Rural Retreat © Judith Jones, 2020

Intriguing new exhibition marks the first collaboration between Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG) and The London Group.

In Plain Sight: The London Group is an exhibition of major new works from The London Group in a range of mediums including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and film. Each artist in the exhibition has hidden something of their choice in a new piece of work. The aim is to entice gallery visitors to look much harder and closer than usual at each work to detect what is hiding 'in plain sight'.

The London Group was set up in 1913 by thirty two artists including Robert Bevan, Lucien Pissarro and Walter Sickert, with the aim of creating a powerful artist-run group to act as a counter-balance to institutions such as the Royal Academy. The founding group created a unique structure for an organisation, that has gone on to successfully nurture the careers of many of Britain’s best-known artists including: Terry Frost, Barbara Hepworth, LS Lowry and David Hockney among others.

Today, it is a thriving democratic artists’ collective practicing in all disciplines with a full annual events programme in London and beyond. Directed by its artist members, these events aim to offer a serious and alternative perspective to contemporary visual arts in Britain.

Alongside this exhibition is coordinating show: 'Thelma Hulbert and her London Group friends'. With key works from the THG collection and loans of pieces by pivotal London Group members Claude Rogers, William Coldstream and Victor Pasmore, this exhibition explores Thelma's creative friendships, artistic legacy and place within British Art.

Thelma Hulbert exhibited with The London Group in 1938. As her first professional exhibition, this was an important milestone in her career. She also fulfilled an important role within the group as a model and muse. Thelma's friendship with Victor Pasmore is still one of the most prominently remembered facts about her, yet this ground-breaking new research reveals that her relationship with Claude Rogers was more influential.

She showed extensively during her lifetime including a solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. Her work is held in public and private collections worldwide including the TATE and she is featured in the Tate Women Artists book.

This exhibition marks an important research contribution to the life and work of Thelma Hulbert, which will further secure Thelma's artistic legacy and her place in the history of British Art in the 20th Century . It has been made possible through a research collaboration between Tim Craven of The London Group and independent researcher, Deborah Smith.

Tim Craven of the London Group said,

This project has been a fascinating journey into a corner of a hitherto forgotten episode of The London Group’s history. It shines a spotlight onto the group’s original mission to promote and encourage artists early in their careers. The London Group’s legacy of championing innovative art and artists independently from 1913 to the present is one of its great and enduring successes. By combining an historic element with work by contemporary members, we hope visitors to the exhibition will gain an enriched understanding of The London Group’s longevity and raison d’être.

Judith Jones, co-organiser of the exhibition commented,

The concept for this show intrigued me. Like many artists much more is hidden within my work than is immediately obvious to the viewer. In particular, images from my Twilight series that examine the border between the outside and inside, and the contrasts of private and public spaces often reveal spaces that are hidden in daylight. I wish to ask the viewer to consider psychological aspects such as exclusion and isolation, fear and uncertainty. These abstract concepts aren’t immediately obvious and it is the viewer’s interpretations and interactions with the work that draw out concepts hidden beneath the surface - they are hidden within plain sight.

In Plain Sight: The London Group & Thelma Hulbert and her London Group Friends
27 August - 30 October 2021

Thursday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm

Coordinating programme:

28 August, 2-3pm 'History of The London Group' talk with Tim Craven, followed by Private View, 3-5pm.

Art After 1950 - lecture series with art historian John Francis
8 September, 10.30–12.00: Art in Advertising
15 September, 10.30–12.00 : Landscape tradition
22 September, 10.30–12.00: Expressionism
6 October, 10.30–12.00: The Art of Protest
13 October, 10.30-12.00: John Francis in conversation with Tim Craven of The London Group and independent researcher Deborah Smith
£10 per talk (£8 concessions - students/THG Friends) Book a ticket

THG's Creative Cabin will be out and about delivering art activities, events and talks including a series of 'Health & Creativity' workshops with London Group artist Judith Jones and Devon Recovery Learning Community (DRLC)