The South West Academy Annual Exhibition 2014 and book launch

Jun 7, 2014


The book evolved from a superb series of photographs, biographical and observational notes made by Michael Carter over the course of many months of visits to his fellow academcians. This body of work was to form the core of a highy regarded exhibition, The Lens and the Easel, shown at the Ariel Centre in Totnes, Devon, during the Spring of 2013.

'This book is a celebration of the lives and work of the artists of The South West Academy. Collected here is some of the best of the Academy's art alongside Michael Carters portraits of the Academicians and his personal accounts of his visits to their studios. Together with Alan Fynn's history this richly illustrated book offers a complete and vivid picture of the private and public face of the Academy. With these sumptuous pages of paintings, sculpture and photography this book is a significant land mark in the story of the Academy and also a splendid permanent gallery for the artists.'

Professor Alan Cotton, Hon D. Litt (Exeter), FRSA, SWAc

'Founded at the turn of the century the artist-members of the Academy follow in the illustrious footsteps of those celebrated groups who, while often lacking formal structure, joined together for the purposes of mutual support and fellowship - a meeting of minds that inspired and encouraged individual creativity, or furthered a more original vision of art than that of the mainstream.

In the Westcountry these included the internationally renowned Newlyn and St Ives Schools, colonies of artists drawn together by both practical considerations and by the elements of landscape and quality of light that gave their work a cohesive identity while yet maintaining recognisable identity. Mindful of this diverse historical context the first ambition of those who founded the South West Academy may have varied widely, but it was ultimately a single vision that prevailed.

As the title of the book suggests, South West Academy: Art, People, Place establishes the importance of the Academy within the wider social and artistic context of the region. Michael Carter's superb photographs and impressionistic pen portraits of each artist, combined with the story of the Academy's successful annual Open Exhibtions, its work with schools and with young artists, provide a compelling study of the vitality of the artistic community in the South West. Here the reader is able to share both in celebrating the best work of these artists but also in acknowledging the importance of art, and those who make art, in all our lives today.'

Simon Butler, FRSA, Halsgrove Publishing 2014

Further information about the Academy and its publication may be found here