|John Emanuel b.1930|
|Born: Bury, Lancashire Moved to Cornwall: 1964 Elected Member of the Penwith Society of Arts 1974 Elected Member of the Newlyn Society of Artists 1975 Chairman of the Newlyn Society of Artists, 1977-8|
Sue Reed met John Emanuel, her assessment: ‘he’s an outrageous flirt’.
He can be seen on You Tube: John Emanuel at Porthmeor
John Emanuel was born in Bury, Lancashire in 1930 and moved to Cornwall in 1964. Following an apprenticeship in painting and decorating, and inspired by talks given by a lecturer from Manchester University, he began painting in the early 1960s and had his first solo exhibition in 1975. Today he lives in St Ives and works from his studio with a spectacular view over Porthmeor beach.
John’s work has a strong, consistent style – a recurring theme is the figure, often set in a landscape. The contours of the figure combine with those of the land. Blocks of a single colour lead to the simplified but stylised landscapes that typify John’s paintings. He works in a variety of media including oils, gouache, charcoal and mixed media. Like many artists associated with St Ives, he finds beauty in the harsh coastline and the unusual light of the Penwith peninsula. In addition, John makes regular visits to Cumbria, the fells and lakes of that region often appearing in his paintings.
John has exhibited widely in Cornwall, the rest of the UK and as far afield as New York. His work is held in private and public collections worldwide. He is a founder member of Porthmeor Printmakers and was commissioned by Tate St Ives to make an etching for the gallery opening in 1993. John is a member of the Penwith Society of Artists and a former Chairman of the Newlyn Society of Artists.
John Emanuel has always approached his painting and drawing in a workman-like manner. When he first moved to St Ives he made a living sign writing to support his family while he developed his drawing and painting with the help of artist friends such as John Wells and Alexander Mackenzie. There is a sculptural quality to John’s work in both the drawn and painted images that evolves out of an intense physical manipulation of media as the artist works and reworks grounds and subject relentlessly up to conclusion. In earlier work, John often made three-dimensional figures out of clay to experiment with compositional ideas. Colour is usually restricted and stronger areas of a single colour applied in specific bands or elements of the image. This process enhances the dramatic and sculptural effect of the painting. More recently, some of the characteristic heavy and often textural impasto of oil has given way to subtle glazes of oil colour. This is partly through the effect of the artist using canvas in place of board or paper mounted on board, his more usual support. Well known for his studies of the female nude, John’s paintings in oil and mixed media often places the female form within a landscape that is simplified but recognisable; whether it is west Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly or Cumbria. This subject combines John’s love of drawing the nude; he regularly makes studies from life, and his equally intimate association with the ancient landscape of west Cornwall. It is this interaction between the classical and sometimes sensual nude with its rugged environment that typifies his work.