“Old School Ties”
Several decades ago all these artists attended the Fine Art Department headed by the late Thomas Watt, an inspirational figure at Canterbury College of Art: Blake, Dolan, Ocean and Tonkin during the early 70’s, Harding and Jaques in the mid to late 70’s. Morris, Rigden and latterly Blake were amongst the many diverse visiting lecturers engaged there during this period.
Though not a formal “Group” with a manifesto or a common dedicated aim – save a commitment to achieve quality – the selection stems from the connexions formed at or post-Canterbury. The participants have habitually adhered to the conventional disciplines of 2D art: drawing, painting, printmaking and, with the notable exception of Ocean, have individually painted in a range of non-figurative styles between linear and painterly which it may be apparent have ‘cross-overs’ and links. Whilst pursuing individual careers = solo and group shows extensively in the UK and abroad, several in various combinations – have shown frequently together but for the first time in this particular permutation. All have exhibited at recent R.A. Summer shows. Morris and Ocean are elected RA’s.
Blake and Dolan made their homes in Kent since the Canterbury days. Jaques, Morris, Rigden and Tonkin occupy studios at APT, Deptford, SE London; Harding at Wapping and Ocean at Dulwich – which I suggest – with a little latitude virtually makes them Kentish men and women.
It is highly appropriate that John Corley with the collaboration of Michael Blake has invited these 8 artists to exhibit at the beautifully restored Linden Hall – an asset for Deal, indeed, for East Kent – in its first season as a gallery.