29 JANUARY – 13 MAY, King’s Place, London

Thomas Newbolt, b.1951- Self-Portrait, 2015

This exhibition comprises fierce, expressionistic works – many of single female sitters on couches. Apparently his models arrive at twilight and he paints them when he cannot quite see the exact colours clearly on his tubes of oil. As the introduction to the exhibition at King’s Place, London states,
“Opening in conjunction with the Baroque Unwrapped music programme, Piano Nobile presents Thomas Newbolt: Drama Painting – A Modern Baroque. Immense paintings by contemporary artist Thomas Newbolt explores the very essence of painting: the paradoxes of light and dark, psyche and body, figure and ground. Such liminal spaces are where Newbolt finds a vital potency: ‘I’m interested in the emotional area the painting opens up, so when I stand back I feel it’s true’. Layering undiluted oil paint in vigorous impasto, the paintings have a physical depth mirroring their expressive complexity.”
Indeed it is the case that these paintings ,in impastos of pure colour, have an impressive presence and dignity.
The figures have the sense that they are apprehensively awaiting a tense psychoanalytic session. Their long and elegant dresses have a timeless elegance about them perhaps reminiscent of Christian Schad but painted with an intensity approaching Francis Bacon. The colours are rich and vivid with an accent on vermillion or verdant dark greens against an equally strong background of intense blue or brown. There is an interesting triptych and smaller studies of heads. Dramatic, indeed, so if you are in London to see a play, take the short walk past the Guardian offices in Kings Cross to see these intriguing works.


George Care

Since retiring from school mastering in various schools, including Holland Park and Alleyn’s GC has worked as a reviewer and art critic. He has broadcast on local radio and visited major galleries across Europe.


Volume 30 number 4 March / April 2016 p 33

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