Rupert Gatfield (b.1959)

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Rupert Gatfield

Rupert Gatfield

Malaysia - b.1959

Rupert Gatfield sets out to at once seduce and confound the expectations of his viewer. A quick glance at his paintings may offer a nostalgic colour combination here, or the sculptural curve of something seemingly familiar there. But on closer inspection one discovers these initially reassuring signals and symbols are no longer keeping to the path.

He says he loves surprises and through the world he creates on canvas, enjoys ‘pulling a fast one’ on the unsuspecting viewer better still, one who comes armed with preconceptions. These are not paintings for calming and/or forgetting these paintings expect something of a two way workout with the viewer and will always distract or unsettle. He takes no undue pride in his finished, almost graphic, painting technique ‘the image and it’s ability to communicate is all,’ he says. His imagery is fished from the universal pool of human dreams and experience and is as a consequence, fundamentally accessible. His use of colour often seems to allude to the period of the 1930’s, but he is just as comfortable with black and white pencil on paper.Related link:

Gatfield is, save for the guiding influence of some enlightened art teachers at school, entirely self-taught.
There are moments when Gatfield’s work seems prophetic. His garden is a jungle of hybrids drawn from some strange, and perhaps inevitable, collision between the mechanised world and nature. And though the artist is the first to point out that any scientific substance to his paintings is merely the research of an enthusiastic amateur, his work convinces by the extent to which he is willing to push this imaginary world. These are paintings that offer a tiny glimpse into a landscape constructed on a much vaster scale by the artist; it seems to take his work far beyond the barriers of any picture frame.


<i>…Including pollination, predation & promotional facilities</i> Oil on linen 24 x 24 ins, (60.96 x 60.96 cms)
<i>Autobabel</i> Charcoal and pastel on paper 46 x 48 ins, (116.84 x 121.92 cms)
<i>From the Horns of Plenty to the Trumpets of the Dead</i> Oil on linen 54 x 54 ins, (137.16 x 137.16 cms)
<i>Golden carf</i> Oil on linen 18 x 18 ins, (45.72 x 45.72 cms)
<i>Jellybabel</i> Oil on linen 40¼ x 40¼ ins, (102.01 x 102.01 cms)
<i>Radiant Head</i> Oil on linen 18 x 18 ins, (46.00 x 46.00 cms)


Solo Exhibitions

2015 A Dark Eureka, John Martin Gallery Chelsea, London
2007 Six Months in the Beautiful Chaos, John Martin Gallery, London
2004 Shadow Gardens, John Martin Chelsea, London
2002 Carbonsync, John Martin Gallery, London
1996 Beaux Art Gallery, Bath
1993 Konicus Gallery, Bristol
1986 Danziger Metcalf Gallery, London

Group Exhibitions

2008 Take Your Seats: Charity Auction, Chelsea Arts Club, London
London Art Fair, John Martin Gallery, London
2007 Art London, John Martin Gallery, London
2006 Into the Jungle – A Homage to Rousseau, John Martin Gallery, London
New Year Exhibition, John Martin Gallery, London
2000 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London
1999 Pastel Society Annual Open, Mall Galleries, London
1998 Short List of 80 for Jerwood Painting Prize
Manchester Academy for Fine Arts Open
Royal West of Englad Academy Annual Open, Bristol
1997 New Art Center, Boston, USA
Beaux Art Gallery, Group Exhibition, London
1996 Royal Academy summer Exhibition, London
Biennial D’Alcoi, Spain
National Print Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London
1993 Bordeaux, Salon D’Hiver, France
Le Rire Bleu Figeac, France
1989 Royal Overseas League, London
1987 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London


1997 Manchester Academy of Fine Arts, First Prize and secondary award
1992 Bordeaux Salon D’Hiver, Grands Prix


1994 Millay Colony for the Arts, USA