John Emanuel b.1930

Emanuel has always approached his painting and drawing in a workman-like manner. When he first moved to St. Ives he made a living sign writing to support his family while he developed his drawing and painting with the help of artist friends such as John Wells and Alexander Mackenzie.

There is a sculptural quality to John's work in both the drawn and painted images that evolves out of an intense physical manipulation of media as the artist works and reworks grounds and subject relentlessly up to conclusion. In earlier work, John often made three-dimensional figures out of clay to experiment with compositional ideas. Colour is usually restricted and stronger areas of a single colour applied in specific bands or elements of the image. This process enhances the dramatic and sculptural effect of the painting.

More recently, some of the characteristic heavy and often textural impasto of oil has given way to subtle glazes of oil colour. This is partly through the effect of the artist using canvas in place of board or paper mounted on board, his more usual support. Well known for his studies of the female nude, John's paintings in oil and mixed media often places the female form within a landscape that is simplified but recognisable; whether it is west Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly or Cumbria. This subject combines John's love of drawing the nude, he regularly makes studies from life, and his equally intimate association with the ancient landscape of west Cornwall. It is this interaction between the classical and sometimes sensual nude with its rugged environment that typifies his work.

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