Life Drawing Performance in a French Restaurant in Soho - FAD Magazine

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Life Drawing Performance in a French Restaurant in Soho

Life drawing tends to be a very private experience. It is either executed in the confinements of an artist studio or in art classes. You either participate as an artist or model or you are out. The excentric French restaurant L’Escargot, based in Soho, in a collaboration with the duo curatorial team of Magdalena Moursy and Hugo Wheeler of Transparent Platform aims to address that.

An Evening Soiree is a new bi-monthly live art dining event designed to promote emerging artists covering different art disciplines. Kicking off last Thursday 7th April, this series of dinners want to immerse the spectator in the piece being created, this is achieved with transparency – the audience will be wined and dined by L’Escargot whilst viewing this process of creation. After three hours of intense work by the artists, the audience is invited to join an informed discussion about the artists’ progress and technique hosted by a guest critic or art influential.


An Evening With Stephanie at L’Escargot. Photograph of the performance.

Last week’s event: An Evening with Stephanie was narrated by independent art consultant and Director of the National Print Gallery, Clive Jennings. He is currently curating an exhibition of Bacon’s drawings from the Estate of Francis Bacon at the Herrick Gallery in Mayfair. The evening was the first of the series and welcomes Eleanor Johnson and Venetia Berry, two emerging artists both academically trained to explore the human condition through the painted portrait. Working with transgender model Stephanie, the artists are given the unique opportunity to develop their creative practice in front of an intimate audience. It intends to generate a fully immersive and multi-sensory experience.

As Venetia Berry says:

“Transparent Platform will be a very interesting and challenging experience for me as an artist. Turning my usual long hours in the studio by myself on its head with a three-hour time limit and an audience will take me completely out of my comfort zone and push me into the deep end. One of my main difficulties as an artist is knowing when to stop. I hope that this controlled time frame pressurises me to create an exciting and thought provoking painting.”

After completing a summer course in 2012 at Charles H Cecil Studios in Florence, Venetia Berry decided to give up her place at the University of Bristol to read politics and follow her creative flare. Venetia studied at Leith School of Arts, Edinburgh for two years and is currently undertaking study at the Royal Drawing School on the Drawing Intensive Year. Alongside this, Venetia is working on portrait commissions from her studio in Brixton.

Working in oil, Venetia exploits the clarity and precision in colour and three-dimensional form that the medium enables to valorise the sense of the subject’s likeness. Conversely, Venetia aims to find the perfect balance between precise detail and a lost image, leaving the work open to interpretation and making the painting a personal experience.


An Evening With Stephanie at L’Escargot – Eleanor Johnson while painting the portrait. Courtesy the artist.

Eleanor Johnson is currently studying History of Art at University College London after completing a foundation course in Fine Art at City and Guilds of London Art School. Eleanor recently had her first solo exhibition in Shoreditch, and has exhibited in galleries around Oxfordshire. Her portraits explore the growing disconnection we may feel from each other – as technology separates us, whilst it paradoxically works on speeding up connection. Eleanor’s work challenges the artificial imagery used to portray ourselves and her portraits reveal the process and effects of time, looking at the transience of life, and death.

For more information about Transparent Platform events, please visit http://lescargot.co.uk/news/details/transparent_art/


Naked Portrait by Venetia Berry painted on another occasion. Courtesy the artist.



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