‘It’s as if he has suddenly found a new voice’

Artist David Armitage in his studio near East Hoathly, East Sussex.Picture by Jim Holden SUS-150320-111700001
Artist David Armitage in his studio near East Hoathly, East Sussex.Picture by Jim Holden SUS-150320-111700001

David Armitage is widely acknowledged as one of the most original, exciting and inspirational abstract artists of his generation, writes Jean Clark.

His paintings are housed in private collections and galleries worldwide and Birley Centre visitors can currently see his vibrant, large-scale colourful canvases in a month-long exhibition.

Phillip King, sculptor and past president of the Royal Academy, who has long admired David’s work, said the most recent paintings reveal an astonishing new development and level of sophistication.

“It’s as if he has suddenly found a new voice. Having been unjustly ignored by the London art establishment for many year, perhaps they will now sit up and take notice.

“If you believe, as the Chinese do, that you can’t be a really good painter until you are 60, then David Armitage has truly come of age.”

Inspired by his early life in Tasmania and the Pacific Ocean, David’s A Decade of Colour paintings reflect a kaleidoscopic range of preoccupations and fascinations: haunting music of Anton Bruckner and Sibelius; dark ambiguity of prayer flags and shrines; ethereal beauty of Monet’s water garden at Giverny. All different subjects, yet all overwhelmingly about one thing - colour.

His will also display a selection of illustrations - he and his wife Ronda collaborated on the series of Lighthouse Keeper children’s books – drawings and smaller, still-life paintings and prints.

David Armitage - A Decade of Colour, Birley Centre, Carlise Road, BN21 4EF, Saturdays/Sundays until April 26, 10am-4pm; also Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday. Free admission.