Grant Watson’s colourfully expressive paintings include landscapes, studies of scenes of every day urban life, cityscapes and still lives. Every day and pastoral subjects seem imbued with a passion for heightened hues, contrast, texture and as well the act of painting. Much of Grant’s painting is finished in one session, and the neo-Fauvist style of his pictures has a joyful nostalgia, what he describes as a “a mourning of the time that has passed.” Similarly there is a way of treating the surface of the picture that connects Grant’s transformative approach to painting to that of the Fauvists and other classical modernists, whose work was similarly governed by an entirely subjective yet rhythmic treatment of mark making and pigment. The artist notes: I like to transform an image in some way, to take it to unknown territory rather than a literal translation in paint.”
For many, it is the quality of abstraction and voluptuousness of colour in Watson’s work that intrigues, in the way the paint itself seems sometimes a subject. In the paintings, the artist uses the device of schematic division and flatness. He has laid out arrangements of shapes, colours with areas of exposed canvas or white spaces, which as a whole become form and even pattern. Watson’s virtuosity in capturing the relationship between observation and representation and qualities of abstraction make his work startling beautiful. Of this way of building harmony and dissonance, he shares: “I think at the end of the day all paintings are abstract, by virtue of the fact that they are made up of an arrangement of shapes and colours; I think I relish this fact, perhaps particularly as I come from a background of abstract painting. I use an image as a starting point and respond through form and mark making and attempt to create a rhythmic space within which feelings and sensations can potentially be clarified.”
Rosa JH Berland
BA fine Art, Portsmouth Polytechnic
MA Fine Art, Eastern Illinois University
Advanced Studies in Drawing, Antonio Ratti Foundation, led by Karel Appel, Eric Fischl, Anish Kapoor and Gerard Garouste
2019 Creekside Open, APT Gallery, London, selected by Brian Griffiths. Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London. NEAC Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London. Urban Contemporaries, Espacio Gallery, London. Aspect, Contemporary Landscape, Royal Glasgow Institute, Kelly Gallery, Glasgow.
2018 Paper Cuts, Saatchi Gallery, London. Past present and future, Collect Art Gallery, Cheshire.
2017 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London. Collateral Drawing Archive, Margate Washhouse, Margate and The Brewery Tap UCA Project Space, Folkestone.
2015 Creekside Open 2015, APT Gallery, London, selected by Richard Deacon. Zebedee Jones, Dominic Lewis, Grant Watson, 32SQM Project Space, London. The London Group Draw II, The Cello Factory, London. Platform Projects, Art-Athina, Athens.
2014 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London. Collateral Drawing, curated by Lubomirov-Easton, Plymouth College of Art. Platform Projects, Art-Athina, Athens.
2013 Postcard From My Studio, ACME Project Space, London.
2012 The Seven Lamps, Lubomirov-Easton, London.
2011 The London Group Open, selected by William Feaver and Jenni Lomax, The Cello Factory, London.
2009 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London.
2008 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London. The Galleria Open Studios, London.
2006 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London. The Galleria Open Studios, London.
2004 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London. The Galleria Open Studios, London.
2003 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London.
2002 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London.
1999 International Emerging Artists, Sothebys, Tel Aviv and Chicago.
1996 The Dean Street Garage Sale, curated by Paul Morrison and David LaRiviere, London.
1995 Geraldine Anvari Gallery, London (solo show). New World Designo, Latitude Gallery, Edmonton, Canada.
1994 International Drawing, Antonio Ratti Foundation, Como, Italy. Whitechapel Open Studios, Carpenters Road, London.
1993 Maltings Gallery, Farnham, Surrey. International Drawing, Antonio Ratti Foundation, Como, Italy.
1992 4 in 1, Smiths Gallery, London.
1991 Lawrence Batley Centre, Bretton Hall, Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
1989 City Art Museum, Charleston, Illinois (solo show).
Antonio Ratti Foundation purchase prize for drawing.