When you think of watercolour, you might imagine detailed depictions of animal and plant life, or sweeping landscapes — in general, all things pretty. The consensus is that, as a medium, watercolour brings a freshness to a painting but lacks the weight to portray grittier subject matter.
Art of the Real is a show that begs to disagree. The four featured artists paint scenes that you wouldn’t associate with watercolour such as close-ups of rusting metal doors and heavy machinery. It’s refreshing to see some experimentation in this pigeon-holed genre and it proves that watercolour can express a sense of depth you’d normally only see in an oil painting.
All four artists push the boundaries in their own ways, from David Poxon’s engines through to Denis Ryan’s neon signs that capture the essence of city life. Of the other two artists, Sandra Walker paints immaculately detailed sections of buildings while Angus McEwan contributes paintings of urban run-down areas. Both Poxon and Walker are members of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours who recently had a successful exhibition at the Mall Galleries.
Watercolour is often overlooked as an amateur medium so its great to see it being taken in a new direction by four artists who are trying to break the mould.
Art of the Real is on display at Thompson’s Gallery, 15 New Cavendish Street, W1G 9UB from 13 June to 1 July. Entrance is free.