ARC critique group

by Chantal

Last night I went along to the artists’ critique group in Portsmouth for the first time. The group provides a monthly forum for practicing artists to discuss their work with their peers.

Last night Vidya Wolton presented her work for discussion. Painting is a major part of her practice but last night as well as two painted canvases she bought along a series of handmade card boxes and booklets which had been painted and drawn on. For me it was these boxes, crafted out of “low-tech” materials, that had the real draw. The designs varied from the very graphical to more romantic depictions of nature but they all had a sense of immediacy, spontaneity and uncensored workmanship. This combined with the materials themselves gave them an appealing sense of lightness and play. I haven’t got a picture of the boxes unfortunately but below is one her paintings.

Sparkler, Vidya Wolton

Sparkler, Vidya Wolton

Last night really showed me how invaluable interaction with other artists is as opposed to working in isolation. The presenting artist has an opportunity to road test their work out of the studio and receive feedback, while the other artists get to expand their own work perspectives. It was wonderful to spend a couple of hours discussing a specific work and it felt a privilege to share in another artist’s work process. I look forward to next month!

The critique group is one of the services run by ARCwhich is a fantastic resource centre for creative practitioners. ARC is based at ASPEXgallery in Portsmouth and as well as the crit group, offers one to one mentoring surgeries, networking events and talks, symposia, and a resource centre. If you are interested in finding out more about the critique group or ARCS other services email