anthony Waldbaum, the artist, that the model for the painting was in fact an unknown person who had appeared in the background of a family photograph. He had been taken by the look of preoccupation in her face and had tried to capture it in oils. Having seen the painting, I think Madam Mayor’s error was understandable. The work, entitled Apprehension, seems to capture that desperate look of an embattled Prime Minister in the midst of the chaos that is the Brexit process.

Among the usual portraits and landscapes and animals, there are some interesting works and many of them are still for sale. The much-admired polar bear had an orange sticker next to it, so that’s gone; other animal pictures are still available.

Art is a subjective thing, and you will make your own judgement, but I was particularly taken by some of the works. Julia Nolan’s Fireman 104 stood out and bore close examination. It is not surprising it was so good, I thought, given that the title implied she had had 103 previous goes at it.

Fireman 104, by Julia Nolan

The precise brushwork of “Kenneth Head SGFA” (who is presumably a member of the Society of Graphic Fine Art rather than the St George Football Association), has resulted in a quite stunning watercolour depiction of the church of Santa Maria delle Salute in Venice. It is a snip at £150.

Putney Embankment, by Philip Sadler

Another traditional work is Philip Sadler’s Putney Embankment, a rather painterly work in oils that looks (in a good way) as if it was painted two hundred years ago.

Jennifer Arnold’s work, Gardens in Winter, reminded me of the impressionism of Camille Pissarro. It is quite literally impressionist; you can feel the cold of winter as you look at it.

The palpable chill that I felt reminded me of a time some years ago when I had seen Theresa May when she was Home Secretary address a group of school students.

Gardens in Winter, by Jennifer Arnold

When she walked into the room the temperature seemed to drop. It turns out we have an impressionist Prime Minister.

There are other works that might appeal to you, too, but there is only so much space to write about them. Why not drop in some time and see for yourself?

The 129th annual Croydon Art Society Exhibition at the Croydon Museum gallery and foyer at the Clocktower is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10.30am until 5pm, until Saturday December 8. Entry is free.

HELP THE HOMELESS THIS WINTER: Donate clothes or washroom items to Shakespeares’ special appeal. Full details here


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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