James Bland is a figurative artist who enjoys the surprises and the surrender of control that oil painting uniquely offers. Memory, folklore and dreams are the main subjects of his work and his paintings offer tantalising glimpses of narratives alongside the rigorously-observed depictions of light and form.
James paints in oils but first develops his ideas in sketchbooks before setting up his compositions in the studio with models and home-made props. As they progress, his paintings move away from being purely from direct observation towards memory and imagination, which is where the full range of influence is felt, from traditional Asian art to mediaeval manuscripts to children’s drawings.
James revises his paintings substantially, giving them latitude to change and depart from the original motif - a method inspired by Giorgione and Georges Braque. Objects, locations and figures might be painted out or in, canvases re-stretched and colour schemes completely altered. The alchemy of this unpredictable process is what gives each painting its unique character and excitement.
1979 Born in Grimsby
2000 to 2005 Studied at Canterbury Christchurch University
2015 The Doreen McIntosh Prize, New English Art Club
2007 The Janet Konstam Travel Award
2014 Runner-up, Visitors’ Choice Award, The Threadneedle Prize
2013 1st Prize Winner, Winsor & Newton Oil Painters Awards
2007 Artist in Residence, Centro Verrocchio, Tuscany
2007 Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize, Work collected by Borchard Collection
2016 ‘Still, Not Static’, Thompson’s Galleries, London
2016 Spring Exhibition, Lime Tree Gallery, Bristol
2016 Art of Painting in the 21st Century, John Natsoulas Gallery, California
2015 ‘Letting Light In’, Lilford Gallery, Canterbury 2015 (Solo Exhibition)
2015 ING Discerning Eye, exhibiting as a specially invited artist, Mall Galleries
2014 Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize, Mall Galleries, London
2014 The Threadneedle Prize, Mall Galleries, London
2013 Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize, King's Place, London