IN 1954 the painter and printmaker, Philip Reeves (born 1931), being interviewed for a post as a lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art, produced a letter of reference from the artist Robert Austin (1895-1973).
Looking at the letter, the school’s director at the time, Douglas Percy Bliss (1900-1984), commented that he could not understand the handwriting but did note that the writer was an RA. Gloucestershire-born Reeves got the job and has made Glasgow his home ever since.
A leading light in the foundation of both the Edinburgh Print Workshop and the Glasgow Print Studio, Reeves is celebrating his 70th birthday this year with two retrospective exhibitions – paintings at the Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh and prints at the Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow – together with an exhibition at the Fine Art Society (148 New Bond Street, W1S 2JT. Tel: 020 7629 5116).
Just opened and continuing until February 22, this show, the artist’s third at the FAS, features some 40 paintings and works on paper spanning 40 years, with prices falling between £1000 and £4000.
Philip Reeves is a member of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (RE), the Society, which, along with the Federation of British Artists (FBA) is responsible for Britain’s largest open print show, the National Print Exhibition. Taking place from February 20 to March 2 at the Mall Galleries (The Mall, SW1. Tel: 020 7930 6844), the event combines the work of established printmakers with that of students and young unknown artists, resulting in a wonderfully eclectic mix. And with many of the prints falling within a price band of around £60-250, affordability is also a welcome factor.
There are some 20 artists’ prizes and awards at the National Print Exhibition, including the Curwen Studio Prize.
Founded in 1958 the Curwen Studio is principally known for its quality lithography printing, producing work by the likes of Ceri Richards, Robert Colquhoun, Lynn Chadwick, Barbara Hepworth and David Hockney.
Curwen Gallery (4 Windmill Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 2HZ. Tel: 020 7636 1459) was set up by the Studio in 1965 and, although they have been separate companies since 1989, they still retain strong business ties, which is reflected in the gallery’s current exhibition, Recent Prints from Curwen Studio. Running through to February 23 it comprises a selection of lithographs and screenprints (£100-400) by, among others, Peter Blake (born 1932), David Ferry (born 1957), Thomas Newbolt (born 1951) and Kyffin Williams (born 1918).
Running concurrently is a showing of Ruth Martin’s (born 1955) bright coloured acrylics (£850-2100).