Wednesday, 23 June 2010

artisan contemporary art gallery starter show of South African Fine art.












Work shown in partnership with  the alderman gallery Cape Town, South Africa. If you would like further details please contact me.

One of the most difficult things for an artist is to make the first mark on a clean sheet of paper or a white canvas. The thought of putting artwork on the expanse of pristine white wall did I must admit have a simular feeling of anxiety. So, today when I carried Donna's and Chris's work upstairs into the space I was unsure about how the things would look, especially when I had last seen these large canvases on the Gallery wall in Chelsea.

The work is challenging me in this Bolton studio, large nude life drawings undertaken with great skill in a life study class in Gill's Gallery studio a part of the Allderman Gallery which is based in Kennilworth, Cape Town. The African colour, the size and the way in which they are undertaken brings them to the point where their form is now dictating the space that they are in and how we reference it. The space now appears to be an African one. This change has taken me out of the comfort zone of an English landscape artist and has made me re question my work and I think because of that it will make me question how the gallery should be developed asa painters gallery.

Donna's authoritative figurative work is excellent her drawing, her line work, and use of form works well with the thin ]washes and rips of African ochres and reds. Her proud and handsome male and female figures I feel could almost walk from their canvas's, Gills work is more abstract her dark amorphous figures look away in brooding thought, their surfaces glisten with physical washes, splashes, drips and smears of oily paint underneath which run strong lines.

South Africa comes to Lancashire and gets the ball rolling. Thanks Donna and Gill.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

John Piper the artist two short articles from two International Gallerys

John Piper is I believe one of the best modern English painters in the last century.  I think it important that as a part of developing your individual work that we look at at other painters techniques and their life.

I've attached two short article taken directly from

1) The Goldmark Gallery whose website has an indepth and well researched article on Piper as well as some excellent images. Please visit their web site http://www.johnpiperprints.com/index.php for more information.

John Piper (specifically John Egerton Christmas Piper) was born on December 13, 1903, in Epsom. After the death of his father in 1926, Piper was able to leave his late father's firm to apply to the Royal College of Art in South Kensington. Unfortunately he was rejected, as his skills in drawing nudes did not seem satisfactory. Only after being taken in at the Richmond School of Art was Piper able to change later to the Royal College to study painting.


There Piper met Charles Mahoney, Morris Kestleman, and Tom Monnington, all of whom effected a lasting influence on the young artist. After his education, John Piper had to earn his living with magazine articles and articles on art criticism, because paintings at that time were almost impossible to sell. Only after allying himself with the group of artists around Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Howard Hodgkins, and Barbara Hepworth was Piper able to enter the scene of modern painters.
During the Second World War, art production was impractical, as canvasas, oil paints, brushes, and paper were extremely hard to come by. On the other hand, no one had money to buy art. The situation for Piper and his fellow artists became better under a program by the British government in which artists were paid to produce murals for propagandistic purposes.

John Piper, who like Moore did not have to serve in the army, painted pictures of bombed out, destroyed buildings. This subject became characteristic for Piper's work after the war. With his colors, textures, and chosen perspectives, Piper produced a deep, gripping impression with his romantic topographies.

John Piper died on June 27, 1992, in Fawley Bottom, Oxfordshire.

Of all the artists active in Britain during the twentieth century, John Piper was probably the most versatile. He once claimed that he had worked in every medium available to him. Owing to the richness and far-reaching nature of his achievement, it will take a long time before his multi-facetted career can be fully appreciated and his artistic and cultural contribution properly assessed.


2), Mark Barrow 20th Century Contemporay Art Gallery http://www.modernbritishartists.co.uk/piper_biog.htm



He was born in Epsom, on 13 December 1903, the third and youngest son of the solicitor, Charles Piper. Like his father, he enjoyed bicycling down country lanes and in this way visited every church in Surrey by the age of fourteen. He also developed passion for guide books and began writing and illustrating his own. His school career, at Kingswood School, then at Epsom College, was undistinguished, though at the latter he won an art prize. The death of his eldest brother at Ypres in 1915 had left his father very depressed. This fact may help explain why John Piper felt unable to oppose his father's wish that he should do as his elder brother Gordon had done and train as a solicitor. It has often been said that he worked as an articled clerk in his father's practice from 1921 until his father's death in 1926. In fact John Piper left school in 1922 and his father died in 1927.

With his mother's support, John Piper gave up law and studied art, first at Richmond School or Art and then, for only a year and one term, at the Royal College of Art. Disappointed with the teaching at the Royal College, he also offended against accepted custom by getting married, while still a student, in August 1929 to Eileen Holding, a young artist. Over the next five years they divided their time between a cottage at Betchworth, bought for them by Piper's mother, and a rented flat in Hammersmith. Recognition that their marriage was not working appears to have been mutual. They separated in 1934 but remained on terms of friendship.

Early in 1934 Piper had been elected to membership of the 7 & 5 Society of which he soon became secretary, working closely with Ben Nicholson who wanted to make this exhibiting group more focused and more abstract. Piper had not yet produced any abstracts, but after a trip to Paris in June 1934, where he met Jean Helion among others, owing to an introduction from Nicholson, he began making abstract reliefs inspired by the work of Cesar Domela. That same month he met Myfanwy Evans who also made a visit to Paris, in August 1934, taking with her an introduction to Helion and through him meeting several of the leading avant-garde artists. On her return to England she and John Piper began collaborating on the magazine 'Axis' which orginally set out to promote abstract art. In all they produced eight issues over the next two years.

By January 1935 John Piper and Myfanwy Evans were living together at Fawley Bottom Farmhouse in Oxfordshire, on the edge of the Chilterns. Two years later they married when John Piper's divorce came through. Here Piper produced work that made him one of the most definite and distinctive abstract artists of the period. His work was exhibited in various exhibitions, including 'Abstract and Concrete' (1936), which was the first international display of abstract art in this country. But just as he was beginning to achieve recognition in this field, his interest in architecture and topography was revived by the onset of his friendship with John Betjeman and the commission to to write 'Oxon', the Shell Guide to Oxfordshire. His subsequent retreat from abstraction was regarded by some as a denial of of the Modern Movement, but the key to Piper's career lay in his subsequent merging of his commitment to the modern with his Englishness, with his reinterpretation of certain native traditions in modern terms.

His interest in ruins took hold before any bombs fell in Britain. But once the Blitz began he was given the opportunity, as a war artist, to register the poetics of destruction. At Coventry, in Bath, Bristol and elsewhere, he recorded the effects of war, employing a visual language that went far beyond mere reportage. He was also at this time exploring the romantic vein in English art, writing 'British Romantic Artists' which was published in 1942. The moodiness of his art at this period, and his frequent use of black, especially in his skies, gave rise to King George VI's famous remark, while watching Piper at work on one the pictures he had been commissioned to paint of Windsor, that he had been rather unfortunate with the weather.

Piper emerged from the war with a high reputation. This was to be augmented by the success of his stage designs, especially those done for Benjamin Britten's operas which began with his work in 1947 for 'The Rape of Lucretia'. A further development in his career came in 1953 when he was commissioned to execute stained-glass windows for the chapel at Oundle School. This began his working association with the stained-glass maker, Patrick Reytiens, which produced eight windows for Eton College Chapel and the great Baptistery window in the new Coventry Cathedral, among many other commissions. Another very fruitful association for Piper was that which he enjoyed with the potter Geoffrey Eastop. It unleashed a further vein through which coursed Piper's fertile inventiveness.

Piper's work as artist continued to show an interest in experiment and a refusal to remain satisfied with a workable style. But even more experimental, in the long term, was his engagement with print-making in which his exploration of a variety of media and techniques made him one of the most oustanding printmakers of his day. All the time he continued to travel widely, in connection with his various artistic commissions and his continuing involvement, as editor and photographer, with the Shell Guides. His knoweldge of architecture was formidable, while his familiarity with churches was probably in his day unsurpassed. Not surprisingly, he sat on various committees in connection with the Tate and National Galleries, with architectural heritage, preservation and conservation, lent his name to good causes and repeatedly donated drawings and paintings to appeals in aid of churches.

One of Piper's many strengths as an artist lay in his verve and attack. Likewise, his letters, always brief and to the point, reveal an alert intelligence and a quick sensibility. He had a passion for fireworks and worked with John Deaker, Chairman of Pains Fireworks, on a number of major public displays. As as artist, he also liked to work with pyrotechnics, with sudden bursts of illumination and detail. He understood the bones within a piece of architecture so well that he could suggest it with large and abrupt washes of colour, on top of which he would allow a sprinkling of detail to dance across the surface, a style that worked especially well in his studies of Venice. A tall, lean man, he enjoyed good food and conversation, and with his wife Myfanwy established at Fawley Bottom a way of life that impressed many. A high point in his career came in 1983 when he was honoured with an eightieth-birthday exhibition at the Tate Gallery. An operation in 1987 left him sadly altered owing to the effects of the anasethetic, and a form of senility, possibly Alzheimer's, disabled the last four years of his life. He died 28 June 1992 and is buried in the extension graveyard at Fawley.

Frances Spalding