Fred Yates (1922-2008)

Many of you will know that we had a very close relationship with Fred Yates and held several highly successful exhibitions of his work over the years. 

Fred had spent around the last ten years in France, ending up in the commune of La Motte Chalançon in Drôme Provençale.  He had decided that he wanted to spend the last years of his life in England and I met him in June 2008 at the Talbot Inn in Mells as he wanted me to see the house he intended to buy in Frome and to discuss his forthcoming exhibition with us in Stockbridge.

The agent took us to this very pleasant terraced house on the outskirts of Frome, which Fred had agreed to buy.  It had been totally renovated by a builder and had a ready-made studio in the garden -- perfect.

Back into Frome, a walk with my dog Figgy beside the river and tea at the George where Fred was staying and it was time to say goodbye.  I wished him a safe trip back to France the next day, don't overdo it at your age, Fred, and I'll see you in a week or so when you come back to sign the contract.  He then told me to wait a minute as he had a present for me -- a little painting he'd done the day before.  I said that it must be very wet and he retorted in that Fred way, with a grin, "Oh no, it's not a real painting, it's an acrylic!"  It was of the river walk we had just done.  I shall cherish it till the the day I die.

Fred never did get to live in Frome.  He went back to France to get his affairs in order and put his properties there on the market.  About a week later, he stepped off the train in London and had a massive heart attack from which he never regained consciousness.

In my opinion, and that of many others, Fred Yates was the leading British primitive painter of his generation.  His work brings joy to his many and ever-growing band of devotees.

Geoffrey Dashwood

Geoffrey Dashwood was born in Hampshire, England in 1947. At the age of fifteen he won a scholarship to study fine art at Southampton College of Art, but left after a brief period, preferring to study directly from nature. He worked in varied occupations to support himself and experimented in various art mediums and techniques in his spare time. His last employment was with the Forestry Commission, engaged as a keeper in the New Forest, where he also became the unofficial artist in residence for his employers. Dashwood left the Forestry Commission in his mid-twenties to pursue a freelance career in art and soon received commissions for illustrations and design work, whilst concurrently drawing and painting independently.

In the 1980s Dashwood discovered a gift and a passion for sculpture. His earliest works were small, highly realistic studies in the mainstream of traditional English wildlife art and comparable in style to the famous 19th century French Animalier School of Sculpture. Although these early works brought him commercial success, he became increasingly dissatisfied with the constraints of realism and the lack of personal expression the genre afforded him.

Dashwood started to experiment with larger life-size and monumental works and began to eliminate all superfluous details, creating boldly modelled pieces. He refined his sculptures to attain smooth, tactile, pure forms, further enhanced in bronze by the application of coloured and multi-coloured patinas. In these sculptures he combined his own aesthetic ideals, establishing a distinctive style which is now internationally recognised as being quintessentially Dashwood.

Although his body of work can be classified within the wildlife art genre it is generally considered by many to transcend the subject matter and has also firmly established acceptance within the wider field of contemporary art. His affinity for and empathy with birds and his unique ability to express these emotions to others through his sculpture is undisputed. Dashwood’s work is exhibited and collected worldwide.

All Sculptures are Bronze.

Nael Hanna

Stephen Henderson

Stephen grew up amongst intensely artistic surroundings, as the youngest of four children. He is the son of renowned photographer and pop-artist Nigel Henderson. His mother Judith was raised in and around the infamous Bloomsbury Group, as a niece of Virginia Woolf. The family moved to the East Essex coast in the 1950s, with Stephen being born shortly afterwards in 1956. His teenage years were spent shooting and fishing on the marshes, where he developed a keen eye for the movements and habits of wildfowl and fish. Even today, the workshop and studio at his family home look out across those very same marshes, providing a constant source of inspiration.

Stephen has developed his own painting techniques over time, combining washes of emulsion paints with stained and clear waxes. Together with delicate highlights of silver leaf, these help to create a subtle approximation of scales and feathers. In recent years he has progressed on to larger works, incorporating welded metal armatures and assorted salvaged metal from reclaimed hot water tanks and corrugated iron. Another recent development has been the introduction of fret-cut iron profiles, together with bleached driftwood. This results in a more natural weathered look, suitable for display both outside and in.

“Growing up in South-East England on the Essex Marshes, I developed a love of wildlife in general and of birds and fish in particular. In my work I hope in some way to capture a gesture or attitude that will resonate with the viewer in the same way as it does for me. I try to represent my own emotional response to my subjects rather than pursuing correct anatomical detail.

The biggest influence on my work came from meeting Guy Taplin, and seeing his carvings at first hand in his workshop was a revelation. From my father, I learned to trust my own eyes and delight in the finding of discarded objects, but there were a lot of resonances here with the way Guy had been working. Many found items became trophies in their own right, lifted off the beach or from a wrecked boat or building and given new significance.

My work is inspired by the native shorebirds and fish species of my locality, together with wildlife observed on holidays and travels from around the world. Carving out of pieces of found wood and Eastern White Pine, I mount my work on driftwood and natural weathered timber. I work with themes such as motherhood, courtship and predation, trying to reflect the mannerisms of individual creatures and their personalities.” 

Paul Treasure

Paul’s style is expressive, energetic and full of colour. His paintings capture the feeling and emotion of a place, whilst depicting the interplay between light, land, water and sky. His dramatic interpretations of the English landscape show his response to the ever-changing seasons, weather and light; and his bold use of palette knife, brush strokes and mixed media result in distinctive mark-making which culminates in vigorous, textured landscapes.

Paul was born in 1961, in Gloucestershire, and studied at Cheltenham College of Art. He then moved to London, working from his studio in Holborn where he undertook commissions for public works of art, worldwide, as well as collections for private clients.

In 1991 he took a year’s sabbatical to paint whilst travelling the world, this journey took him through Africa, India, Southeast Asia and Central America. On his return he was invited to exhibit the paintings inspired by his travels in several solo shows. 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 at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

He now lives and works from his studio in Hampshire and continues to exhibit around the country, whilst still travelling abroad regularly to find inspiration for his paintings. His most recent work is inspired by the landscapes and coastal areas of England.

Victor Richardson

Victor was born in East Belfast. He says, "The big yellow cranes of Harland and Wolf loomed over the rooftops of the rows of tiny red brick terrace houses that were my world. My father, like so many others, worked in the shipyard. He was a carpenter, a master at billiards and he liked a pint. My mother on the other hand was religious. She believed the world was about to end in the final day of wrath that the Bible calls Armageddon. As a child I was often told that I would never grow old. Her belief was that the end was so close, I probably would never finish school. As I grew up, our friends were people who thought that there had actually been a Garden Of Eden. A lovely place full of beautiful trees and crystal clear rivers. You can imagine how this fired the imagination of a boy, who had from an early age, loved to draw". 

"Now in my sixties and having finished my education a long time ago, I have had to come to terms with the fact that not only have I grown old, but my demise is fast approaching. Looking back it is perhaps no surprise that dreams of a lost Eden have informed my work. I have made a career painting verdant watery landscapes, from the vast humid marshes of the American Deep South, to the intimate, intricate medieval canals of the Marais Poitevin in Western France. Echoes of that lost world can even be found in the glittering dappled light falling like an enchantment on the still water of Dublin's Grand Canal. With eyes half closed, drowsy in summer heat, one can almost glimpse it". 

David Atkins

David Atkins was born in Greenwich, London in 1964.  He studied painting at St Martins School of Art, London and Winchester School of Art gaining a 1st Class Honours Degree in painting.

After leaving college he returned to London, where he taught part time and continued painting. He exhibits regularly throughout the UK and has been awarded numerous prizes including the Horan prize for Painting at the NEAC Exhibition in London and the Façade International Prize for Painting at the Discerning Eye Exhibition in London. He was recently awarded the Baltic Exchange Prize 2018 for painting in the RMSA Exhibition at the Mall Galleries London.

He now lives and works in Dorset.

‘David Atkins has established himself as an evocative painter of landscapes and, particularly, of the urban scene. His is a broad brush, the sweep and colour of it bold and clear, and he brings to the city the eye for transitory light and temperature and atmosphere that is more usually applied to rural landscape. With him we explore cities, not always in the bright clear Kodak light of the Canaletto imitator, but at dawn and sunset and often in the damp truth of autumn and the tenebrous contrasts of the street at night; his is the sometimes sceptical eye of the honest observer, seeing London and Dublin, New York and Barcelona, as we have all experienced them’.

Brian Sewell (1931-2015), Art Critic 

Colin Carruthers

Colin Carruthers was born in Antrim, Northern Ireland and studied at the Birmingham Institute of Art, gaining a BA Hons in Painting. His textural paintings depict landscapes and seascapes, often in the form of diptychs and triptychs, which are intended to convey the ever-changing aspects of nature.

Carruthers says, "For me, my relationship with the landscape is constantly changing. One of the most important features of my style lies in the fact that I try not to use any obvious references. Geographical landmarks, people and the signs of society are all stripped away from view in order to create a space which can be more enticing, raw, or subjective. I wanted to do this to release a new energy, and a new way of looking. Hopefully, it allows each viewer a chance to approach the piece of art in their own way. I don’t want to present the landscape as a finished product, or as a fait accompli. What adds to the experience of my painting is the sense of ongoing changes in perception. Land constantly changes, the coast keeps remaking itself. I want my canvases to reflect that possibility".

Oil on canvas unless stated otherwise.

Margaret Egan

Born in Co. Wexford, Ireland, Egan studied at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin from 1967-69.  She now lives and works in Dublin and has been exhibiting her work to much critical acclaim.

Captivated by people and landscape, her distinctive work explores the endless possibilities of relationships between the two. With themes ranging from still life to haunting portraits of a physical yet mystical Ireland she focuses on what she calls the language of the land and its history. Egan draws inspiration from everyday life and events and works from memory to ensure the feeling is always true and emotive.

Over the past thirty years Egan has firmly established herself in the Irish art arena and has held solo exhibitions in Dublin, Cork, Britain, France, New York and Singapore. Her work, shown regularly at the RHA, has been exhibited throughout Ireland since 1984 and features in private, national and international collections across all continents. 

"Last year I was lucky enough to be working around Loop Head in Co Clare and it literally took my breath away. There is something about the ocean that is spellbinding, it has a rawness and serenity, a freedom “to be” that excites and stimulates".

Her figurative pieces explore the nature of living with all its realities, possibilities and dreams and all the philosophies that lie behind that, all of which she never tires of exploring.”