The Brotherhood of Ruralists

Started by FreakAnimalFinland, December 10, 2009, 12:18:18 PM

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Text from wikipedia, underlined so personal key issues by myself:

The Brotherhood of Ruralists is a British art group founded in 1975 in Wellow, Somerset, to paint nature. Their work is figurative with a strong adherence to 'traditional' skills. Painting in oil and watercolour predominate, with mixed media assemblage, printmaking, ink and pencil drawing also being common.

According to one of the founder members, Peter Blake, it was formed "in opposition to the scholarly nature of contemporary art which believed that paintings were only really valid if they addressed social questions. Our aims are the continuation of a certain kind of English painting. We admire Samuel Palmer, Stanley Spencer, Thomas Hardy, Elgar, cricket, the English landscape and the Pre-Raphaelites".[1]

The term Ruralist was coined by the author Laurie Lee, a supporter of the group since their inception. The group was founded when Peter Blake and his then wife Jann Haworth moved to Wellow, having obtained permission to convert Wellow's disused Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway station into a house. Other founding members were David Inshaw and two other couples: Ann Arnold and Graham Arnold, and Annie Ovenden and Graham Ovenden.

Unlike the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the group did not promote (nor adhere to) a manifesto. Each artist's own techniques and work remains diverse with a common evocation of a mystical response to the observance of nature and rural life. Some of their output is intensely personal and sometimes surrealist in arrangement.

After six years the group lost some of its members. By 1984 David Inshaw, Jann Haworth and Peter Blake had left. The remaining four members continue the group, sometimes joined by Blake. They maintain an exhibitions programme both in the West country and London, and are members of the Arts Club. They were guest artists at the Stuckists Real Turner Prize Show 2000.

Recent exhibitions have included work by both present and past members.

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For best Ruralists website:

My first exposure for the group was works of Graham Ovenden. I only knew his work through his extensive interest in Lewis Carroll, several books on Academy Editions, and most of all his notorious lolita fixation what is present in a lot of his works.

"A Ruralist is one who leaves the city for the country - as had the seven artists, who, on 21 March 1975, decided to form the Brotherhood of Ruralists. Each had their own style, yet shared many sentiments and sources of inspiration. A desire to understand and paint the elements of nature was combined with literary and musical influences."

This, in form of embracing natural beauty, was very healthy and interesting dose. It wasn't about all the perversion, corruption and vile reality of the urban life, but something nearly mythical, surreal, but also so natural in approach. Some of the works may appear to be "clumsy", or somehow "unprofessional" compared to the infamous figures in painting, but just like Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, it was aim towards abundant detail, intense colours, and complex compositions. Sometimes the colors of many images appear to be surreal and dreamy. Kind of qualities I look from many pieces of art, which is everything else by simple depictation of reality.  One could compare the modern day digital color photos, as opposed to old technic what allowed even simple things be surrounded by special aura. Have been buying all affordable books of these artists, most of all mr. Ovenden.

Samples easy to find online, just google for more...
E-mail: fanimal +a+ cfprod,com


something slightly related is finnish ITE movement meaning itse tehy elämä or translated into self made life. I read the term a few times in the newspaper in short period of time oh just read the wikithing in whole and it said one translation would be outsider art which is such a buzzword that I dont like it. more of a diy  thing for old farts who didnt know that its already been happening for a while.


yeah, there are lots of these. And perhaps more "outsider art" than most who aim for such scene. Not far away where I live is a man, who had for decades sculpture most obscure human figures. Or actually I think there are couple of them. Not part of the art world, not interested to promote themselves. One friend tried to visit one guy with his whole yard filled with disfigured human form sculptures and he was very shy and unwilling to talk about anything. But obsessively creating new pieces that simply scatter in his yard.

But I think, Ruralists are different that this "outsider art" thing. Ruralists are part of the art world to certain extent. They have a vision, if not a manifest, where art should be taken. They exhibit, publish,.. works are being sold for quite brutal prices in auctions & galleries.

Anyone into paying 500-1000,- per print, could invest for Graham Ovenden lolita artworks. Kind of typical Ruralist theme of nymph / alice / mythical pure nature reference. His early 70's works.  (under Goldmark gallery, UK)

It would be nice to know what Ruralist are currently doing, but they are still very low profile and Ovenden is reaching close to 70.. So I guess perhaps most active times of painting is behind??
E-mail: fanimal +a+ cfprod,com