John Hitchens and Anthony Garratt

Posted by:moncrieff-bray on Apr - 5 - 2017 - Filed under: Blog,Press Releases -

Exploring the Land: Two Ways of Seeing

Exhibition dates:                Saturday 13 May — Saturday 17 June 2016

Private View:                          Saturday 13 May, 3 pm—8pm

This joint exhibition explores the way two artists have responded to the landscape of Sussex both of them painting en plein aire in an expressive spontaneous manner. John Hitchen’s work in the exhibition spans a 45 year period from the 1970s to the present day and presents a retrospective of his evolving style. Anthony’s paintings were all completed over the last year.

Although he has painted much further afield, John’s work is deeply influenced by the landscape surrounding his home in West Sussex. He also spent several weeks each summer staying at Pagham harbor and in the 1970s created a series of paintings capturing the atmospheric effects of the beach and salt marshes especially at dawn and dusk. The paintings in the exhibition begin with his early representational works through his increasing experiments in abstraction where sky and horizon are lost in broad gestural brush strokes, at times the flattened picture plane opening into glimpses of distant vistas.

In John’s latest work, gestural evocations of the land are expressed in complex compositions of flat articulate colour. Reuniting these works separated by so many years reveals fascinating connections and relationships. The paintings display recurring themes, the rhythms of the seasons, the structure of the land, vistas glimpsed through deep woodland, lines of strata and sediment, contour lines of hills and fields. The exhibition is an homage to John’s continuing absorption with the organic, changing nature of the landscape whether on a grand sweeping scale or reduced to abstracted patterns of plough lines and hedge rows. The artist’s eye is continually searching and exploring, never content to stand still as John himself says, ‘everything that has gone before is part of what is now’.

Anthony’s work by contrast is concerned primarily with the weather, and the physical experience and impact of a landscape. He researches his paintings by exposing himself to the elements, winter storms, summer heat, racing tides, scudding clouds and eery moonlight. A trip to Sussex last year inspired him to return and create the work for this show.

For Anthony, South Sussex from the downs to the coast offered an abundance of sensory information. Starting at Petworth House, what immediately struck him is that the grassy hills and lines from pathways excavated by Capability Brown are echoed naturally further South as he headed through the Downs. As the light hits and shifts around the lake in front of Petworth House, the eye is naturally led from tree to curve, to water, to sky and in some respects the landscape has already been painted.

‘Painting the coast from Sesley to West Wittering is a fascinating and atmospheric journey which feels far removed from the rolling hills of the Downs’, he explained. Massive vistas and salt marshes enable the experience of raw weather where the continually changing landscape is molded by the tidal state and weather. ‘The paintings are an impulsive reaction to visiting somewhere for the very first time and capturing the most immediate senses; the sound underfoot, the movement of the weather and land, the smell of the marshes and sea’, he continued

Anthony works by splattering and dribbling, paint across canvases, sometimes mixed with earth and sand, and rust. Often working in the open air, brushes, knives, fingers, palette knives, all play their part and from the seeming chaos an image gradually emerges.

 

Notes on the Artists

John Hitchens

John Hitchens grew up in Graffham, West Sussex and studied at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham Court.    Both his father Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979) and his grandfather Alfred Hitchens (1861-1942) were painters and his son Simon Hitchens is a Sculptor. The wooded Sussex landscape nestling below the South Downs has been a major influence on his work but he also spent extended periods painting in Scotland and South Wales. He began his career as a figurative landscape painting but began experimenting with abstraction in the late 1970s.   From 1990 he has painted in a fully abstract style with a restricted palette of earth pigments. John’s work was exhibited throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s at the Marjorie Parr Gallery and Montpellier Galleries in London and the John Paul Gallery in Chichester. His work is in numerous public collections, including Brighton Art Gallery, Bradford City Art Gallery, Brasenose College Oxford, Chase Manhattan Bank New York, and the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne

Anthony Garratt

Anthony studied at Chelsea College of Art, followed by Falmouth College of Arts for a design degree. Having worked as a designer for a few years he decided to become a fulltime painter. He is a member of the Royal West of England Academy where he has exhibited regularly. He has also shown at the RA Summer Exhibition and the Royal College of Arts Henry Moore Gallery. ‘This is Bristol’ listed Anthony Garratt ‘as the next David Hockney’. Anthony was invited to paint the Diamond Jubilee Pageant from the Millennium Bridge.  He has been involved in three inspirational outdoor projects. In September 2014 – Alfresco on Tresco in which he worked on four massive paintings in the open air, leaving them in situ exposed to the elements for four months. He followed this with a similar project from March – October 2015 FOUR Angelsey in North Wales. In 2016 he completed High Low an installation in the Snowdonia National Park which consisted of one enormous outdoor painting which was left floating on lake Llyn Llydaw.and a second painting suspended in a near by disused coal mine. The installations attracted huge media coverage including BBC & ITV news. Anthony has had numerous highly successful shows throughout the UK.

 

Atlantis Coast-West-Harris.-1220-x-900.jpg

Posted by:moncrieff-bray on Oct - 21 - 2016 - Filed under: Blog -

Out of India

Posted by:moncrieff-bray on Jul - 25 - 2016 - Filed under: Press Releases -
PRESS RELEASE

Out of India October 2016

Paul Treasure, Kerala 2, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm

Paul Treasure, Kerala 2, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm

This autumn the Moncrieff-Bray gallery, in West Sussex, celebrates the intoxicating spirit of India with a three -week exhibition. This showcases new work from four leading contemporary artists who interpret the spirit of India in their own style.

Exhibition dates

Saturday 8th October – Sunday 29  October 2016

Private views:  Saturday 8th October 3 – 7 pm and Sunday 9th October 11 am – 1 pm

Exhibiting artists:
Penelope Anstice, Tobit Roche, Paul Treasure, Victoria Threlfall

 

Penelope Anstice, Grain Market, Jodjpur, gouache, 19 x 37 cm

Penelope Anstice, Grain Market, Jodhpur, gouache, 19 x 37 cm

Penelope Anstice’s latest body of work was created from two separate trips to India: one to Kerala and Calcutta; and more recently to Jodhpur in Rajasthan. Since her first visit to Jodhpur in 1990 she had always wanted to return to the city which, for her, “encompasses everything India has to offer for an artist.” She is inspired by the ‘Blue’ city’s fascinating architecture, its ancient walls, the towering Mehrangarh Fort, and the vibrant markets teeming with life. “I like to sit amongst it all and paint the permanently shifting scene,” she says, “to try and capture an impression very quickly.”

In this show, Penelope’s work is a mixture of quick on-the- spot observations in gouache and watercolour, of figures and movement in the streets and markets, and of more considered works in oil developed back in the studio. “As well as the colour and energy,” she muses, “I am trying to convey something of the pervading and inexplicable mystery of the place; the hidden side of India.”

 

Tobit Roche, TheLakePalace Udaipur oil on board 18 x 23-cm

Tobit Roche, TheLake Palace Udaipur oil on board 18 x 23-cm

Tobit Roche has “been under the spell of India” since his teenage years which were spent in Delhi and he maintains that India is still his spiritual home.  Roche grew up amongst artists; his father (who was born in India) was the poet and novelist Paul Roche, who modelled for the Bloomsbury artist Duncan Grant.  His landscapes are imbued with the particular haze and atmosphere of the Indian subcontinent.

The paintings in this exhibition can be divided into those Roche completed in the studio from memory, and those he made en plein air using a homemade pochade paint box. This allowed him to carry three wet panels and a fresh pallet on his shoulder while trekking in Rajasthan and the Himalayas, in the spirit of countless pioneering painters of the past.

These paintings are “about longing and nostalgia,” says Roche. “I show a view of India which is intensely personal and is based on my emotional reaction to this country. When I am there, I get very moved by the spirit of the landscape, which is the spirit of the people.”

P1090371

 

Paul Treasure travelled to Goa from Kerala for this exhibition that  he says is his “response to the experience of that place.” The paintings express his feelings of joy. For Paul, “India is a magical place that helps to focus the mind on accepting what it means to be a human being today. It leaves me feeling inspired, elated . . . I try to explore these emotions further in my paintings and experiment with many different mediums and materials.”

Paul’s style is expressive, energetic and full of colour. Some of his paintings incorporate recycled materials refecting the way even rubbish has a value in India.  His abstract works capture the emotion of the country while his landscapes depict the interplay between light, land, water and sky and the vibrant colours of the country. His bold use of palette knife, brush strokes and mixed media result in distinctive mark-making and vigorous, textured paintings.

His work is both figurative and abstract and gives a sense of everyday life in India. “What strikes me most is the symbiosis of life with plants, animals and people, all trying to get along and survive in harmony with each other. I am interested in what manifests when I mix my experience of spending time in India with the process of adding paint and other materials to a canvas in the studio. Every day is a surprise”, he explained.

Victoria Threlfall struck out  from Rajasthan into Madhya Pradesh away from the popular Indian tourist destinations . Here she visited Hindu pilgrimage sites along the Narmada river and the ancient city of Mandu.

“Leaving bitterly cold and wan London in February and arriving in India  is an almost overwhelming  experience. The heat, noise, smells and filth both beguile and repel but the colour is always enthralling with seemingly  impossible juxtapositions  of hue and tone somehow managing to look harmonious.”

Painting in the streets presents problems, mad dogs, altercations with cows, children sticking their fingers in your paints, amorous shop keepers to mention just a few but it is also a chance to engage with people, to talk and  sometimes to be offered hospitality. India will always be unknowable to outsiders, in my paintings all I can do is to try and convey some of that mystery and the excitement I experience in a country where colour is a living presence, a way of life rather than  an afterthought’.

Artist profiles:

Penelope Anstice. A graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, Penelope lived in London and Amsterdam for 16 years and has travelled and painted widely in India, South East Asia and Morocco. She has exhibited her work throughout the UK and undertaken many commissions, both private and corporate. Penelope teaches at the Heatherley School of Fine Art in London and for private groups in Scotland and Italy. Since moving back to Scotland she has returned to painting the landscape she grew up in.

Tobit Roche. Born in Manchester in 1954. Tobit spent his childhood in Hong Kong, Canada and India. After studying at the Ontario College of Art, Canada, he spent a year living and working with Duncan Grant at Charleston, Sussex before completing his studies at Camberwell School of Art. Tobit divides his time between London and Hastings and travels frequently to India. Tobit recalls being inspired by a Jackson Pollock painting he saw at an exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada when he was nine years old. His fans include the actress Cate Blanchett and the late David Bowie.

Paul Treasure. Born in 1961  in Gloucestershire, Paul  studied at Cheltenham College of Art, following which he spent two years working for a fine art auctioneer. He then moved to London working from a studio in Holborn and started taking commissions for public works of art, becoming  an established artist working worldwide.

He now lives and works in Hampshire where the landscape is a constant source of inspiration to him. He frequently travels abroad, and in 1991 took a year’s sabbatical to paint whilst travelling the world, a journey which took him through Africa, India, Southeast Asia and Central America. Following this, in 1993, he was commissioned to be expedition artist on the first ever crossing of the Taklamakan Desert in North West China for three months, after which he exhibited these works at various shows, including the Royal Geographical Society in London. He continues to exhibit around the country, whilst still travelling abroad regularly to find inspiration for his paintings.

Victoria Threlfall.  After studying English and History of Art at St Andrews University Victoria went onto Camberwell  School of Art to do a B.A in Painting. A travel scholarship took her to Northern Spain where she discovered the delights of painting in a country where the sun could be relied on and she has continued to paint abroad whenever possible returning to India and Morocco and making a memorable trip to Eritrea before it became impossible for tourists to enter the country. Whether abstract or figurative, light and colour are always the subject of her paintings.

NOTES TO EDITORS

THE MONCRIEFF-BRAY GALLERY is based in a group of 18th-century former farm buildings on the edge of the Petworth Estate, West Sussex and holds regular exhibitions of contemporary art and sculpture. A spectacular oak framed barn houses the interior gallery space, and the surrounding landscaped gardens are an ideal setting for domestic sculpture. The gallery is committed to showing both established artists and those who are not widely represented elsewhere. Just over an hour’s drive from central London, the gallery is located in the heart of the South Downs National Park, enjoying spectacular views over the Rother Valley and up to the South Downs.

ELSPETH MONCRIEFF, DIRECTOR
Former curator and arts writer Elspeth Moncrieff set up the Moncrieff-Bray Gallery in 2005. An experienced curator, she started her career at the V&A; as a former art market correspondent for The Art Newspaper and Deputy Editor of Apollo magazine, she applies her experience of the international art world to her South Downs gallery.

OPENING HOURS
Open Wed to Sat: 11 am to 4pm
Closed Sundays, but we welcome visitors by appointment at any time.

FURTHER INFORMATION
For further high res images and information contact
Elspeth Moncrieff: mail@moncrieff-bray.com
Tel: 07867 978 414
www.moncrieff-bray.com

 

Newlyn Today & Modern British work from Newlyn and St Ives

Posted by:moncrieff-bray on Apr - 8 - 2016 - Filed under: Press Releases -

Ten artist tutors from the acclaimed Newlyn School of Art will show their work at the Moncrieff-Bray Gallery together with works by 20th-century masters of the St Ives School.

EXHIBITION DATES: Saturday 14 May — Saturday 11 June 2016

PRIVATE VIEW: Saturday 14 May, 2pm—8pm

The gallery is privileged to present an exhibition by tutors from Newlyn School of Art. While individually, the artists have a reputation on a national stage, this is their first group exhibition to be held outside Cornwall. The works share a commitment to the artistic heritage and landscape of West Cornwall and echo one another in their treatment of paint, space, atmosphere, light and their preoccupation with man’s relationship with nature. Several of the artists in this exhibition were included in the landmark Tate St Ives exhibition, Art Now Cornwall in 2007.

Works by famous names from the 20th Century in Cornwall such as Sir Terry Frost, Ben Nicholson, Roger Hilton and John Wells will be shown alongside these contemporary works. They provide an historical context and demonstrate how Modern British and Contemporary work complement one another.

Newlyn and its neighbour St Ives have played an important role in British art since the 1880’s. Arguably the most significant period was the 1950’s and 60’s when international artists such as Rothko visited the area to meet the leading British artists of the day. Sir Terry Frost, Roger Hilton and John Wells, exponents of what broadly became known as the St Ives School, actually lived and worked on the south coast at Newlyn. The area is still home to a current generation of innovative and successful artists whose influence extends far beyond the Cornish peninsular.

Paul Lewin’s knowledge of the cliffs and paths combined with his unique mixed media techniques have made him one of the leading coastal artists of the South West. Anthony Garratt’s work is more about the dramatic effects of the weather than the actual topography; the thick impasto layered and scraped on the canvas reflects his experience of extreme weather conditions and the wilderness of some of the remotest parts of the coastline.

Recent highly successful shows at both the Lemon Street Gallery in Truro and London’s Jill George Gallery saw Gareth Edwards create a new body of semi-abstract work. His multi-layered canvases dissolve in an atmosphere of mists and luminous moonlight. Mark Surridge’s often large-scale paintings move from the landscape to a poetic abstraction meditating on man’s role in the universe.

Jessica Cooper has lived all her life in West Penwith where the spare and weatherworn landscape inspires her work, with its paired down graphic quality. Memory and imagination combine in Maggie O’Brien’s work, she is concerned with vanishing wild life and uses images of the natural world as a metaphor for life’s journey.

Other artists in the exhibition include Jesse Leroy Smith, Hannah Woodman and Rachel Reeves. Jesse is both an artist and curator, his work is based on experience and memory. The portraits exhibited here evolve from his relationship with his children. He uses lines and washes to evoke a sense of trace and memory. Together the art of Newlyn seems to delve deep into our collective memory. In a world that seems increasingly chaotic and unbalanced, this exhibition celebrates the beauty of the natural world and a sense of man in harmony with his environment.

EXHIBITING ARTISTS
Jessica Cooper, Gareth Edwards, Anthony Garratt, Paul Lewin, Maggie O’Brien, Rachel Reeves, Jesse Leroy Smith, Mark Surridge and Hannah Woodman
20TH CENTURY MASTERS
Ben Nicholson, Sir Terry Frost, Roger Hilton and John Wells

NEWLYN’S ARTISTIC HERITAGE

Since the 1880s artists have been attracted to Newlyn, drawn by the landscape, cheap studios and convivial artistic community. Newlyn flourished in the 1880s with the social realist painters led by Stanhope Forbes and later with the British Impressionists, notably Dame Laura Knight and Sir Alfred Munnings. During the Second World War, the neighbouring, internationally orientated St Ives colony projected both Newlyn and St Ives onto the world stage.

HISTORY OF NEWLYN SCHOOL OF ART

Artist Henry Garfit harnessed the current wealth of artistic creativity to found the not-for-profit, Newlyn School of Art with the help of an Arts Council Grant in 2011. It is only yards from the historic art school established by Stanhope and Elizabeth Forbes in 1899.
Newlyn School of Art has attracted the most talented artists in the area. There is a yearly programme of two and three day courses as well as part-time courses for mentoring artists from all over the country held every eight weeks as weekends. By giving well paid but occasional work to over thirty five leading artists they are able continue with their own practice while bringing a freshness and vigour to their teaching. Last year the school taught more than 1,000 students from all over the world and this year it is running over thirty courses ranging from Expressive Landscape Painting to Experimental Painting and The Feminine in Art.

NOTES TO EDITORS

THE MONCRIEFF-BRAY GALLERY is based in a group of 18th-century former farm buildings on the edge of the Petworth estate and holds regular exhibitions of contemporary art and sculpture. A spectacular oak framed barn houses the interior gallery space, and the surrounding landscaped gardens are an ideal setting for domestic sculpture. The gallery is committed to showing both established artists and those who are not widely represented elsewhere. Just over an hour’s drive from central London, the gallery is located in the heart of the South Downs National Park, enjoying spectacular views over the Rother Valley and up to the South Downs.

ELSPETH MONCRIEFF, DIRECTOR

Former curator and arts writer Elspeth Moncrieff set up the Moncrieff-Bray Gallery in 2005. An experienced curator, she started her career at the V&A; as a former art market correspondent for The Art Newspaper and Deputy Editor of Apollo magazine, she applies her experience of the international art world to her South Downs gallery.

Summer Sculpture 2016

Posted by:moncrieff-bray on Apr - 8 - 2016 - Filed under: Press Releases -

Work by 15 contemporary sculptors shown in stunning garden in the South Downs National Park, near Petworth

EXHIBITION DATES: Saturday 14 May — Saturday 11 June 2016

PRIVATE VIEW: Saturday 14 May, 2pm—8pm

This summer, the Moncrieff-Bray gallery presents its annual sculpture exhibition, with works displayed in the magnificent Sussex Barn and sculpture arranged across the surrounding three-acre rural gardens. A wide range of work will be on show; small scale sculpture in the gallery and in the garden, large scale works in stone, bronze, ceramic, steel and wood – many of which have been commissioned specially for the exhibition. A selection will be previewed in the majestic setting of Petworth Park at the Petworth Park Art and Antiques Fair from May 6 – 8.

The exhibition coincides with the Chelsea Flower Show. Like the Flower Show the sculpture on display is designed for the intimate setting of private gardens. The pieces catch your eye as you round a corner, or lead you into a distant vista. Pieces by established artists with work in major collections are shown alongside those of younger, emerging artists.

Highlights for 2016 include Paul Vanstone’s marble heads, using exotic coloured marbles sourced from Iran and India and Dominic Welch’s seductive abstract works carved in limestone or cast in bronze. A major piece by Dominic will be on display at the Ashmoleon Museum concurrently. David Klein’s peregrine falcon, emerges from the limestone, latent with energy, showing his mastery at creating form from a lump of rock. While Jilly Sutton’s delightful new work, Bambino reflects her joy at being a grandmother.

On a large scale, Clare Tupman’s life size owls swoop into land. Working in stainless steel she specialises in extremities of movement, manipulating the tensile properties of steel to dramatic effect. Working from her remote hill farm in Wales, Miranda Michels is strongly influenced by the natural world. Her life size fallow deer in twisted steel with real antlers will complement the deer in Petworth Park. Originally trained as a goldsmith, Colleen Du Pon now works in steel and her giant buttercups and snowdrops are a visual delight.

Jo Sweeting’s sensitive carved heads reflect her apprenticeship at the Skelton workshop in Ditchling. While Adam Binder has taken his exquisitely modelled bronze birds into the landscape by creating a new series of bird plaques.

The last ten years have seen a renaissance in the appreciation of sculpture in the British Isles. Sculpture is transformed when taken outside the white walls of a gallery and displayed outside in relation to nature and the elements. It is now seen as an integral part of domestic garden design and a wander around this exhibition is a delight in itself.

NOTES TO EDITORS

THE MONCRIEFF-BRAY GALLERY

Based in a group of 18th-century former farm buildings on the edge of the Petworth estate, the gallery holds regular exhibitions of contemporary art and sculpture. A spectacular oak framed barn houses the interior gallery space, and the surrounding landscaped gardens are an ideal setting for domestic sculpture. The gallery is committed to showing both established artists and those who are not widely represented elsewhere. Just over an hour’s drive from central London, the gallery is located in the heart of the South Downs National Park, enjoying spectacular views over the Rother Valley and up to the South Downs.

ELSPETH MONCRIEFF, DIRECTOR

Former curator and arts writer Elspeth Moncrieff set up the Moncrieff-Bray Gallery in 2005. An experienced curator, she has worked for the V&A, and as a former art market correspondent for The Art Newspaper and Deputy Editor of Apollo magazine. She applies her experience of the international art world to her South Downs gallery.

OPENING HOURS Open Daily: 11 pm to 4pm Closed Sundays

LIST OF EXHIBITING SCULPTORS

Adam Binder, Colleen Du Pon, Dave Cooke, Olivia Ferrier, Felicia Fletcher, David Klein, Judy Larkin, Jo Sweeting, Jilly Sutton, Clare Tupman, Clare Trenchard, Willow Legge, Miranda Michels, Paul Vanstone, Dominic Welch

Closed Sundays but we welcome visitors by appointment at any time.

FURTHER INFORMATION
For further images and information contact Elspeth Moncrieff: mail@moncrieff-bray.com Tel: 07867 978 414
 – www.moncrieff-bray.com

Edge of The Land

Posted by:moncrieff-bray on Mar - 31 - 2016 - Filed under: Blog -

oil on board, 30 x 30 cm

Feeling All Broken

Posted by:moncrieff-bray on Mar - 31 - 2016 - Filed under: Blog -

oil on board, 18 x 17.5 cm

Stanley Simmonds (1917-2006) Paintings from his Cornish Studio

Posted by:moncrieff-bray on Oct - 6 - 2015 - Filed under: Press Releases -

7 – 15 November, 2015  Daily 11 – 4 pm     16 – 21 November, 2015  by appointment

Acclaimed post-war artist who taught Quentin Blake, was selected for group shows at the Royal Academy and Whitechapel Art Gallery and showed alongside Ivon Hitchens, John Bratby, Keith Vaughan and John Piper

The collection comes directly from his Cornish studio near Launceston where Stanley spent the last 25 years of his life, moving to be close to his life long friend, the poet Charles Causley.

 

Stanley was a passionately committed artist and teacher whose work encompasses a huge range of style and influences. Born in 1917 in Droitwich, Stanley’s talent was recognised early on when he was accepted at Birmingham College of Art aged 16. He saw active wartime service in the Royal Navy, where he served on the same ship as the Cornish poet, Charles Causley, who became a life long friend. Stanley painted several portraits of him and illustrated some of his books. After the war he resumed his studies at the Royal College of Art in 1946. His paintings at this time were beautifully executed tonal studies of nudes, still-lives and rural subjects. The sensitive portrait of his wife, Cynthia Kathleeen King, also a talented painter, whom he married in 1947 was done at this time.

The couple settled into married life in London, in a roomy flat at 22 Redcliffe Square, SW10 and on leaving the Royal College, Stanley was appointed art teacher at the Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School in 1949. Admired and respected by his students he remained for 30 years, his most famous pupil was the illustrator Quentin Blake with whom he exhibited at Hertford College, Oxford in 1963.

Blake remembers, I first came to know Stanley Simmonds as a teacher, when he returned from the Navy after the war to take over the art room at Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School.  He made it a place where not only art was produced but where art conversations could go on.  He was enormously helpful and valuable to me, as I am sure he was to many others’

 As as talented student Blake would visit Stanley’s London studio.  It was there that we really discovered Stan as a painter; to begin with in particular as a painter of Billingsgate market.  The Billingsgate paintings were evidently the fruit of many studies made on site; but it wasn’t, you felt, the detail of everyday life that took the artist’s attention as much as, together with substantial reality, the architecture of forms supplied by the porters and their surroundings. Those pictures were soon followed by a remarkable development into abstraction.  What was formerly substance becomes atmosphere.  It is a world of movement, distance, luminosity, but one which the architecture of the canvas is still disposed with authority

From the late 1950s to the 1970s Stanley’s career flourished and in 1957 he was selected for group exhibitions in The Brighton Art Gallery and The Royal Academy. A year later he showed in The London Group exhibition for young emerging artists, with Mary Fedden, Harold Mockford and Howard Hodgkin. In 1959 Stanley Simmonds was selected for the ‘Pictures for Schools’ exhibition at The Whitechapel Gallery and for the Festival of London exhibition.

Through to the early 60s he had group and solo exhibitions at the innovative Bear Lane Galley, Oxford with other leading British artists including Keith Vaughan and his work is in many of the Oxford Colleges. Also at the Bear Lane he showed in the ‘Contemporary British Landscape Painters,’ exhibition with John Piper, John Bratby and Ivon Hitchens.

Terence Mullaly of The Telegraph commented ‘The most interesting of these artists seems to be Stanley Simmonds-he combines a sure sense of design with colouring that succeeds in suggesting an element of mystery. He is an artist that deserves to be better known.’

G M Butcher in the “Guardian” wrote ‘..distinctly exciting that work by Simmonds in which his sensibility blossoms forth into an inherent logic of its own.’ and  John Hale in the ‘Arts News Review’, ‘Singled out Simmonds work” (from a mixed exhibition) as “outstanding” and wrote of “the delicacy and relish” of the painter’s reaction to certain visual experience.

Around this time Stanley embarked on the paintings of Billingsgate Market which represented a more personal exploration for him. Rising early in the mornings, he executed rapid pencil sketches of the porters and carters, unloading the heavy boxes of fish. His paintings of the market document his journey from figuration through to abstraction, exploring blocks of colour and tonal valuation but all imbued with the light and atmosphere of the market at dawn. These paintings and the drawings are a remarkable record of post-war working class London. The restricted palette of brown, grey, blue and terracotta and the simple shapes of the hard hats, flowing work clothes and boots give these fish porters an ethereal quality. An important painting from this series is in the collection of the Herbert Gallery, Coventry and others remain with the family.

Like many Modern British artists of his generation, Stanley was becoming increasingly attracted to abstraction which took many different forms, some of the canvases dissolve in a luminous atmospheric interpretation of the landscape the paint scumbled and glazed, others are much more tightly constructed with strong cubist shapes, bold colours and flat blocks of colour. He was drawing on a wide range of contemporary influences. There are elements of the neo-romantics like Keith Vaughan, Michael Ayrton and Graham Sutherland – and from further afield Mark Rothko and the Colour Field artists. In the most successful of them, Stanley forged a vision and style uniquely his own combining abstraction and figuration.

In the late 1960s Stanley and Cynthia moved to Trinity Street, Southwark. In1978 he was awarded The George Rowney Prize for Oil Painting in ‘The Spirit of London Competition’ He continued to experiment with new approaches to abstraction, illustrated books and designed work for the theatre. On his retirement in 1983 he left City for South Petherwin, near Launceston, Cornwall to be near his friend Charles Causley. Taking on a large studio in a converted chapel on the edge of Bodmin Moor, the 1980s saw a return to a more figurative style with successful exhibitions at the Somerville Gallery in Plymouth including a large retrospective in 2002 and at Exeter University.

 

 

Stanley Simmonds CV

Born 1917, Droitwich, youngest of three boys, Father a retired relief signal man, Mother a Dress maker.

Gains a scholarship to Royal Worcester Grammar School

1934-39 Attends Birmingham College of Art

1940-1946 Royal Navy, based in Plymouth becomes close friends with the poet Charles Causley

1946-1948 Attended Royal College of Art

1949 Begins teaching at Chiselhurst and Sidcup Grammar School, where remains for 30 years and where he tutors Quentin Blake

Living at 22 Redcliffe Square, SW10

1947 marries the artist, Cynthia King

Late 60s moves to 32 Trinity Street, Southwark

1983 Retires from teaching and moves to Chapel House, South Petherwin, Launceston be close to his life-long friend the poet Charles Causley

2006 Dies in Launceston

Previous Exhibitions

2014 Stanley Simmonds 1917 – 2006, A Retrospective Exhibition, The Foundry Gallery, Lewes

2012 Small retrospective exhibition organised by the Charles Causley Society.Lawrence House Museum, Launceston, Cornwall

2002 The Somerville Gallery, Plymouth

1995 Exeter University

1985 Portrait of Charles Causley – London Institute of Education. Part of Charles Causley’s 70th Birthday tribute includes works by Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, Alfred Wallis

1963 Stanley Simmonds / Quentin Blake – Hertford College, Oxford

1962 Three Artists, R J Hitchcock, Kenneth Rowell, Stanley Simmonds – Bear lane Gallery, Oxford Two Man Exhibition” – Brook Street Gallery, London

1961 One Man Show – Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford

1960 Summer Exhibition – Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford

1959 Royal Academy, Pictures for Schools  – Whitechapel Art Gallery with Mary Feddon, Carel Weight, Michael Rothenstein and Roy Turner Durant, The Festival of London – Bexley, Oxford Today – Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford, One Man Show, Bear Lane Gallery Oxford

1958 The London Group Annual  Exhibition – RBA Galleries, Contemporary British Landscape Painters, with John Piper, John Bratby and Ivon Hitchens – Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford, One Man Show – Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford

1957, The Royal Academy

Brighton Art Gallery

1955 The Royal Academy

1954 The London Group

 

Collections Include:

Exeter University, Hertford College, Oxford, Pembroke College, Oxford, St Anthony’s College, Oxford, University College, Oxford Herbert Gallery, Coventry, and The  Education Committees of Oxford and Coventry.