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Cambridge Drawing Society to stage annual exhibition




Swathed in time by Irene Wilkes, part of the Cambridge Drawing Society exhibition, sourced by Sonia Villiers
Swathed in time by Irene Wilkes, part of the Cambridge Drawing Society exhibition, sourced by Sonia Villiers

Proving that the society’s title can be playfully misleading, around 300 works – from painting and sculpture to printmaking and drawing – will be on display at a private viewing on Friday, April 13, before the exhibition opens to the general public until Saturday, April 21.

Into the Woods by Debbie Baxter, part of the Cambridge Drawing Society exhibition, sourced by Sonia Villiers
Into the Woods by Debbie Baxter, part of the Cambridge Drawing Society exhibition, sourced by Sonia Villiers

Founded in 1882, The Cambridge Drawing Society is the oldest Cambridgeshire art society, attracting professional and amateur artists from within a 30-mile radius. The rigid selection process ensures a high standard of work.

Sonia Villiers, a member of the society since 2008, told the Cambridge Independent: “Once a year it’s in the Pitt Building in the Easter holidays and once a year it’s at The Leys School in the October half-term. It’s a selective exhibition, so once a year people can apply to be a member. That’s in April and we normally get about 30 submissions and about half of them are accepted.

“We have about 200 members and they’re all local artists, and it’s paintings, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, collage – any sort of art form. The name, Cambridge Drawing Society, might put people off by making them think it’s just drawing, but in fact that’s just an antiquated name and we didn’t want to change it because it’s such an old, established art society.

“We keep the name because it’s slightly quirky, rather than just saying The Cambridge Art Society, which is more generic.”

A riot of Colour by Val Pettifer, part of the Cambridge Drawing Society Exhibition, sourced by Sonia Villiers
A riot of Colour by Val Pettifer, part of the Cambridge Drawing Society Exhibition, sourced by Sonia Villiers

Sonia hopes to have some of her own work – which is available to purchase online, as well as in galleries such as Primavera on King’s Parade – on display as well. “We all submit four paintings and my four paintings have to be voted in, so there’s no guarantee they’ll be in,” she said.

“When we invite people to submit work in January, those paintings have to be emailed to the nine people on the selection panel and at least five of them have to say yes. Then, once they’re okayed, the images can be forwarded to me for publicity.”

Originally from Bristol, and then an art college student in London, Sonia’s work includes collages of Cambridge with marble and an image of plastic waste floating in the ocean that she painted a few years ago. “It’s very topical at the moment,” she observed of the latter.

“I did that painting about eight years ago and technically you’re only supposed to enter work that you’ve done in the last year for this exhibition, but I brought it out again because it’s got so topical now – people are much more aware, which is brilliant. It’s got my son, when he was about 14, staring out at all the waste, and the painting’s called ‘The Legacy’.”

A painting by Bernard Stewart-Deane, who will be on display at the Cambridge Drawing Society exhibition at The Pitt Building, sourced by Bernard Stewart-Deane
A painting by Bernard Stewart-Deane, who will be on display at the Cambridge Drawing Society exhibition at The Pitt Building, sourced by Bernard Stewart-Deane

Sonia, a full-time artist and art teacher, concluded: “There are loads of other art exhibitions – it seems like every village nowadays has one – but we’re trying to keep our place at the top of the pile by being selective and being in central Cambridge, and I think it works very well.”

The Cambridge Drawing Society’s exhibition opens daily (including Sunday) from Saturday, April 14 to Saturday, April 21, from 10am to 5.30pm (4pm on the final day).

cambridgedrawingsociety.org

soniavilliers.net



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