We are lucky to have an amazingly talented and diverse group of artists as members of The Net Gallery. While 2020 has been a difficult year for all artists, many of our members have still been very active and have had the opportunity to publicly exhibit their work, albeit in venues working under social distancing restrictions.
We caught up with two members – Jane French and Selby Hurst Inglefield – to learn more about new pieces they have recently had on show.
Based in Leicester, Jane French is an accomplished figurative artist, specialising in portraiture. French’s recent portrait of the well-known actor, writer and director, Mark Gatiss, was selected for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition 2020 and exhibited at Mall Galleries, London from 16th to 26th September 2020.
Gatiss is an admirer of the 20th Century artist John Minton and French’s portrait is inspired by a painting Minton made of the art critic Neville Wallis. Following the example of Minton’s portrait of Wallis, which is now part of the collection at Brighton Museum and Art gallery, French has depicted Gatiss sitting looking at an artwork (a self-portrait by Minton) surrounded by other works and images. You may spot some references to Gatiss’ TV creations.
French says that the painting took around 50-60 hours to complete – “not including two trips down to London to meet with Mark” – and that depicting the various postcards and other media provided an additional, but rewarding challenge. Not surprisingly, the captivating piece has attracted lots of praise and attention, including being featured in the Sunday Telegraph.
A member of the Contemporary British Portrait Painters (CBPP), work by French features in two exhibitions scanned by The Net Gallery – the Portraits for NHS Heroes virtual exhibition at Fitzrovia Chapel and the Perceptions exhibition at The Space at Cass Art. Virtual walkthroughs of both exhibitions are available to view via the CBPP’s profile page.
A 2019 graduate from Central Saint Martins (UAL) who focuses on textile-based art, Selby Hurst Inglefield was the winner of The Other Art Fair’s inaugural Graduate Art Prize. Despite the difficulties of finding physical exhibition space during the current crisis, she recently succeeded in staging a solo-show,’Back looking through the glass’, at Peak London gallery, a space that was previously a hair salon in the now closed Elephant and Castle shopping centre.
The exhibition included the largest piece Hurst Inglefield has so far created, titled Harmony between selves and measuring 250x150cm. Completed over three months during lockdown, Hurst Inglefield says that, “The piece was a depiction of self and self, based on a writing I did at the start of lockdown about my reaction to the sudden hit of isolation: the two battling with each other, but eventually finding harmony throughout the course of the tricky time alone.”
Talking about the curation of the show and the inclusion of black feathers strewn across the floor, Hurst Inglefield explains: “A lot of the time when I install, I like to bring things out of the piece to display within the space, either pulling on words from the title, or in this case from the imagery. Once I knew the gallery was in an old hairdresser’s, I wanted to try and include my works in a more site-specific way. I decided to use black crow feathers, which links to the two of the pieces – Harmony between selves and Pull your feathers and no-one will know – to try and mimic and recreate cut hair from a haircut. The exhibition also references other quotations, such as ‘shedding your feathers’, to link with the ideas of a new start.”
Scan footage of Hurst Inglefield’s work on show at The Other Art Fair, Victoria House in 2019 – and a video interview with the artist – can be found on The Net Gallery, here.