Peter Prendergast

Document Sample
Peter Prendergast Powered By Docstoc
					    Peter Prendergast
    The Early Years
Peter Prendergast was born in 1946, at Abertridwr, South Wales.
One of twins, he was brought up in a family of coal miners who
were used to hard work. His parents hoped that he would not
have to follow in his father‟s footsteps to the coal mines.

Although he failed his exams to enter the grammar school at 11
years old, he was encouraged by Gomer Lewis, his art teacher,
to take up a career in art. Gomer emphasised the need to
observe and draw the environment.

Following Gomer Lewis‟s dedication, Pre ndergast became more conscious of contemporary
artists, especially the expressive artists in Wales, such as Josef Herman, George Chapman and
Ernest Zobole. He also had opportunities to see Paul Cezanne and Georges Rouault‟s work,
which made a great impression on him.

After leaving school he gained a scholarship to attend Cardiff‟s Art College. There he started
painting local landscapes with expressive marks to convey his personal feelings about the

In the 1950‟s there were a number o f famous expressive artists working in Wales. Artists like
Ernest Zobole, Charles Burton and Glyn Morgan. They called themselves „the Rhondda Group‟

    The Slade
During his time in Cardiff, Prendergast collected a portfolio of work for an interview at the world
famous Slade art college in London. As a result of the high standard of his work he was
accepted to the college. This was an enormous achievement.

In the Slade, Prendergast‟s work developed under the guidance of his lecturers Euan Uglow,
William Coldstream and Michael Andrews who were also world famous artists. The biggest
influence on him was the life drawing classes of Frank Auerbach and, to a lesser extent, David

Under the guidance of Auerbach, Prendergast started creating exciting paintings and drawings
that used black lines to create structure, with colour marks to create expression. His style was
to paint rapidly and vigorously through direct observation.

    North Wales
After finishing his course at the Slade and following a period at Reading Art College,
Prendergast moved with his family to Bethesda in North Wales. Prendergast saw a similarity
between Abertridwr and Bethesda. Bethesda is an industrial village very similar to Abertridwr.
Prendergast liked the industrial scars on the landscape – a constant theme in his work.

He responds directly to the landscape and weather with vigour, as seen on the left. During his
time in Bethesda he painted his most famous work, which was a study of Penrhyn Quarry. This
painting combined all his most distinct features; vigour, expression, observation and colour. The
painting was bought by the Tate Gallery in London.

Gradually Prendergast‟s work has changed. After he moved to live in Deiniolen and following a
number of world wide exhibitions and commissions, his work has developed. There has been a
change in style and subject. He paints the coast, as we can see on the right, without any
obvious evidence of man‟s influence on the landscape.

His style has also become more abstract, responding with increasing vigour and energy through
the paint and colour marking and using fewer lines to create structure.

Technique: Peter Prendergast works directly from the landscape with vigour. He uses lines,
marks and colour to create expression.

    Landscapes - Drawing
The starting point for Peter Prendergast‟s work is drawing directly from the landscape. He
spends long periods working vigorously in front of a particular landscape.

One of his characteristics is starting on one piece of paper and then adding more pieces to
record the space, as in his study of Penrhyn Quarry.

Working in this way allows Prendergast to collect enough information to create paintings.

    Landscapes - Colour
One of the main features of Peter Prendergast‟s work is his use of colour. He uses oil paint to
convey movement and expression.

By using dark lines against descriptive colour he creates structure to the painting.
The colours not only record the landscape but also the weather and his feeling towards the

    Landscapes - Expression
When using paint Peter Prendergast uses brush strokes to convey movement and expression
in the landscape.

Often he works so quickly that he mixes paint directly on the canvas. Although a landscape is a
definite thing, it changes constantly because of the effect of the weather.

Light has a direct effect on the landscape‟s colours and structure. This is one reason why
Prendergast responds to the landscape with such energy, in order to work quickly to try to
capture these changes.

    The Figure - Space
Peter Prendergast also draws figures. Life drawing has been a strong tradition in fine art and he
developed his skills during his period at Slade College.
Prendergast responds to figures in a way very similar to the way he responds to landscape-
with energy and expression.
In the painting “Self Portrait and Landscape” he has combi ned figure and landscape with a self-
portrait in his studio in Deiniolen.
In the painting he has played with space by placing a mirror near the window. The eye is lead
to two points in the picture, that is the self-portrait and the chapel in the distance.

Once again he is using strong lines on paint to create structure with colour to convey