Bryan Ingham (1936 - 1997) is regarded as one of the most important of the second generation of St Ives artists. Zuleika Gallery is delighted to present an exhibition of previously unseen paintings, sculpture and collages from the estate of the artist.
Born in Lancashire he started to appreciate different forms of art since a young age. Growing up an only child to parents who both worked in the clothing trade, Bryan briefly went into the family profession, working for two years in a shop’s tailoring department. It was during the three years of National Service in the RAF, that Ingham first started painting. A flight sergeant described him as ‘an artistic sort of airman’.
Ingham then moved to London to study at St Martin’s School of Art. It is under the tuition of a fine post-war generation of teachers, who he highly admired, that he has been able to hone his draughtsmanship. He then swiftly showed a capacity for painting that drew the attention of his tutors and peers and was offered a post-graduate place at the Royal College of Art. In his second year he was awarded a Royal Scholarship and was a contemporary of a number of now better- known artists including David Hockney.
Ingham's work in this exhibition can be said to engage with the crucial period of Cubism from 1912-16 and the work of Picasso, Braque and Gris in particular. However, his interests and inspirations are diverse and include the work of Kurt Schwitters, Robert Rauschenberg, Giorgio Morandi, Piero della Francesca and Paolo Uccello.
The artist can be defined as one of the biggest innovators of his times, he used different kind of mediums, concentrating on real and implied space within the surface of the picture. Later in his career he started to interpreting his ideas in three dimensions and to add tangible materials to his works that involved relief or collage. When people would ask him about his work, he responded in a quiet, precise way in which he commented on the process of the image’s discovery and refinement that was his life's journey.
Ingham consciously rejected the prospect of pursuing a career as an established artist, although the RA was open to him, he went to live in a remote cottage on Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula, a location yards from the cliffs and devoid of electricity and running water.
Since he left the Royal College, he shunned the competitiveness of the art world, preferring in the early days to teach periodically at Farnham and later on to hold court in his studio to a discerning handful of loyal collectors. Only in the late 1980s he started to appreciate that his paintings and, latterly, his sculptures were seen by a wider public. Thanks to the support of the growing band of collectors, Ingham explored new European landscapes, spending time in Barcelona, Tuscany, Berlin, Paris and Malta.
Ingham has been rewarded with a number of recognitions like an Italian Government scholarship, The Leverhulme Research award and an award from Atelier Haus in Germany.
During the late 1980s, he established a relationship with Francis Graham-Dixon, who at the time had a gallery in London. This collaboration meant a substantial change in his career, for the first time his paintings were professionally marked and gained more and more value in the following years till present.
Looking back at his career and his exploratory work he said: ‘…most people have chosen to stick to just one pathway, not the pathways of construction, collage, oil painting, drawing, etching lithograph and of their various components... it's taken all of that time just to arrive at the beginning’.
His paintings are in many public and private collections in the UK, Germany and elsewhere.
Please click here to view the catalogue for this exhibition.