David Remfry: A Moment Captured

Remfry constantly challenges the stereotypes of watercolour painting, defying conventions of small, polite landscapes and domestic studies. His watercolours are large: some single-figure pieces are practically life-size, and his subjects are decidedly urban. Working from sketches of people dancing in clubs, bars and dancehalls, these works capture movement and intimacy on an ambitious scale. The exhibition included work made during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s while the artist was living in the Chelsea Hotel, New York. It also included a selection of Remfry’s portraits, featuring famous faces such as actor Alan Cumming and fashion designers Stella McCartney and Dame Zandra Rhodes, along with many more. This exhibition was a homecoming of sorts. While Remfry has spent most of his career in London and New York, he made his first surreptitious sketches of dancers in the Locarno night club in Hull while he was at art school there. Remfry also has an honorary doctorate from the University of Lincoln. David Remfry MBE RA is a British painter and curator who studied at Hull College of Art from 1959 to 1964. He has an honorary doctorate from the University of Lincoln. He was Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy Schools 2016-2018, a Judge for the Royal Academy of Arts Charles Wollaston Award 2021 and was judging the Royal Academy Summer Show, which launched on 13th June 2023.  Alongside the exhibition, there was also an in conversation event between artist David Remfry and art historian and critic Martin Gayford at the Usher Gallery on the 21 April 2023 Martin Gayford studied philosophy at Cambridge, and art history at the Courtauld Institute of London University. He has written prolifically about art and jazz, contributing regularly to the Daily Telegraph and also to many art magazines and exhibition catalogues. He was art critic of the Spectator 1994-2002 and subsequently of the Sunday Telegraph before becoming chief art critic for Bloomberg News until 2013. His book about Van Gogh and Gauguin in Arles, The Yellow House (2005) was published in Britain and the USA to critical acclaim, and has been translated to date into five languages. Image credit: Dancers, 2001, David Remfry, 2001. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Beth Philips.


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