All at Sea is a week-long exhibition at Danielle Arnaud that marks the launch of the new monographic publication celebrating the life and work of the late John Dougill. It presents many of the paintings, drawings and prints featured in the book, with specific emphasis on Dougill’s paintings of the sea and sky.
An avid environmentalist, and a beloved teacher, Dougill devoted much of his painting and his life to issues of ecology. He was an early supporter of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth and was a campaigner against global warming before the term was in popular use. His paintings of the sky and scaffold towers capture the diminishing skyline around his home and studio in Bermondsey Street, London—a result of rapid urban development—just as his seascapes are inspired by environmental disasters such as the shrinking of the Aral Sea. As the artist Vanessa Jackson writes in her foreword to the publication: ‘The personal was the political for John’; a sentiment that is evident in all the artist’s pursuits, both on and off the canvas.
Painting was for Dougill, a process of ‘effacement and reinstatement’ (Mooney, 2017), whereby images were coaxed gently into existence through the application and reapplication of paint. It is for this reason that artist and writer Jim Mooney describes the artist as a ‘painter’s painter,’ finding in Dougill’s subtlety of detail, a ‘quiet audacity’ that is most likely to be ‘recognised and appreciated by other painters’. The artist’s late paintings of horizons, touch upon notions of mortality and longevity—both in connection to the artist himself, and the environment he painted.
The publication All at Sea is edited by Vanessa Jackson and features a newly commissioned essay by Jim Mooney. It will be available to purchase throughout the exhibition for £15.
John Dougill (1934–2015) lived and worked in Bermondsey, London. Born in Liverpool, he studied at West Sussex College of Art 1950–55, followed by two years of National Service and then the Royal College of Art Painting School 1957–60, where he moved away from painting towards photography.
He started teaching after the RCA, at the Working Men’s College in Camden 1960–62 and then at St Martins School of Art on Foundation and in the Painting Department, 1960–1999. He also taught in Postgraduate Painting at the Royal College of Art 1977–1999. He was also an external Assessor in various art schools over the years including Bergen Arkiitkt Skole, Norway, Norwich and Middlesex. Teaching was important to him.
Solo shows include Gasworks Gallery (1997) and Studio 1.1 (2004 and 2010). Selected group shows include Line, Poppy Sebire Gallery (2011); Out of the Blue, Abington Philadelphia (2006); Looking Out to Sea, Winchester Gallery and Southern Arts Touring (1998); Thirty London Painters, Royal Academy (1985). http://johndougill.com/
Vanessa Jackson RA is a British painter who has done notable wall installation paintings. She was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 2015.
Dr Jim Mooney is an artist and writer based in Scotland.