Art, above: Esteban Serassio, Delahaye bronze

THE ART OF MOTORING 2019 RAC Art Exhibition

by Tony Clark

This was the 5th year of the exhibition, which has taken place for the last two years at the deluxe surroundings of the Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall, London. The show (28th October to 2nd November) commences the London Motor Week which culminates with the London to Brighton run for veteran cars on the Sunday 3rd November. The show was organised by the same team as previous years with Jane Holmes from the RAC, Andrew Marriott from Pitstop Productions and Rupert Whyte of Historic Car Art. Unfortunately this was Jane’s last year as she is moving on to other opportunities.

The venue was again the Mall Rooms on the first floor level of the Club. This year it seemed as though they had increased the staging to give the feel of more art within the rooms. Possibly there were fewer large paintings which are never at their best in smaller venues. It was an excellent compact exhibition with lots of interest with drawings, paintings and sculptures. The only disadvantage of these rooms is that they are not open to the general public on a walk in basis. Being a private club, one has to make prior arrangements with the RAC to visit.

Jonny Ambrose
Porsche 917 K Front

Simon Britnell
Stand with Lamborghini art prominent

There was an excellent ring bound full colour A4 brochure of some 25 pages giving details of the artists and their work, On the opening of the exhibition the Head of Motoring at the RAC, Jeremy Vaughan welcomed the artists and visitors, saying how pleased the RAC were to be associated with the exhibition. This was reinforced by Andrew Marriott particularly thanking Jane for her work over the last few years.

In total there were sixteen artists exhibiting : Jonny Ambrose, Robin Bark, Simon Britnell, Neil Collins, Paul Dove, Ella Freire, Adam Gompertz, Andrew Hill, Peter Hearsey, David Johnson, John Ketchell, Tim Layzell, Roy Putt, Barry Rowe, Esteban Serassio and Richard Wheatland.

Paul Dove
Mr Jenatzy’s Electric Dream

Adam Gompertz, Ferrari Breadvan (left)
John Ketchell, Small Car Victory

Fifteen artists are UK domiciled; the only overseas artist was Esteban Serassio from Argentina. He together with nine of the other artists were represented by Historic Car Art. Similarly the two AFAS members Peter Hearsey and Barry Rowe had their work entered by Historic Car Art and were not present at the exhibition.

It is always difficult to highlight the work, and impossible in a short space to mention all the artists, but I will mention several pieces which stand out in my memory. The John Ketchell image of the red Renault entitled Small Car Victory was a painting that will be remembered because of its vitalism and also being used as the image for the pre-exhibition publicity. It features the Renault of Marcel Renault during the 1902 Paris to Vienna race. John Ketchell continues to produce some excellent art. I always like a bit of humour in a painting and Roy Putt combines this with a bygone era of grace and sophistication. I just loved his painting of an Austin Healey at a polo field. The new boyfriend is being introduced to other girls whilst polo mallets are flailing in the background. Jonny Ambrose is an artist/sculptor I admire; he works in 3 dimensions with various media for example wood, metal and carbon fibre. Possibly his most effective sculptures are the shadow box images of the front of cars. The art are built up from steam bent strips of wood then sprayed white, being quite small at around 50 x 50 cms These would be even more powerful on a larger scale.

Peter Hearsey
Stand with paintings and etchings

Tim Layzell
Pop art and super realism styles

A painting that really stood out at the exhibition was the Paul Dove work of Jenatzy with his electric car. Some of Paul’s work is a little dark to my taste but this painting really sparkled on his display. AFAS members Peter Hearsay and Barry Rowe both exhibited some excellent art, Peter’s display was principally etchings with two paintings, while Barry displayed several historic themed acrylics on canvas of racing and record breaking I always admire his technique of painting the crowd scenes that gives the feel of an old weathered photograph. The work of Adam Gompertz is relatively new on the automobile art scene. He was a professional designer with MG/Rover and a yacht maker and then joined the church as a Minister. Now in his spare time he is a professional motoring artist. Most of his work is pastel on paper with a very light and soft appearance.

In summary an excellent display by all the artists which was stronger than in previous years. It his hoped that the RAC Club continue Jane’s good organisation and we have an equally successful exhibition next year.

Roy Putt
The New Boyfriend

Barry Rowe
Blue Bird On The Sands