About Robert Perry the Artist

Robert Perry - Artist

View North-East from Darby's Hill, Dudley. Tipton, Wednesbury, Bilston - 23 April 2010.

My work falls into two main categories.

The first is that which is based on my travels and love of the landscape in all its aspects. This work is for sale through the agencies listed under the “Contact” link.

The second is that which forms part of my touring exhibitions programme available to Public Art Galleries throughout Europe, listed under “Exhibitions for Hire”  This work is more didactic in nature and is not for sale.

General statement

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 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. 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.

Robert Perry Landscape Artist

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 restless and analytical eye has ranged from the urban-industrial landscape of the West Midlands, to the Spanish high sierra and the melancholy battlegrounds of the Somme, in each case attempting to capture the unique atmosphere and spirit of the place.
Adventurous and ever resourceful, he has developed specialised methods and equipment which enable him to work in all conditions, rain, snow, and sunshine, by day, at night or, by the light of lamps, deep underground in long-deserted First World War shelters and tunnels.

In response to his subject, he has constantly adapted and refined his drawing and painting techniques, using pen, pastel, charcoal, air- brush, spray guns, ink rollers and spattering to achieve the effects he requires.

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.

Brendan Flynn