A hardworking and prolific painter, Robert Perry’s works are in both private and national collections in Britain and France and are featured in “BBC Your Paintings. Uncovering the nation’s art collection, in partnership with PCF (Public Catalogue Foundation)”
He is a landscape painter in the English tradition, travelling widely throughout Europe with his unique mobile “Field studio,” a purpose converted Renault van.
A prominent member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, he works exclusively on location, producing vigorous paintings and drawings of the European landscape and the effects wrought upon it by light, season and atmosphere.
The scope of his work is exceptionally wide, but he is particularly noted for his inventive and experimental approach to equipment and technique, his panoramic views of the Black Country, his “Night Paintings” and his extensive work in the First and Second World War Battlefields.
Aspects of his adventurous lifestyle and unorthodox methods have been extensively covered on British and French Television, see “TV & Video” drop downs.
He is also profiled in “2000 OUTSTANDING INTELLECTUALS OF THE 21ST CENTURY- 8TH Edition” published by International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England.
I grew up in the village of Wordsley on the edge of that part of the West Midlands known since the Industrial Revolution as “The Black Country”.
A “rough and tumble” childhood spent playing and exploring in the local woodlands, derelict buildings, culverts and scrapyards, cycling into the nearby countryside or along the canal towpaths past foundries, glass factories, clay mines and steelworks, engendered a curiosity and spirit of adventure which has never left me.
The culture and industrial heritage of the Black Country, as well enabling me to design and fabricate the wide range of specialized equipment which I use, are major components in my artistic make-up. The area has formed one of the continuing strands in my work ever since as a nine year old boy, I first discovered the magic of drawing and painting on location.
At the age of 13, I gained a 2 year placement at Stourbridge Secondary Art School, followed by 4 years advanced study at Stourbridge College of Art where I was much influenced by my studies of Rembrandt, Turner, Corot and Cezanne.
My commitment to working “on the spot” began early and for many years I have worked exclusively on site or direct from source. My wanderlust and deep interest in History has progressed from cycling around Britain as a teenager, sketching cathedrals, to driving around Europe in my famous “mobile studio” in order to draw in the battlefields and tunnel systems of the First World War, amongst the remains of Auschwitz Concentration Camp or to paint on a large scale in the central massif of Spain or the High Alps.
Reading “The Time Machine” by H G Wells, when I was 13, had a profound and lasting effect on me and, to some extent, the incomprehensible mystery of Time and Space is one of the hidden threads which has been running through my work ever since.
Introduction by Brendan Flynn
Curator of Fine Art,
Birmingham City Museums and Art Gallery.
Robert Perry is one of the most original landscape painters of his generation, his work deeply rooted in the tradition of observation and direct response to Nature.
His mobile studio enables him to undertake prolonged campaigns of drawing and painting on site during his expeditions to Europe. His expressive images from the Somme, Verdun, Oradour and Auschwitz are a triumph of sustained observation as he looks with an unblinking eye at humanity’s capacity for hatred and destruction.
These pictures also speak of the fragility of human memory as nature and time slowly reclaim the battlefields and erase the scars of war. Equally, the massive panoramas of his beloved Black Country reveal a stark beauty in the industrial landscape of Britain, dappled with cloud shadows and glittering sunlight.
The exhibitions offered here represent years of work and a passionate commitment to exploring the idiom of landscape. Perry uses it as a means of looking inwards. He is that rare thing, a contemporary artist with something meaningful to say about the human condition.