|From||31 October 2015|
|To||22 November 2015|
|Private view||30 October 2015 6 to 8pm|
Illustrated Talk by Michael Blaker about his practice: Thursday 12 November 2015 6 for 6.30pm
In this exhibition at Lombard Street Gallery Michael shows a selection of work, etchings, paintings and watercolours, that at times hark back to his far-off student days, as well as recent figure subjects and a range of etchings made across his career featuring scenes in Paris, London, Thanet, Boulogne, Béziers, Rome etc. He has always been inspired by foreign scenes such as the stray cats in the Forum as much as by dog-walking in our own Ellington Park in Ramsgate and the sunshades on Broadstairs beach. His style varies from the architecturally accurate to the cartoon-influenced element of his early lithographs featuring his student band participation in the late fifties, a selection from which is included. Musical depiction is typical of this artist, and he also shows some etchings of his wife Catriona playing the piano. “I am interested” he says, “in what is going on in front of my eyes, at the incidents that occur in a specific place, such as fairgrounds, fiestas and anywhere people congregate. It is people and animals that bring a land or town-scape to life and demand to be portrayed in a given moment, and that is what I try to do.”
Michael Blaker is a writer and artist specialising in etching. He was for ten years editor/designer of the Printmakers Journal, the annual magazine of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, of which he is a Senior Fellow (RE). He has contributed many articles to Printmaking Today, of which he is an Editorial Consultant. He has also written extensively for the Artist Magazine, and Leisure Painter.
An article is currently in preparation about his etching techniques which will be included in a future issue of Printmaking Today, and he has also recently published under his own imprint of Prospect Lodge several new booklets: China Lily, a novella; The Anonymous Etcher, a semi-fictional history of the Royal Society of Painters-Etchers; An Artist’s Wartime Schooldays, an autobiographical recollection; and How I make my Etchings, which mirrors the lecture he will be giving at Lombard Street Gallery. Other recent booklets are: Hepzibah Van Cleese, an American Civil War vignette; and A Saga of Two Towns, a tale of a boy and his dogs in Kent.
In 2014 Michael gave a demonstration of printing at Mascalls Gallery, Paddock Wood, in connection with the exhibition there of etchings of Paul Drury PRE, for which he printed a selection of not previously proofed plates that the artist had left unfinished. In 2013 he published a booklet in colour of his etchings, from Prospect Lodge.
He has published under his own imprint of Beresford House The Autobiography of a Painter-Etcher, 1986, a booklet on his etchings, 1985, and an earlier selection of short novels in hundred copy limited editions, also under his own current imprint of Prospect Lodge, 1999-2002. He is the author of A Beginner’s Guide to Oil Painting, Bison Press, 1994, which reproduces many of his paintings. He wrote the Introductory notes to the Memorial Folio of Etchings by Paul Drury, Garton & Co. 1994. He wrote an article on his own etchings for the Mainichi Art News, Japan. He gave a lecture on his work at Bankside Gallery, 1992, afterwards printed in Watercolours and Drawings magazine. He has a self-portrait pen and ink drawing in the Tate Gallery Archive Collection of Art News and Review self portraits, which is published in the catalogue of this collection, 1989. Two Print Collectors Club Presentation Print etchings by him are in the Victoria and Albert Print Room.
He has exhibited etchings and paintings in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions; has etchings in the ship Oriana; was commissioned to make an etching of The Thames for Ocean Transport PLC; commissioned to make an oil copy of a Rossetti painting for the Bolton Steamship Company ship the Rossetti. He has worked in Sussex as assistant to inn-sign painter Crosby Cook, Ditchling and also painted a series of signs for fun-fair amusements on the West Pier, Brighton, now sadly no longer extant.
One-man shows of paintings and etchings include: Nevill Gallery, Canterbury; John Davies, Stow-on-the-Wold; Foyles, London; Medici, London; Lombard Street Gallery, Margate. Michael is also a past Academician of the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol.
He has illustrated A Dorset Bedside Anthology and made further illustrations and poster designs. He studied at Brighton School of Art 1945-1949 and 1956-60. His teachers included Leslie Cole, Charles Knight, RT Cowern, Charles Morris, Dennis Donn, Dorothy Coke, and James Woodford. He has etched cityscape plates of Paris, Venice, Vienna, Rome, Broadstairs, Ramsgate, Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, Como, Salzburg, Prague, Dieppe, London, Brighton, etc.
Michael ran his own gallery in youth in Avery Row, New Bond Street, 1951-1953, published four issues of his own magazine Art Gazette, and organised the Artists Under Thirty Exhibition, RBA Galleries, 1953.
In the late 1950s and early 60s he played rhythm-section piano and slide whistle in Jazz and Spasm bands, Brighton; The Eminent Victorians, The Portobello Jazzmen, The Spasmodic Six, The Union Place Revivalists.