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Contemporary Fine Art

Artists > Tim Craven


Tim Craven paints dense and intricate, close landscapes of woodland and water courses. He is drawn to complex and rhythmic, natural imagery when flattened and abstracted by photography. His work explores the tension between hand-made mark-making and photo-mechanical form and the alchemy of myriads of tiny abstract shapes combining to create illusion and depth.


After training in fine art and the conservation of paintings, Craven joined the staff of Southampton City Art Gallery in 1980. Working up close with one of the finest regional public collections of art, spanning eight centuries for over 30 years has proved a privileged stimulus for his own art practice which he has always rigorously pursued. His work is therefore inevitably informed by a diverse range of style and ideas. He admires the English pastoral landscape tradition, notably the Pre-Raphaelite landscape painters such as J W Inchbold, and its links with Surrealism through Paul Nash and others as well as various abstract and contemporary movements including Op Art and The Systems Group.


His distinctive influences however are the densely patterned paintings of Charles Ginner of the Post-Impressionist Camden Town Group, and the work of his Birmingham born friend, John Salt, a celebrated first generation New York School Photorealist, who employs fine stencils with an airbrush.


Craven’s watercolours are often monochrome or in muted colour evoking memory and nostalgia. He is also interested in the notions of symbolism in eighteenth century landscape painting and poetry: panoramic landscape references the joining up of society and the spread of civilizing ideas whereas occluded landscape from low vantage points is a metaphor for privacy, consumption, introspection and possession.


1953     Born in Birmingham

1973-6  Stourbridge College of Art, fine art

             Midlands Open Under 25, first prize 197  first-equal prize,

             1975 and prize winner 1976

             Northern Young Contemporaries, Whitworth Art Gallery,

             Manchester, 1976

             British Realists, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 1976

1977-9  Gateshead Technical College, post-graduate diploma in the conservation of easel paintings                     

1980      Appointed Assistant Conservation Officer, Southampton

              City Art Gallery

1985      Appointed Conservation Officer, Southampton City Art


1990              Appointed Collections Manager, Southampton City Art


1991               Longleat Wessex Collection

1998       Postcards on Photography: Photorealism and the Reproduction exhibition, John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton

2002        Appointed Curator, Southampton City Art Gallery

2008        Appointed Lead Curator (Art), Arts and Heritage,           

                           Southampton City Council

2009        Secret Places, solo exhibition, Bedford School

2011        Real/Surreal: Tree landscapes, Gallery LeFort, Bath      

Noodle Hill
Tim Craven


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