William Packer NEAC Hon RBA Hon PS
Though William has long worn two hats, as a painter and a critic, he has always hoped that it would be the painting, seen from an active and practical view, that would inform his writing, rather than the other way round. For a while William's works flirted with abstraction, but there was always a feeling of landscape to it. On the other hand, the underlying abstract structure remains as important as ever.
William works principally in oil. For many years he painted on board, but nowadays he uses linen canvas and, for smaller paintings, primed card. William tends to paint quite thinly, and prefer a fast surface, rather than one with a marked tooth. He does of course also draw, and he does use water-colours for more informal study. His work, ever since art school, has always been essentially figurative – the head: landscape - though in the 1960s the landscape side did verge seriously on the abstract. William was also very interested in Pop-art early on, and worked a lot with photographic reference. He now worksonly from life or the object. Still life has been a major preoccupation in recent years. As to process, he does rather just start, and gets on with it. Once started, William works quite quickly, one painting at a time, though they do seem to come together in groups or batches. Over recent years he has worked mainly with still-life, but never exclusively so, and his intention is to turn again rather more to the landscape and the figure, as opportunity allows.
19th August 1940 born in Birmingham
1951-59 Windsor Grammar School
1959-1963 NDD (Painting) Wimbledon School of Art
1963-64 ATC Brighton College of Art
1964-67 Art Master, Windsor Grammar School
1967-77 Part-time teacher, Colchester School of Art
Visiting teacher variously at Exeter, Manchester, Hornsey, Ravensbourne, Newcastle, RCA, RA Schools, Edinburgh, etc.
1979 sole selector of the first British Art Show (Arts Council)has sat on innumerable exhibition juries, notable the John Moores, The Threadneedle Prize, and over many years The Hunting Prizes.
At various times has served on:The Fine Art Board of the Council for National Academic Awards
The Crafts Council
The Government Art Collection Advisory Committee
The Artists’ General Benevolent Institution Council
Heatherley’s Art School Governing Board
Federation of British Artists Governing Board
Small Paintings Group, International Association of Art Critics
Piers Feetham Gallery: one-man shows 1996; 2001; 2004.
Piers Feetham Gallery: 2-man show (with William Feaver) 2005.
Chapel Row Gallery, Bath: 2-man show (with Ian Potts) 2007.
Cadogan Contemporary: 3-man show (with Giles Auty, William Feaver) 1992
The Art of Vogue Covers (Octopus 1980)
Fashion Drawing in Vogue (Thames & Hudson 1983)
Henry Moore (Weidenfeld 1985)
Carl Erickson – fashion drawings (Webb & Bower 1989)
R.W.Willaumez – fashion drawings (Webb & Bower 1989)
John Houston (Lund Humphries 2003)
Tai-Shan Schierenberg (Momentum 2005)
Jorge Lewinski (RA Publications 2006)
1969-1974 London art correspondent, Art & Artists
1974-2004 art critic, Financial Times
Has written for many other papers, magazines and gallery catalogues, and several books.