A fundamental Modern British artist, Tim Woolcock, finds his Influence by traditional paintings from the mid 1950s. Woolcock’s two themes are abstractions and landscape abstraction based on both the English and Irish countryside. His paintings are formed of geometric fragmented shapes and block pigment colours, which are often scratched or scored.
Tim Woolcock was born in Lancashire in 1952, and between 1963 and 1970 he attended Arnold School in Blackpool. In 1971 he attended Roehampton Institute (London University) to study Philosophy and Art. From 1974 – 1986 he taught in London schools. Currently he lives part of the year on a farm in County Carlow Ireland where his studio is located.
Tim Woolcock is a fundamental Modern British artist painting in the tradition of the 1950s. His two themes are abstractions & landscape abstraction now based on his walks in Ireland and the surrounding countryside. He lives part of the year on a farm in County Carlow, where he has a studio, and is influenced by these local environs in his work. As a Modern British painter Tim Woolcock's landscapes have often been described as mystical in their composition. He has always shown an affinity with Zen and this is reflected in most of his work. The strong pigments used in his oil colour have also made his work distinctive.
He uses Michael Harding pigments which are hand-made. He is a colourist & is in private collections both in the UK and internationally. Tim Woolcock grew up in Lancashire and attended The Roehampton Institute at the University of London, but his family’s roots are in Cornwall. His landscape abstractions and near-abstractions are made up of rich blocks of colour, which are often scratched or scored. Recent works have included oil on paper abstractions. He is influenced by abstract painters of the early 20th Century and Modern British painters of the 1950s. The work of St Ives-based Modern British artists such as Patrick Heron, William Scott and Ben Nicholson, are notable inspirations, although the pictures he paints are suffused with Woolcock’s own sense of colour. It is his rare clarity of vision that gives these pictures their strength and simplicity.
The London Times art critic Joanna Pitman wrote this about Tim Woolcock's style and influences: "The scale and proportions of his work present an internal harmony, and this mood is completed in the delicate balance between form and the exquisite colours he uses. We see lyrical lines and geometric fragmented shapes.Woolcock has seemed to show an interest in Cubism and a wonderful sense of contour and drama. There is a meditative serenity in his colour variations which perhaps reflects the contemplative personality of Woolcock himself and his landscapes evoke the beauty and grandeur of the Irish Countryside".
In his own words:
“My late father was from St Just in Penwith and as a child I visited Cornwall regularly and was often struck by the beauty of the varied landscape. Having grown up in Lancashire I often noticed the contrast between the coastlines of both counties. I do not describe myself as a Cornish painter however because I have never resided in the county but I feel I have an affinity with the area perhaps due to ancestral connections.
I have regarded myself essentially as an abstract painter while at the same time introducing a figurative function into my works. When painting English landscapes I have attempted to combine laments of figuration whilst at the same time incorporating certain abstract forms. In some of these pictures it appears one is viewing the scene through an aperture. All the landscape paintings have generally been undertaken from preliminary sketches but it is the spirit of the location which will eventually determine the final outcome of the work.
When undertaking long walks in Dorset I have been enthralled by the sheer beauty and unspoilt scenery which one is afforded. Again this contrasts sharply with the rugged magnificence of Dartmoor and the area of West Cornwall with its tin mines where my grandfather worked.
I have generally preferred to paint in oil, laying great emphasis on the interplay of soft tonal colours and attempting in the landscapes to create an evocation of the beauty of the English countryside. I have often not found it necessary to paint a scene just because it looks pretty but have discovered certain more rugged terrain has an appeal of its own.
It has been my own experience that executing abstract paintings is a more demanding discipline than other forms of paintings as they often require an instinctive ordering of shape, colour and space.
As an artist it is so easy to mention which painters have had a bearing on my career, and in my own case I feel indebted to all the British artists of the post war generation who worked both in Cornwall and London and whose skills are only now being fully appreciated.”
The principles of "Zen" are important to his work: "I have been greatly influenced by Zen writers some who have said that the real aim of art is purposeless - not to be confused with a nihilistic approach - in "Zen and The Art Of Archery" it is said that in calligraphy strokes are made by the brush with perhaps the painter not fully being conscious of his or her efforts. I have found this to be true when painting, as if a certain effortless process is ignited where the self drops away and a painting manifests without a painter."
Reviews and comments:
“Having grown up in Lancashire, whilst having family roots in Cornwall, where he visited regularly as a child, artist Tim Woolcock has come to develop his own unique visual language which he uses to give form to the subtle complexity of urban and rural landscapes. He takes as his starting point subjects that combine archaic simplicity with the infinite mystery of the natural world – the coast, the moors, the city. “
“In Woolcock's compositions the vivid colour and ambivalent emotion of his visual experience is explored, abstracted and rendered in two dimensions. Working into his pictures with a variety of textural and gestural techniques, the artist creates a wonderfully dream-like familiarity, which is as much intriguing as it is transporting. Each of his works has an atmosphere of meditative calm that has the capacity to surprise you each and every time you return to it. As the Art Critic Carol Cordey writes: his paintings “lack of natural representation provides us with space for contemplation and for our own interpretation of the world ... [it] facilitates freedom of expression for both the artist and the viewer…”
“The enduring interest and appeal that Tim Woolcock generates through his paintings will remain a lasting testament to the simultaneous complexity and simplicity of his subjects, as well as to the unique emotional and visual sense of his experience as an artist.”
“I have followed with great satisfaction Tim’s growing success over the last few years, as his work has followed in the footsteps of the great modern British painters of the Twentieth Century. His rise has been meteoric and I’ve been fortunate enough to witness Tim selling out show after show, whilst garnering the serious critical acclaim that he deserves along the way. In a time when painting is becoming an increasingly neglected medium and genuinely talented painters an endangered species, it is refreshing to discover work by an artist of Tim’s calibre. For me, Tim has few living peers that can so accurately convey the language of the English landscape in all of its timeless mystery, his abstract style serving to aid the viewer’s eye by describing its many nuances of contour, light and form.
He is an unmistakably British artist in his tone and subject matter but one who is working to a consistently international standard. Tim is a northern English gentleman who exudes integrity and comes armed with a dry Lanacastrian wit. His grit and charm in equal measures infuse his work and inform his vision. He has by his own admission been greatly influenced by the great modern painters such as Hitchens and Heron and is proving a worthy successor to their tradition.
His paintings demonstrate his clear eyed take on the British and Irish landscape in all of its shades and moods, using abstraction to both emphasize and reveal its grandeur, texture, scars and hiccups. This latest exhibition features large scale mainly abstract works in his unique style that continues to mature and develop. Tim has come a long way in a very short space of time and I look forward to witnessing his continued ascent in the years to come.”
2003 Bloxham Gallery, London; St Giles Gallery, Norwich
2004 Russell Gallery, London; Art London; Art Chicago; Royal Society of British Artists
2005 Russell Gallery, London; Art London; Langham Gallery, Suffolk
2006 Lemon Street Gallery, Cornwall
2006/7 Ransom, London
2007 Ransom, Dubai Art Fair
2008 Ransom, Dublin Art Fair
2009 Ransom, Art London, Boston Art Fair
2011 Ransom, London
2013 Ransom, London