Approved: 28.02.2017

Graeme Willson

Art historian, Artist, Critic, Curator, Lecturer / academic

Approved: 28.02.2017

Graeme Willson is an independent artist based in the Yorkshire town of Ilkley, just north of Leeds-Bradford. He has exhibited nationally, in London and abroad and has also a considerable reputation as on artist working in public places: his works for York Minster and the Leeds Corn Exchange are well known to a wide public. Over the last 15 years he has also developed a practice in stained glass, working in partnership with the Martin Johnson Workshop in York. Examples of his work in watercolour have recently been acquired by Leeds City Art Galleries for their permanent collection.

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  • Location: Ilkley, nr. Leeds, Yorkshire
 

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    Biography

    Graeme Willson is an independent artist based in the Yorkshire town of Ilkley, just north of Leeds-Bradford. He has exhibited nationally, in London and abroad and has also a considerable reputation as on artist working in public places: his works for York Minster and the Leeds Corn Exchange are well known to a wide public. Over the last 15 years he has also developed a practice in stained glass, working in partnership with the Martin Johnson Workshop in York. Examples of his work in watercolour have recently been acquired by Leeds City Art Galleries for their permanent collection.

    Graeme is a versatile artist whose work covers a broad range of themes, but is principally concerned with the human face and figure. Occasionally references to architecture, landscape and natural forms are included. Geometry can also make itself felt in his painting either as a subtle background presence, or as part of some architectural underpinning. In addition, the very processes and methods of painting itself can form a large part of the subject, bringing the work to the verge of abstraction, as in the piece below.

    Current concerns focus on human relationships, particularly between the sexes, and what might be termed the 'ambience' of a particular subject and its expression through form and colour. Graeme's work has always maintained a fine balance between the traditional and the contemporary. References to classical myth or Renaissance imagery are subtly interwoven and reworked in relation to experimental and innovatory working methods. At the heart of his work is a fascination with the human condition and the look of things and ideas which 'project' that condition.

    CV & Education

    Curriculum Vitae

     

    • Born North Yorkshire
      Reading University, Degree in Fine Art and History of Art
    • 1975
    • Freelance painter and visiting lecturer at; Bradford & Ilkley Community College.
      Chelsea College, London.
      Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies, University of York.
      Bretton Hall College

    Exhibitions (Solo)

    • 1976
    • Sloane St. Gallery, London
    • 1980
    • Cartwright Hall, Bradford College
    • 1981
    • St. Pauls Gallery, Leeds
    • 1982
    • Arcade Gallery, Harrogate
    • 1983
    • Hawksworth Gallery, Ilkley
    • 1986
    • Dean Clough Contemporary Art Gallery, Halifax
    • 1987
    • Hawksworth Gallery, Ilkley
    • 1988
    • Smith's Gallery, Covent Gardens, London (with Tom Wood)
    • 1989
    • RIBA Gallery, London
    • 1989
    • University of Bradford Gallery
    • 1990
    • University of Leeds Gallery
    • 1992
    • Bloomsbury Gallery, London 
    • 1995
    • Assembly Rooms, York
    • 1998
    • 'Picturing Sounds' Manor House Gallery, Ilkley (with Alan Flood)
    • 2005
    • The Process of Landscape' Lotherton Hall, Leeds

    Mixed Exhibitions

    • 1977
    • Serpentine Gallery, London
    • 1980
    • National Portrait Gallery, London ('The New Look in English Portraiture')
    • 1981
    • Cartwright Hall, Bradford 
    • 1982
    • Civic Art Gallery, Harrogate (Festival of Architecture)
    • 1983
    • Leeds Art Fair - annually
    • 1984
    • Francis Kyle Gallery, London and New York
    • 1985
    • Levitt Bernstein, London ('One Percent')
    • 1986
    • Leeds City Art Gallery ('Image Space Public')
    • 1987
    • 'New Art in Yorkshire', St. Paul's Gallery, Leeds
    • 1990
    • Bluestone Gallery, California
    • 1991
    • Neville Gallery, London and Canterbury
    • 1992
    • London Contemporary Art Society, Covent Garden, London
    • 1995
    • Northern Prospects, Harewood House
    • 2003
    • Zilah Bell Gallery, Thirsk
    • 2005
    • Goldmark Gallery, Uppingham

    Awards and Commissions

    • 1977
    • 1st Prize Art into Landscape Competition
    • 1978
    • Arts Council Award
    • 1979
    • Three Altarpiece Paintings for York Minster
    • 1980 - 82
    • Ceiling of St. Cuthbert's Chapel, York Minster
    • 1983
    • Royal Academy Award for Painting
    • 1984
    • Greater London Arts Association Award
    • 1988
    • Leeds Corn Exchange, Refurbishment
    • 1989
    • Provident Finance Group, Bradford College 
    • 1991
    • Portrait of Sir John Harvey-Jones for Bradford University
    • 1991
    • Portrait of Sir William Taylor for Hull University
    • 1991
    • Forbes Collection, New York
    • 1992
    • RSA Award for Collaboration
    • 1993
    • Portrait of Professor Ian Ward, Leeds University
    • 1994
    • Leeds Award for Architecture
    • 1995
    • Private Chapel, Windsor Castle (reredos painting)
    • 1996
    • Wm. Morrison's Supermarkets, Murals and Stained Glass
    • 2000
    • St. Mary's Warwick, Stained Glass
    • 2003
    • West Window, Stained Glass for St. Laurence, Rowington, Warwicks
    • 2004
    • Baptistry Painting, St. Margaret's Church, Ilkley
    • 2007
    • Etched Glass Angels, St. Margaret's Church, Ilkley

    Residencies (Artist in Residence)

    • 1987
    • 'Narrative Painting', Cartwright Hall, Bradford 
    • 1987
    • 'Inside Out', Leeds Art Gallery
    • 1989
    • Ilkley Literature Festival
    • 1990
    • 'Virtue Rewarded', Leeds City Art Gallery
    • 1996
    • Ilkley Concert Club