Saturday, 20 December 2008

Exhibitions Featuring FPS member Janet Scott in 2009

Caryl Bradford: Still Lives & Landscapes by Janet Scott

January 26-31st in Chelsea Library, Chelsea Old Town Hall, Kings Road, SW3,

Caryl Bradford

Janet Scott

Caryl Bradford

Janet Scott

February 3rd-21st at Duncan Campbell Gallery, 15 Thackeray Street, W8 (South of Kensington Court, opposite the Royal Garden Hotel), with Private View Tuesday 3rd February from 5.30-8.30 pm. to which all are invited.

Best wishes from Janet.

ARTWORKS by William Fricker

CORRECTION These artworks were originally disaplayed as being by Diana Hulme but they are by William Fricker. SPANA want to put a couple or one picture by William Fricker into Foyles. The size is about 50 cm x 120 cm nframed.





Friday, 12 December 2008

Lauderdale House Exhibition Winter 2008

Pictures by Penelope Mac Ewen

A History of Free painters and Sculptors by Roy Rasmussen

A History of Free painters and Sculptors by Roy Rasmussen is posted at

Last Weekend of the Willeseden Affordable Art Show

Exhibition ending on Friday the 19th December

The Gallery at Willesden Green
Brent Affordable Art Show 2008
Featuring a selection of emerging artists – Some artworks for less than £100

Can you see us? Students from North West College working with Brent Learning Disability Partnership

The Gallery at Willesden Green
Brent Affordable Art Show 2008
Featuring a selection of emerging artists – Some artworks for less than £100
Exhibition kindly supported by The London Borough of Brent and Daniel & Harris Solicitors

Hot on the heels of the nation’s love affair with contemporary art, Brent will be breaking down the barriers to the art world by launching its very own third Brent Affordable Art Show, just in time for the festive season.

Featuring work from emerging talent as well as established local artists, the Affordable Art Show will give visitors the opportunity to enjoy and purchase an eclectic array of artwork, from painting, sculpture to photography, to prints…etc. Many pieces on show will carry a price tag of under £100, making this the perfect hunting ground for the “next big thing”, or a chance to purchase an original and unique piece from a talented artist.

The exhibition will showcase some of Brent’s wealth of artistic talent, and visitors are encouraged to explore and engage with this new art in a creative and relaxed and environment. The Brent Affordable Art Show was conceived in order to inspire new audiences to familiarise themselves with contemporary art in the area, and to encourage the possibility of purchasing and collecting the art itself.

This is a unique opportunity to explore the hidden art of one of London’s most vibrant and culturally diverse communities.

Can you see us?
The College of North West London has been working with Brent Learning Disability Partnership with students who have learning disabilities and a wide range of learning difficulties enabling them to learn new skills, increase vocational competences and gain qualifications.

The Creative Crafts Skills Group, based at Stonebridge Day Centre, has worked with College lecturers, Lula Couling-Barreneche, Mary Anne Vaughan and Alison Rose to produce work collectively for the ‘Can you see us?’ exhibition. All the work demonstrates the range of techniques and skills learned, such as: collage, papier-mâché, printing, felt and paper-making and decorative effects.

The students have created work expressing their individuality and imaginative reflections on the theme of identity – Can you see us?

Gallery Coordinator: Lorenzo Belenguer
Tel: 020 8459 1421

The Venue
The Gallery at Willesden Green
Willesden Green Library Centre
95 High Road, London NW10 2SF

Times of opening
Dates: Tuesday 18th November – Friday 19th December
Times: Every day: 2pm-6pm.

Getting there:
By Tube: Jubilee Line to Willesden Green (zone 2)
By bus: No.s - 52, 98, 260, 266, 302, 460

The Gallery
The Gallery at Willesden Green is a vibrant community space where new ideas are incubated and encouraged, where emerging and talented artists find a place to display and perform, and where art becomes accessible to everyone in the community.

Registered Company number 5700942

Brent Artists Resource is supported by Brent Council

Sunday, 7 December 2008

greenwich mural workshop presents an exhibition of artworks 1975 to 2008

we are moving soon from macbean centre
greenwich mural workshop presents
an exhibition of artworks 1975 to 2008
macbean centre macbean street woolwich
15 DECEMBER 6 -9pm
come by overground to woolwich arsenal - 5 mins walk
come by tube from north greenwich by 272 or 161
come by any number of buses to woolwich to the stop by the station
come by vehicle via the A206 to macbean street - then into centre car park
tel: 020 8854 9266
now! mon15th to sat 20th december
1 to 6 pm

See Pdf flyer at gmwexhibition3



1 December 2008

After 20 years, Greenwich Mural Workshop is closing down its Woolwich premises in December.

In one last splendid retrospective, an exhibition of its artistic production including posters, banners, mosaics, carnivals, playgrounds, parks and gardens can be seen at its Woolwich studio in the MacBean Centre, Macbean Street, from Monday 15th December to Saturday 20th December, 1 to 6pm each day. The exhibition is free and all are welcome.

The artist’s co-operative, which started in 1975, has worked with community groups all over Greenwich Borough, making murals to brighten estates, posters for events, banners for unions and action groups, playgrounds, gardens and parks for schools and tenants associations.

Carol Kenna and Steve Lobb founded the workshop, but during its 34 year history, dozens of other artists came to design and fabricate pictures, prints, constructions, and environments with them. Many fabulous artists, designers and craftsmen who worked with GMW, have gone on to establish great organisations of their own. But it was not only professional artists, countless apprentices were trained, residents of all ages learnt art skills, many going on to begin new careers. National Community Arts and Murals conferences were also organised by the group, and a national touring exhibition “Printng is Easy” – showed posters from community printshops from all over Britain.

GMW’s first project was designing and painting murals with people of Meridian Estate in Greenwich. Three landmark murals were created; “Peoples River” and the anti-nuclear “Wind of Peace” on Creek Road and “Towards the Good Planet” on Thames Street, opened by Oscar winning actress, Glenda Jackson. A courtyard scheme and a park - converted from a junkyard - was devised with the tenants and carried out by Greater London and Greenwich Councils.

More mural projects followed: Floyd road and Rathmore Youth Centre murals in Charlton; Anti Racist and Kingsman Green murals in Woolwich; Glyndon Estate murals in Plumstead; and Yarnton Way, Binsey and Limestone Walks’ murals in Thamesmead. Many began to be made in tile, and in mosaic; a visually stunning and hard-wearing medium. These materials were used in skills courses for young unemployed and in dozens of Greenwich primary schools, some of which, James Wolfe, Timbercroft, Boxgrove and Cardwell schools, will be on show at the exhibition.

The community printshop began in a flat rented from the GLC on the Meridian Estate. Graphic artists Lulu Ditzel and Rob Finn joined and ran the printshop, which grew quickly, advancing in techniques and skills in new premises at The Albany. When GMW moved to The Macbean Centre, Rob and Lulu left to set up on their own. Rick Walker took over the printshop and with new photographic facilities and satirical flair, brought a different, distinctive style to poster-making in the borough. With Carmen Diaz, Bernadette O’Donoghue, Lyn Medcalf and Howie Jeavons, the printshop produced hundreds of posters calling for social and political action and advertising events and meetings and entertainments. These posters are now highly valued and will soon become part of the national collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Banners made for local community action, protest marches and tenants groups concerned a wide variety of issues and campaigns; anti-poll tax, anti-racist and domestic violence being amongst the most prominent. Also important were banners promoting women’s rights, welfare rights and solidarity with the miners. Banners both traditional and new in style were made also for several major trades unions.

GMW artists were greatly committed to the environment and devised “Vision for Woolwich” and “Where Land Meets Water”, grand scale conferences at the University and the Town Hall leading to specific development and planning proposals for the town. Gardens and playgrounds were designed and realised for several local primary schools, and two run down, neglected parks - Twinkle Park and Charlotte Turner Gardens in West Greenwich, brilliantly resurrected by GMW working with local people.
Recently the Workshop, with David Ireland Landscape Architects, has prepared designs for Plumstead Gardens and St Nicholas Churchyard and Gardens in Plumstead, for which first stage work is due to commence next year.

For more information and pictures

Thursday, 4 December 2008


Geoff Pimlott ARWS "RIMG0299"

THE POET AND THE PAINTER, Bankside Gallery SE1, 13th-30th November 2008 review by Phillip Worth

My search for FPS members who are exhibiting in the London area and the South East so that their activities can be publicised and their work reviewed, took me recently to Bankside Gallery where Geoff Pimlott was taking part in a fascinating show entitled ‘The Poet and the Painter.’ But a word first about the Royal Watercolour Society who have mounted this exhibition. RWS faces both ways: back into a distinguished past where it has long nurtured work in a medium not (in its opinion) accorded the status it deserves by an oil-obsessed Royal Academy; and forward to a future teeming with new ideas, such as this show, but always revolving round watercolour’s unique properties as a medium for artistic expression. Bankside Gallery, the RWS ‘home’, is an elegant venue for its many events, in no way fazed by its proximity to Tate Modern. Exhibitions apart the Society mounts a full programme of outreach work, educational events, sketching days (e.g. London, Paris), painting competitions, courses, talks and demonstrations.

The idea behind ‘The Poet and the Painter’ is intriguing but, many would say, self evident, i.e. that these two art forms have a common source of inspiration. To prove the point RWS members were invited to respond in watercolour or water based media to poetry of their own choosing, with the results hanging together in the exhibition. Maybe this was a ‘first’ for RWS (although it can work the other way. Some years ago there was an exhibition of Rouault etchings in Birmingham to which the city’s poet laureate, David Hart, was asked to respond in verse – which he did!)

Before we come to Geoff Pimlott a few examples of the work of some of the other exhibitors will be of interest, with text followed by image:

‘ACTIVITY’ by Martin Tupper
Open the casement and up with the sun!
His gallant journey has now begun
Over the hills his chariot roll’d
Banner’d with glory and burnish’d with gold
Over the hills he comes sublime
Bridegroom of earth, and brother of time!’



There it is, suddenly emerging, the rainbow
Gaze at the celebration of pure colours
Westwards slowly light pierces the dark
Giving out a growing flood of gold
Wisps of smooth turquoise glow across the sky
A pale pink blush spreads
Dwindling as it deepens over the far hills
Remember me with colours
As I love each and every one
With the blues and greys of morning skies
And the radiant setting sun.


‘TYGER TYGER’ by William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright
In the forests of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?….

‘THE TYGER’ BY Neil Pittaway RWS

‘CRAZY BASTARD’ by Roger McGough

I have always enjoyed the company of extroverts
Wild-eyed men who would go too far
Up to the edge and beyond. Mad, bad women
Overcautious me. Sensible shoes and scarf
Tucked in. Fresh fruit and plenty of sleep
If the sign said ‘keep off’, then off is where I’d keep
Midsummer’s eve in the sixties
On a moonlit beach in Devon we sit around a fire
Drinking the wine and cider. Someone strumming a guitar
Suddenly a girl strips off and runs into the sea.
Everybody follows suit, a whoop of flickering nakedness
Hot gold into cold silver. Far out.
Not wanting to be last in I unbutton my jeans
Then pause. Someone had better stay behind
And keep an eye on the clothes. Common sense.
I throw another piece of driftwood on the fire
Above the crackle listen to the screams and the laughter
Take a long untroubled swig of scrumpy. Crazy bastard.


Geoff Pimlott

A common perception of watercolour is that its use is confined to small landscape studies, and that bolder experiments in paint tend to be the exclusive domain of oils and acrylics on canvas. ‘The Poet and the Painter’ gave to lie to this. The variety of themes and handling on display would easily match anything you could find in the RA or on an investigative stroll down Cork Street. Geoff Pimlott had four vibrant abstracts on display, their warm colours, straight lines and sharp angles all evoking the modern urban scene. But for the purposes of ‘The Poet and the Painter’ he cleverly applied two of these pieces as responses to poems by Stephen Adams, entitled ‘Zig – Picture to Viewer’ and ‘Zag’s Reply’. Let them speak for themselves:

‘ZIG – PICTURE TO VIEWER' by Stephen Adams

I am Zig – not Zag.
Don’t see piano keys
or soldiers’ sleeves
or flags and the Highway Code
or tent’s apex and terraced roof rows
or sticks of rock and a patch of sky.
Pictures can lie.
That’s not what I am.
What I am not is what I am.
Abstract me so I can be…
to polish your eyes
and through bright windows slide.


'ZAG’S REPLY' by Stephen Adams

Welcome to Zag – or what’s left of me.
I was in the pink
before Zig the prig started trying to open me up
pushing his little grains of sand in.
I told him. I said
I don’t do pomes. I am already one -
one big pearly pome
My silver suit. My sleek hair.
Zag through and through.
known to all as Zag the Jag….’

Geoff Pimlott ARWS "RIMG0296"

Geoff Pimlott has clearly gained much from his concurrent membership of FPS and RWS over the years. As a fellow Free Painters member back in the ‘nineties I could see how his work matured in his many contributions to our exhibitions. His keenness to explore new ideas in paint was always apparent, and the freshness and vitality of his approach impressed us all. I must frankly confess that I was not then aware of his association with RWS, but with hindsight it is clear how that association helped his artistic development. FPS members who would like to find out more about the Royal Watercolour Society can contact them at Bankside Gallery, 48 Hopton Street, London SE1 9JH Phone 02079287521 e-mail website

Geoff Pimlott ARWS "Lozenge"

PS Thanks to the staff of the Bankside Gallery for their help with this review.

Monday, 10 November 2008

AIME MAEGHT AND HIS ARTISTS review by Phillip Worth


Royal Academy of Art, Sackler Wing

Till 2nd January 2009

This exhibition is concerned mainly with the work of four artists: Joan Miro, Alexander Calder, Alberto Giacometti and Georges Braque. All are ‘stars’ of the Aime Maeght Foundation near St. Paul de Vence in the South of France, an extraordinary institution which is part gallery, part museum, part workshops and part printing and publishing house, conceived and driven to completion in 1964 by the art dealer cum art lover cum visionary cum entrepreneur Aime Maeght. Maeght did not simply collect the work of modern artists, he befriended them, gave them gallery and studio space and, above all, expanded their creative outlets by way of introducing them to printing techniques, notably lithography, and book production and publication. He held one man exhibitions at the Foundation (as well as at his gallery in Paris), and for each of these produced a catalogue illustrated by the exhibiting artist. A man for all seasons Maeght rightly belongs to that great company of collectors and supporters of the arts which includes Beyeler, Guggenheim, Saatchi, Morosov, Schukin, Vollard, Kahnweiler and many others who in modern times have taken over where the medieval princely patrons of the arts left off. We in the London area are fortunate indeed that part of this superb collection, arranged in association with the Gallery Maeght in Paris has come to the Royal Academy, thereby making it easily accessible to us – but viewers most certainly come from all over the UK and abroad.

Works by Bonnard and Matisse lead into the show which, however, is soon devoted to the art of the four masters named earlier. Miro is in typically sprightly mood with his childlike figures and bright colours drawing us into his phantasy universe. Examples include ‘Joy Of A Little Girl In Front Of The Sun’ not, as one might suppose, rendered in light tones but with red streaks against a black background, this somehow intensifying the child’s emotion. In ‘Birds’ Flight At The First Spark Of Dawn’ Miro does not attempt figuration of the perceived world but suggests movement via crudely painted, swirling arabesques in black paint against an off-white, twilight ground.

The American Alexander Calder is best known as the sculptor who made his creations move in their own space, encouraged by any passing breeze. In other words, his artefacts were ‘mobile’. So completely did this idea grip the public imagination that the Western world, in the ‘fifties and ‘sixties, was seized with a craze for ‘mobiles’, an example of which you could find suspended in countless drawing rooms and hallways from San Francisco to Berlin – well, West Berlin, anyway. ‘Three Yellow Suns’ is a kind of mega-example of the concept, rendered in painted metal and occupying about twelve feet of floor space – not one to which you could give house room!

Alberto Giacometti is represented by his highly individual sculpture, painting and drawing. Modelled at first in clay then cast in bronze his figures are painfully thin and elongated, conveying a haunting impression of the isolation and vulnerability of the human species. Out of respect for the artist’s vision and to give it the most appropriate context Maeght added a courtyard to the Foundation complex especially to house Giacometti’s figures. The artist’s drawings and painting, while displaying great technical skill, share a dark mood with the sculpture.

Aime Maeght caught up with Georges Braque long after the latter had parted company, artistically, with Picasso and Cubism. ‘The Echo’, of 1953/56, is a large still life which in subject matter recalls his Cubist period, but in manner is far removed from the austere fragmentation of Analytical Cubism. Here, with no suggestion of traditional perspective the composition as a whole and its component parts rest on a two-dimensional plane and achieve a lyrical graphic handling and synchromy. There are many examples of Braque’s flowering post-Cubist versatility both as to media and theme. His illustrations of Hesiod’s Theogony, engraved in plaster with a series of superimposed sinuous lines suggesting god-like figures, are examples of this.

This is an inspirational show, especially for artist members of Free Painters and sculptors, for whom freedom of expression is the bottom line. Perhaps, when all is said and done, the real achievement of these masters is not just what they have produced on canvas, or in metal or plaster or clay, so much as their ability to reach down into the hidden meaning of things in the perceived world – the deeper reality – and their success in giving expression to this through their various artefacts. Aime Maeght must surely be regarded as having made a significant contribution to this process.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Brent Affordable Art Show 2008

Brent Affordable Art Show 2008

Group show for BAR members. There will be a cabinet for small items. Daniel and Harris Solicitors will give three prizes: £150, £100 and £75

18th November to 19th December 2008


SEND IN DATES: Hand in work on Friday 14th November 3.00-6.00pm or on Saturday 15th November 3.00-6.00pm at The Gallery

PRIVATE VIEW: Thursday 20th November 6.00 – 8.00pm.

Open to members: Maximum of 5 works per artist, £6 per work. Membership (if you aren't already) is £20(£13 concessions), payable when entering work.
All work must be ready for hanging, framed and mounted, with D-rings attached to the back of the work. No clip, metal or plastic frames or non-reflecting glass. We use a hanging system with nylon strings. Small 3-D pieces for the cabinet. £4 each for up to 5 pieces per artist. These are submission fees not refundable; we’ll try to show as many works as possible.

Please complete both sections of the form one which BAR will keep, and the other form which will be your receipt. Bring the completed sheet with your remittance. Tie a label to one of the D-rings detailing: artist, title of work, medium, price. We give preference to new work (ie done 2007/8); no correspondence over selection or hanging. Everybody is welcome to help on Sunday 16th November 12 noon onwards.

We’ll notify you of any works not hung, please collect these at the Private View

No commission is taken. We have no storage facilities. Please collect your work on Thursday 18th 6-7pm or Friday 19th December 2-6pm

To make the exhibition as successful as possible, please make sure you invite your friends, family and clients to the show and to the preview party. Also please make sure you forward the email invite to your friends and ask them to do so.

STEWARDING THE GALLERY: unfortunately, it sometimes happens that volunteer stewards are prevented at the last minute from coming to invigilate the space, with the result that the gallery is not open when it should be. To avoid this we need two or three artists who are willing to act as back up, i.e. would be prepared at short notice to come and open up the gallery.

Please let me know if you would be willing to do this occasionally. Of course we hope it will not happen very often, but the alternative is for the gallery to be closed during a show and visitors disappointed.

Finally If you have agreed to invigilate the show on a particular day, please do remember to turn up! Most people are very conscientious, but it is unfair to the other artists if you forget and fail to open the gallery.

------------------------------Form to be retained by BAR--------------------------

Artists Name: ................................................ Tel No:....................E-mail......................................

Address: ......................................................................................................................................
Other items:

AMOUNT RECEIVED........................... ARTIST’S SIGNATURE........................................................
RECIPIENT’S SIGNATURE:...................................................... DATE...........................

------------------------------Copy to be retained by the artist--------------------------

Artist’s Name: ................................................ Tel No:.................... e-mail .......................................

Address: ......................................................................................................................................


Other items:

AMOUNT RECEIVED...........................
ARTIST’S SIGNATURE........................................................
RECIPIENT’S SIGNATURE:...................................................... DATE..........................
Please collect your work on Thursday 18th Dec 6-7pm or Friday 19th December 2-6pm. Works not collected will be kept for 3 weeks afterwards they’ll sold, given or destroyed.


FOR MORE DETAILS : Lorenzo Belenguer 020 8459 1421

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Images from Big Draw exhibition at the Troubadour Gallery:October 2008

Big Draw exhibition at the Troubadour Gallery: October 2008

Friday, 31 October 2008

Summary of the art workshop ‘Journey’ 25.10.08 with Shirley Kelly,

People arrived gradually and after the formalities we sat down and really introduced
ourselves. Shirley asked us to sit in a circle and to share our names and the journey we had had that morning and what we wanted out of the day.

Some people shared that they believed fervently that everyone was creative and that not having an outcome would free them up to get more in touch with their inner creativity. One person shared how she wanted to access her creative side having felt so far in her life too confined in the logical deductive processes of the mind.

Our morning incorporated working with clay. Shirley made it clear that the objects madewere not important in the sense of their final outcome. In fact as I sat there I felt drawn inside myself, strangely in touch with a vulnerability I had not anticipated feeling. The clay seemed to direct my hands as I found the shapes, rather than seeming to make them.

Continuing on the theme of ‘Journey’, using creative imagination, we visualised an inner wishing well where we each drew out the gifts we needed. Using collage each person then creatively expressed their unique gift. By the end of this activity each of us had developed an iconic image, important not for what it looked like, but for what it symbolised being richly representative of each person’s individual quest. A deep sense of respect for our creative process, free from judgement in a spirit of acceptance, made this workshop a really moving experience.

Mike Oldfield’s ‘Music of the Spheres’ was played before we parted on our respective journeys home. So in conclusion I hope that in future FPS will continue to endorse further workshops with Shirley.

Her status as a ukcp registered integrative arts psychotherapist means she could help FPS provide a valuable service not just to FPS members but also potentially to ordinary members of the public, who from all walks of life could be enabled to explore the creative process, this being something that is encouraged in the statutes of FPS as an arts educational charity and a function the Arts Council would certainly endorse. I know that there is often an uneasy relationship between professional artists and those who use art as a means of personal transformation which is probably why FPS members did not come forward to take part on this occasion.

However I feel that as long as we are aware of the intention behind what we do we run no danger of either diminishing the status of art nor undermining the personal endeavours of those who seek to access their creativity and discover something of themselves in the process. Indeed workshops like these seem to me to provide a future avenue for a society that needs to establish closer links with the general public, funding bodies and also with its own members if it is to survive in the long term.

(Penelope MacEwen, Outreach Officer)

Monday, 15 September 2008


Come and see an exhibition of Harry's 90th of painting done over the years at St Paul Village Hall on Sat & Sun 4th & 5th October from 2-6pm. One third of sale prices to "The Three Village Trust" and one third to "Hospice for Children in Cornwall".

Contact. Harry Sales, Four Winds,Mousehole Lane,Paul,Penzance, Cornwall TR19 6TY
tel 01736 731997

Monday, 28 July 2008

The Paintings of Len Wyatt By Phillip Worth

Len Wyatt in this studio.

When Len Wyatt passed away earlier this year after a long illness FPS was saddened to lose one of its most brilliantly inventive artists. Len began his training at the Hornsey College of Art when still a teenager, but then war broke out and he spent the next six years of his life in khaki, taking part in the D-Day landings in 1944.

After demob he had no difficulty in deciding his future course and resumed his studies at Hornsey, graduating in the early ‘fifties. He soon linked up with the Free Painters Group in its very early days and remained and active member until poor health forced his retirement at the turn of the century.

Len gave his all to FPS, not only his riveting artwork in countless group and solo exhibitions, but his huge energy and enthusiasm which helped to mould its destinies. And, in a way, his approach to his own work echoed the sacred objects of FPS – to strive for originality with excellence and, above all, to be completely free in style and in the search for themes. Len was truly a free spirit, going wherever his inspiration took him and owing little to hallowed wisdom or blinkered ‘-isms’.

What a joy, then, that Len’s vibrant spirit and art should live on, and public awareness be assured, through the promotional activities and zeal of his son Chris. A teacher and artist like his father, Chris has always been determined that Len’s work will not fade from public scrutiny, but be permanently accessible and available to enrich our lives in countless ways. An energetic character who is involved in many public activities in his home town of Ilford, Chris launched his campaign for his father’s work in typically opportunistic style. He was aware that the long established department store of Harrison Gibson would be vacating their premises in Ilford High Street, so he suggested to the Prudential Insurance Company who took over the building and its site that, pending redevelopment, rather than leave any floor standing empty, he should fill it with artwork, thus enhancing the structure’s attractiveness for those members of the public who still frequented it. The Pru readily agreed, and over two weekends Chris converted the whole of an upper floor into a Len Wyatt retrospective – to quite sumptuous effect, with 150 items decorating the vast wall space as far as the eye can see.
Most of Len Wyatt’s life’s work is on these walls, so every aspect of his art is represented. His restless, questing imagination reached for the stars and beyond, taking us into the realms of mystery and the remote. Undreamed of planets appear, glowing strangely in every kind of colour and decked in surface patterns which cannot exist in our universe – perhaps in a parallel one. To take a very few examples at random ‘Crystal Planet’ shimmers in evanescent blues, darks and lights, like a vast marble hanging in a shifting purple space. ‘Arcturus’ gives us a slice of a distant red giant – except that Len had turned it into a blue giant and covered it with swirling, tortured figures in a space apparently slashed through with criss-crossed sword blades.

This artist is a time traveller as well as a space traveller as the pictures ‘Star Factory’ and ‘Exploding Star’ both bear witness. No doubt he was fascinated as well as influenced by the ‘Big Bang’ theory of the origins of the universe. And in case you think that his sole concern is to wander round the cosmos as a disembodied spirit, ‘Moon Lander’ and ‘Space City’ suggest highly sophisticated man-made conveyances which could carry him (and us) to anywhere, near or far.

Back on earth (although perhaps still with the stars in spirit) there are many examples of the artist’s sensuous handling of the nude female form. Apparently Len never used live models; like Pygmalion he preferred to let his imagination create his own ladies, and his superb draftsmanship enabled him to do this with ease. ‘Water Nymph’ gives us a full-length figure seemingly floating face down on a river of deep, opaque blue. In ‘Moon Bride’ the figure of a naked girl is seen drawn into the embrace of a great blue orb, while ‘Eve’ presents an iconic figure of womanhood, standing proudly upright and facing us, seductive yet mystical as she seems to float through a shifting haze of subtle colours.

Space does not permit more than a passing reference to other ideas developed by this many-sided artist. One of the earliest pieces on show, entitled ‘Despair’, painted soon after the end of WW2, perhaps echoes some of the depression which that conflict and its horrors must have induced in a sensitive young soul. The elements in this study are ones which are constantly repeated throughout Len Wyatt’s oeuvre, but here seen, as it were, through a dark, melancholy veil. A female figure lies face down, as if collapsed under a burden too heavy to bear. Her hair (and the artist is obsessed with women’s hair) flows darkly, like the Styx, all over and around her yielding body, while in the background broken and stunted trees thrust out their tortured limbs in hopeless supplication. Having got that out of his system, however, all of Len’s subsequent work is upbeat and life enhancing.

‘Blue Conflict’ is an abstract in which, (leaving figures behind), he revels in sensuously flowing forms and ravishing colour. And ‘Dragon City’, depicting a monster one would not wish to meet on a dark night, shows the strong influence of fantasy art.

One cannot close this review without a word about Len’s idiosyncratic working methods. He was quite at home with most media and, as one of the first to use acrylic, handled this with great sureness. He also favoured spray paint as a medium, mastering its application and achieving subtle and delicate effects. His speciality, however, was collage, using an astonishing array of bits and bobs, including fabrics, pieces of wood and Perspex, the innards of clapped out radios – you name it. Whatever he could find, natural or man-made, and wherever he found it, was grist to his mill. His family must often have been knee-deep in detritus! But, whatever, he was a wizard in the way he used it. Thus his planets, spacecraft and dragons became vast figures of complex machinery, and even some of his female nudes were mechanistic in this way. But in that case there was serious intent, the aim being to show the human body as a highly sophisticated engine, with all its parts interdependent and interacting. All of this must surely be collage art at its most effective.

But the last word of this review should be accorded to what, at the end of the day, is perhaps Len’s most important contribution to art awareness – his teaching. Unusually by modern standards he worked in the same primary school throughout his career, teaching the full range of subjects, and thus leaving a significant amount of creative energy over for his own artwork. But you can bet his pupils benefited from this, too. He often brought his latest work into class, adding its impact to his infectious enthusiasm. Surely the hundreds, perhaps thousands of people who passed through his hands as pupils over the years have been enriched by their contact with Len Wyatt.

Blue Conflict (detail)

Crystal planet (detail)


Dragon City


Exploding Star

Moon Bride

Moon Lander Red (detail)

Space City (detail)

Star Factory(detail)

Water Nymph

More of Len Wyatt's work can be seen on this blog at