Tuesday, July 29, 2003

It is sad to discover an interesting artist by reading his obituary. This was how I learned of Cliff Wilkinson, a painter who shared my love for the Lake District. He developed a style of painting quickly in order to capture the quickly changing effects of light which can be so lovely in mountain landscapes. Judging by the illustration that accompanied his obituary he developed a spontaneous free style approaching abstract expressionism. In this picture ‘Lakeland Walk’ the colours are right and the marks are textural and evocative.

Wilkinson taught at the Borough Polytechnic from 1950-59 that was about the time that David Bomberg established the Borough Bottega and became influential in developing the style taken further by the likes of Frank Auerbach. Wilkinson seems to owe something to Bomberg too. After studying printmaking at the RCA he ran the School of Printmaking in the Fine Art Department at the Manchester College of Art.

Brian Morley, writing the obituary, explains Wilkinson’s attitude to printmaking - dismissed often a mere ‘craft., Wilkinson had no time for ‘..snobbish distinctions: “It’s all shapes and colours in the end,” he said.” I like that. Apparently he rarely showed his work but I hope someone will organise a major retrospective in his memory – I would love to see it.

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