WILLIAM PACKER - neac, HON. rba
Head to toe
2000, collage on card, 21 x 15cm
Looking for something
2000, collage on card, 19 x 13cm,
2000, collage on card, 19 x 13cm,
1965, mixed media on board, 38 x 55.5cm
For last 20 years William has focused on still life painting. He likes to work in natural light although the painting and composition can change radically during the process (of reconciling space, form and light on to the two dimensional surface of the canvas) so the finished image is not always quite what it seems to be.
William also produces collages which hark back to his early Pop-Art days, torn and cut paper scraps arbitrarily cropped and fraught with surrealist possibility when brought together. They have much in common with the paintings in terms of formal composition and structure with their strong vertical/horizontal emphasis and blocks and strips of colour.
Trained at Wimbledon School of Art
Group shows include the Royal Academy at intervals since 1963, the Bradford Open; Flowers Gallery; Annely; Juda Fine Art; Russell Gallery; Camden Art Centre; NEAC; Pastel Society; RP; RBA; Discerning Eye; Cadogan Contemporary; New Grafton Gallery; the Lynn Painter-Stainers Exhibition.
One-man shows at Piers Feetham Gallery 1996; 2001; 2004; 2009; 2014, 2018
Two and Three-man shows at Cadogan Contemporary, Piers Feetham, The Chapel Row Gallery (variously with Giles Auty, William Feaver and Ian Potts).
Works owned by the National Portrait Gallery, Sheffield City Art Galleries and many private collectors.
Art critic with the Financial Times 1974-2004. Innumerable introductions to exhibition catalogues, newspapers, journals and magazines. Served on many exhibition and competition selection panels from the NPG Portrait Award, Crafts Council Awards to the Hunting Art Prizes.
Curated numerous shows including The British Art Show I (Arts Council) 1979, Elizabeth Blackadder Retrospective (Scottish Arts Council) 1981, a Critic’s Choice for the Lemon Street Gallery, Truro, 2006.
Books include The Art of Vogue Covers (Octopus) 1980, Fashion Drawing in Vogue (Thames & Hudson) 1983, Henry Moore (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) 1985, Sarah Raphael (Unicorn) 2013
Celebrate a lifetime dedicated to the visual arts variously as Teacher, Critic, Curator and Author - and always as Painter.
We follow William Packer from abstraction and Pop-Art in the 60s and 70s to the still lifes he has focused on over the last 25 years - with regular detours into portraiture and landscape documenting the people he has met and places he has visited in his career. The exhibition spans 60 years from Wimbledon School of Art through to work produced in his Brixton studio this year. For all the apparent differences, there are common threads, in terms of formal composition, structure and colour palette - not least his constant and enduring commitment to painting.
'The greater mystery is ever there, of quite how that dab of paint on the canvas becomes, by some alchemy, something quite other than itself'
Alongside painting, William’s parallel careers as Art Critic, for many years for the Financial Times, and teacher at art schools around the country made him an established figure in the British art world. He has curated numerous shows, written innumerable catalogue essays and served on many selection committees. He is a member of the New English Art Club and and Honorary member of the Royal Society of British Artists and his work is represented in the National Portrait Gallery, Sheffield City Art Galleries and many private collections. Turning 81 this year provides a perfect opportunity to acknowledge the breadth of his artistic achievement.
‘As a schoolboy I remember envying those of my fellows who had any idea of what they wished to do and be: I had no idea. Perhaps I still don't, for in an odd way I sense that my life in art found me'.