<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
12 ISSUES FOR £24 Subscribe to EADT Suffolk today click here

A little more conversation . . . with artist Graham Crowley

PUBLISHED: 09:15 17 February 2015 | UPDATED: 09:15 17 February 2015

At home with painter Graham Crowley.

At home with painter Graham Crowley.

Archant

One of Britain’s leading contemporary artists has recently arrived in Suffolk, and as Andrew Clarke discovers, he is marking his arrival by participating in a major exhibition at The Sainsbury Centre

At home with painter Graham Crowley. At home with painter Graham Crowley.

Graham Crowley is an artist, but more than that, he is a painter.

He has spent a lifetime captivated by a fascination with painting. He loves the way that paint can illuminate a canvas, create atmosphere, texture and define an idea. For Graham, painting is all about a dialogue with the viewer – it is about communication, generating a discussion about thoughts and ideas.

He believes that art is great for advancing arguments for social change. It can shine a spotlight on aspects of life that would otherwise be overlooked in the world of petty point-scoring, for example, in modern politics.

“Art is about life. It is about us, so nothing is off limits,” he says.

No SuchThinge by Graham Crowley No SuchThinge by Graham Crowley

Graham is a recent arrival in Wickham Market after a life that he admits has been characterised by itchy feet.

Born in Essex, he attended St Martin’s School of Art and lived in London for many years before spells in Oxford, Cardiff, Staunton in the Forest of Dean, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton and then West Cork, Ireland, before returning to London.

He moved partly because that was where the work was, but he looked for paid residencies because he wanted to explore different places and he wanted his children to experience a life that was not rooted in central London.

Graham arrived in Wickham Market, which he is cheerfully predicting will be his last move, seven months ago.

“It’s a fantastic place and Suffolk has a wonderful artistic heritage. I knew East Anglia very well, having been born in Romford and going to school in Chelmsford. I decided to move here at the age of 64 because I didn’t want to spend my final years, however many they may be, in SE22.

“More than that I wanted another chapter in my life, another adventure, another project. I am not a slave to commodity. I never have been someone to land on a signature style and then spend the next 40 years turning out variations of that central theme. My art changes with time and experience and I wanted to explore a new world.”

He understands why galleries like artists to deliver recognisable work – it makes it easier to sell – but artistic integrity also has to remain intact.

“I understand that we have to sell our work. I do like to eat and we all have bills to pay. I have no problem with reality but, like John Ruskin in the 19th century, I believe that art is not just about pleasure it should also make us think more.”

Graham Crowley currently has two paintings on display at the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich in the Reality: Modern and Contemporary British Painting exhibition, alongside such heavyhitters as Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon, David Hockney, George Shaw, Caroline Walker and Jenny Saville.

“Art can help us become better people. My painting No Such Thing was my response to Mrs Thatcher’s statement that there was no such thing as society. You can make of it what you will.

“I am not dictating a response, but the painting is the starting point for a discussion you can have with yourself, your family/friends, or even with your local MP. Everyone brings their own ideas and their own life experiences to a picture so everyone sees it differently.

“I describe art not as an activity, but as a discourse. It’s not a case of whether you like it or not, but what you think about it is really important. Good art doesn’t supply all the answers. It’s up to you to join all the dots and come up with your own take on things.”

Graham says one of the most important aspects of his landscapes are the shadows because they represent an absence of information – it is up to the viewer to fill in the blanks.

“The subject matter may be the landscape, but the content is light and shadow. The shadows make them what they are.”

Graham is not only a painter. Writing is a valuable part of the artistic dialogue he seeks. Essays and interviews are posted to his website and some have been collected together in a book, I Don’t Like Art, which is to be published later this year.

“It isn’t art criticism, it’s creative writing. It’s a collection of reflections on the work of several contemporary painters – a vehicle for current ideas regarding culture and value.

“I like to avoid using the word art when I can because the word is often used as a euphemism or an evasion. There is no intelligible definition of art and no one seriously asks themselves ‘what is art?’ any longer. Like gravity, we have to accept it.”

Graham has no intention of retiring or slowing down. “I paint because I love painting, so why would I want to stop? Besides I have a wonderful new county to explore.”

Reality: Modern and Contemporary British Painting runs at The Sainsbury Centre, Norwich until March 1.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other EADT Suffolk Magazine visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by EADT Suffolk Magazine staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique EADT Suffolk Magazine account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The arrival of summer may have got us thinking of sandy beaches and beautiful scenery, but why go abroad when Suffolk has all of this (and more) to offer? Here is a selection of some of the best places to stay in this glorious county…

Read more
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Taking its name from the river that forms its north-west border, the district of Waveney in Suffolk is home to what are arguably some of the most beautiful villages in the county. From hosting picturesque beaches to sites of great historic significance, here are some of the best places in the district for sampling a slice of rural life.

Read more
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

As the temperatures start to rise with the arrival of summer, there’s no better place to while the long days away than Suffolk. With its spectacular selection of beaches, stately homes and open parkland, you’ll be spoilt for choice with places to go…

Read more
Monday, July 10, 2017

In many ways, Aldeburgh brings together the best of Suffolk, all in one spot. Fabulous shops, great food and drink, art galleries and the beach . . . . it’s all there for exploring

Read more
Thursday, July 6, 2017

As summer finally begins to set in now is the perfect time to pack up a hamper, grab some blankets and find the perfect picnic spot near you.

Read more
Wednesday, July 5, 2017

With its offering of historic castles, scenic walks and fantastic food, what’s not to love about Suffolk? We’ve picked some perfect places to enjoy a summer’s day out, rain or shine (it is England, after all…)

Read more
Monday, July 3, 2017

Epicurious visitors to the county should definitely include a visit to this charming coastal spot, where there’s an award-winning eatery or producer practically at every turn

Read more
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Great shopping, great food and drink, and lots of fascinating history

Read more
Friday, June 23, 2017

Take our quiz to find out how well you really know your county

Read more
Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sitting pretty along the coast and moving a little way in land, Suffolk is home to some wonderful towns and villages perfect for a weekend away, day trip or even a summer staycation

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter



Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
EADT Suffolk Application Link

Local Business Directory

Suffolk's trusted business finder

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search