Winner of the Turner Prize in 2003, elected a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 2012 and awarded a CBE in 2013, Grayson Perry is of the most well know, respected and recognisable of British artists at work today.
Born in Essex in 1960, after completing an Art Foundation Course at Braintree College, Grayson studied for a BA in Fine Art at Portsmouth, graduating in 1982.
Perhaps initially best known for his often controversial pottery, his commentary on modern life, its injustices and hypocrisies has transcended into many forms, with his incredible large and powerful tapestries being at the current fore. His commentary on aspects of society, including child abuse and natural disasters, the juxtaposition of such narratives being carried upon the traditional and familiar forms of pottery, adds to the impact. Other elements appear within his work, including references to transvestism, a somewhat autobiographical link to his own alter-ego, Claire.
Exhibitions of Grayson’s work have been held at the National Portrait Gallery, Musee d’Art Moderne, Andy Warhol Museum and the Barbican Art Gallery, amongst many others.
Grayson Perry delivered the memorable Reith Lectures on BBC Radio 4 in 2013, and has been the subject of two notable recent TV programmes, the BAFTA winning Channel 4 In the Best Possible Taste, and receiving a second BAFTA for Grayson Perry; Who Are You?
One of the most internationally lauded of living artists, Frank Auerbach was born in Germany in 1931, however, in 1939 his parents sent him to England to escape the Nazis as part of the Kindertransport Programme. Even at a young age, his artistic ability was evident. He went on to study at St Martin’s School of Art in London from 1948 to 1952. After that he studied at the Royal College of Art in London from 1952 to 1955.
Auerbach’s work is focused mainly on scenes in and around his home in London and landscapes of Camden Town. His portraits usually feature friends and people close to him, such as his wife, Julia and the professional model, Juliet Yardley Mills (usually referred to as J. Y. M. in titles). A major monograph was published on Frank Auerbach in 2009, with a TV documentary, To the Studio, in 2002
His paintings of the 1950’s and 1960’s are characterised by heavy impasto and earth colours, giving way more recently to vivid colours to depict subject and place. The power and creative tension in his drawings is equally apparent in his rare, but carefully considered etchings.
The subject of a major 2015/16 solo retrospective exhibition at Tate London, Frank Auerbach is an internationally acclaimed painter and currently lives and works in London. His works are held in many of the world's most prestigious public and private museums and collections.
Stephen Chambers is one of the most critically acclaimed and respected artists at work in the UK today. A member of the Royal Academy of Arts, Stephen Chambers studied at Winchester School of Art from 1978 to 1979 and then at St Martin's School of Art, London from 1979 to 1982.
Graduating with a Masters from Chelsea School of Art in 1983, Stephen Chambers won many scholarships and awards, including a Rome Scholarship, a Fellowship at Winchester School of Art, and a Mark Rothko Memorial Trust Travelling Award.
Through both paint and printmaking, Stephen’s work often flows from the figurative to the abstract, with narrative both subtle and overt. His work is held in many of the most high profile public and private collections, with exhibitions staged internationally, including the Royal Academy of Arts, London.
Born in Falkirk, Scotland, Barbara studied art at the Edinburgh College of Art from 1961 to 1965.
Known for her highly colourful abstract landscape-based works, she is a painter and printmaker of international standing.
Throughout her career, travel has been a huge influence upon her work, not least her time spend in Santa Fe, which resulted in a new vibrancy and intensity of colour in both her painting and especially printmaking.
Barbara's accolades are numerous. elected President of the Society of Scottish Artists in 1983; Elected to the Royal Scottish Academy in 1992; the Royal Academy in 1996; a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission to Scotland since 1995; an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art and awarded a CBE in 1999.
Barbara's works are held in many of the most noteworthy UK and international public and private collections, including those of the UK and Scottish Governments
Not only one of only eighty members of the Royal Academy of Arts but also the first female Keeper of the Royal Academy in its almost 250 year history, Eileen is one of the foremost names in British contemporary art. As Keeper, Eileen is in charge of the RA Schools, a prestigious position she has held since 2010.
Born in Glossop in 1953, Eileen Cooper studied at the prestigious Goldsmiths College, subsequently studying painting at the Royal College of Art. Gaining commercial and critical success from the 1980s, Eileen began and has continued to teach at many of the most well respected institutions, including St Martins School of Arts, the Royal College of Art and, as mentioned, as head of the RA Schools, in her capacity of Keeper.
Instantly recognisable, Eileen’s work clearly displays a female perspective, covering a multitude of themes, including motherhood, sexuality, transition and death. Her works span a multitude of disciplines, from painting in oil and watercolour, to printmaking through lino and woodcut, to drawing and collage.
Hide and Seek, a highly successful solo exhibition, was held in 2015 at the Royal Academy of Arts, coinciding with the publication of a book by Martin Gayford, "Between the Lines", covering four decades of Eileen's work.
In June 2016, it was announced that Eileen had received an OBE for services to art.
A short film of Eileen in her studio may be seen here
Born in 1934 in Sheffield, Hoyland studied at the Sheffield School of Art (1951-56) and then the Royal Academy (1956-60) and went on to teach at the Slade and Royal Academy art Schools. John Hoyland's artistic development in the 1960s ran parallel with the Abstract Expressionists in America. Hoyland was interested in their work and ethos, moving to New York in 1964. In London he had had a series of one man shows in a variety of well know galleries including the Whitechapel and Waddington.
Hoyland's prints like his canvases are rich in colour and bold in composition. Though they may appear spontaneous, much preparation and thought is given to the balance of colour and form. For every colour in the print a separate stencil is created through which paint is pushed; gradually building up layers to complete the image, necessitating a great deal of forethought. The compositions generally focus on a central cell-like element; this gives the work a definitive structure and focus as well suggesting a biological/natural/stellar form.
Hoyland’s first solo show took place at the Marlborough New London Gallery in 1964. This was followed by a series of national and international solo exhibitions, including the Whitechapel Gallery, London. He showcased his work at the Waddington Galleries throughout the 1970s and 1980s; and a retrospective of his work was held at the Serpentine Gallery in 1979 and again in 1999 in the Sackler Galleries. Hoyland’s work has also been included in numerous international group exhibitions from 1964, when his work was selected for the New Generation exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. More recently he had participated in group exhibitions at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool and the Barbican Gallery, London in 1993, and at Galerie Josine Bokhoven in Amsterdam in 1994.
Hoyland received many awards throughout his career, including the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Purchase Award; a Peter Stuyvesant travel bursary; he was a Prize Winner at the John Moore’s Liverpool Exhibition in 1964 and won First Prize in 1982; he received an Arts Council purchase award; joint first prize with William Scott in the Korn Ferry International and first prize of the Athena Art Award in 1987. In 1998 he won the Wollaston Award for the most distinguished work in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
John Hoyland passed away in July 2011 at the age of 76. His contributions to British contemporary art have been revolutionary and have had great influence on younger generations of artists.