My visit to Worcester Art Gallery on Monday was a depressing experience. Why is it that art educators these days seem to be lost in their own peculiar world which has little reference to the world of exciting and interesting development which the rest of us experience. More creative ingenuity is displayed in contemporary technology than you will find in the Art Colleges.
The contemporary artists which really interest me are those who are largely self taught and have become painters out of love for the craft after experience in a different kind of work. John Yardley and John Blockley are examples from an older generation, another is Mark Leach who works mostly in pastels and whose work tends towards abstract landscape. Generally when these painters talk or write about painting they express themselves in plain words – a refreshing change from the unintelligible prattle of the academics.
Here is a brief quotation from an article which Mark Leach wrote in ‘The Artist’ in April 2003. It interests me because it challenges traditional practice.
‘Each painting is a recollection. To that end, I rarely do preliminary studies, and hardly ever work on site. This I now realise just confuses my feelings. I literally cannot see the wood for the trees. What I try to do is make use of my memory. I want the finished paintings to be like a memory where the mind over time has sieved out all extraneous detail and left only the relevant.’
Mark is developing a web site at .www.markleach.net