Oxford, the new bohemia? The Oxfordians found inspiration in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Launching a new group, The Oxfordians, unabashed bohemianism is back in the great University city. Two artists: George Oak & Bethany Meyer
Forget pickled sharks and unmade beds – a new wave of Romanticism is bringing red ringlets and unabashed bohemianism back to the art world.
Calling themselves “the Oxfordians” these artists draw their inspiration from the sensual glamour found in the art of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his colleagues in the notorious Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
The group centres on artists George Oak and Bethany Meyer, each of whom takes a different message from their artistic heroes. Oak’s work will strike a chord with anyone who’s seen the work of Rossetti: long red locks of hair and the delicate treatment of light welcome viewers into a world of unabashed sexuality. Meyer invites us into a world of equestrian elegance, her wild stallions cantering across rivers are a delight to behold.
“As an artist you can’t help but feel inspired when you look at the work of someone like Rossetti,” Oak says. Rossetti was famous for his often risqué relationships with the so-called “stunners” who modelled for him, including Elizabeth Siddal, Jane Morris, and the working-class Fanny Cornforth, whose introduction into educated society by the artist was seen as a shocking act of transgression.
Like the Pre-Raphaelites, so connected with drugs and alcohol, rumours are bound to fly around the Oxfordians. Oak in particular makes thinly-veiled references to having lived on the edge, before painting gave him a new focus. Whether it’s just the self-mythologising so beloved of rock’n’roll artists, or the real deal, viewers can decide for themselves.
The Oxfordians’ work will be on display around the country in shows organised by their representatives at Oxford’s new Herbert Boobyer Gallery.
The works will be shown at Meller Merceux Gallery, 105 High Street, Oxford, OX1 4BW from June 1st – July 16th 2013.