“Two subjects have engaged me over many years, the landscape and the figure. I don’t maintain a single cohesive style but prefer to allow each piece to dictate how I will respond.
The landscape paintings, at one time directly observed, are worked from brief drawings and memory. The process has become as important as the subject matter, I’m driven by the physical pleasure of the medium. They are places I know well; this is an important part of the work, revisiting the familiar.
Working with the figure is a totally different proposition. It’s an interactive process and I enjoy the unnerving prospect of not being in complete control. My impulse is to observe closely, recording as accurately as possible my response to the sitter and their response to me. Both paintings and drawings are built of layers and repeated marks over a long period, the resulting work a hybrid of both myself and my model, a record of time spent.”
Malcolm likes painting the landscape; he likes painting people.
He enjoys being in the landscape but it’s the recollection of that experience which makes hum want to paint. At one time he painted from life, watercolours en plein air, but after many years he wanted something different. Gradually he evolved a new way of working. Malcolm still makes drawings from observation and uses these as his starting point but then memory takes over which naturally simplifies and abstracts what results. He is still observing but from a distance.
Painting people is all about observation. I like to spend as much time as possible with the sitter. I find taking photographs a good way to get to know someone and they can be useful reference but they are no match for the human eye which sees so much more.
Drawing is probably the most useful tool. I find people relax very quickly when I’m drawing them. We chat about everything under the sun and slowly I get a glimpse of what I want from the portrait.
Malcolm Ashman was born in Bath, Somerset in 1957.
Malcolm is a painter working in oils and pencil, the landscape and the figure are the principal subjects.
He is an Academician at the Royal West of England Academy (RWA) and a member of the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA) and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI). He has exhibited widely in London and the south of England, including the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the Columbia Threadneedle Prize.
He lives and works in Bath.
Bath Society of Artists
Royal West of England Academy
2009 The Bridge McFarland Solicitors Art Prize, ROI
2007 The Artist Magazine Award, RBA
2006 The Alan Gourley Memorial Award, ROI
2005 The Cedar House Gallery Award, NEAC
The Cornelissen Prize, ROI
The Andrew Brownsword Prize, Victoria Gallery
2004 The Davison Award, RBA
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2011 Denise Yapp Contemporary Art
2008 Rowley Contemporary Art
2007 The Russell Gallery
2006 Brian Sinfield Gallery
2005 Beaux Arts Bath
2002 Thomas Plunkett Fine Art
1992 Victoria Gallery Bath
Selected Group Exhibitions
2007-12 Denise Yapp Fine Art
2006 Medici Gallery, London
2006,2010 2012 The Holburne Contemporary Portrait Exhibition
2004-06 The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
2009 The Threadneedle Prize Exhibition, London.
2009-2012 RP, Mall Galleries
1999-2012 NEAC, Mall Galleries
1998-2012 ROI, Mall Galleries
1999-2012 RBA, Mall Galleries
1998-2000 Laing Art Competition
1996-2000 Black Swan Painting Competition
1983-2012 Royal West of England Academy