Anthony Padgett has been a man on a mission to bring a 21st century twist to modern art and gain new insights into Picasso’s work. As Anthony’s new exhibition opens he tells Fiona Finch about his “Year With Picasso”.
Lancashire-based painter and sculptor Anthony Padgett is spending a year with Pablo Picasso.
Prior to that he spent a year with Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh.
The famed works of both artists have powered his determination to create new art for the 21st century, offering his take on what have become some of the most well known paintings of the past century.
Both years have been spent creating art works inspired by works of the two modern masters, each year resulting in an exhibition of new works by Anthony.
Anthony has competed his paintings for the Year With Picasso project at a studio at Bee Mill in Ribchester, where they will be on show until the end of May
Now the 50 year old, who is 10 months into the Picasso project, is preparing to move to Birley Studio in Preston to continue the sculptural side of the Picasso project.
The former Morecambe High school student, who divides his time between Preston and Morecambe, plans to produce a book of the Picasso project.
Many of the paintings feature himself and his partner Stephanie.
He has also drawn inspiration from his surroundings - the famous Ribchester Roman helmet, remains of Ribchester Roman baths and the River Ribble feature in the oil paintings which line the walls of the Bee Mill studio.
And while all the paintings are inspired by Picasso’s back catalogue they all have a new perspective.
Anthony explains: “I am flipping a bit of Picasso on its head in order to find something new and different. So he had a female model, I have a male model. He had cubism I have curveism. He had a bull, I had a sheep. Each painting is linked to a Picasso and also most of them have translated into my life as opposed to episodes in his life.”
He continued: "My works all present a new and original take on an old master in order to shed light on the history of his life and to gain insight into the why Picasso’s works are works of genius. This is the largest stage of my year with Picasso, it serves as research into the artist’s life and works so that I can create a sculpture of Picasso with an understanding of the man and the myth."
Each work is presented next to a photograph of the original artwork by Picasso.
Anthony, who has an MA in contemporary art, studied art at Wimbledon School of Art. After a philosophy degree at the University of York he studied to teach religious education and also worked in conservation and archaeology.
He said: “The whole exhibition is one big piece of art work. It’s like a piece of conceptual art.”
Anthony traces his love of art back to childhood.
He said: “I was very good as an artist as a child but never pursued it because of how difficult it is to get anywhere.”
Asked what he hopes viewers’ response will be to his new exhibition he said: “I hope they take away whatever it is they want to find. If people want to learn about Picasso’s work and life or about my own work and life or about modern art and contemporary art. What it isn’t is paintings of photographs or hyperrealism. Picasso’s work has been around for over 100 years and so it’s trying to get a fresh look at work that has become part of the wallpaper of modern life.”
Anthony, whose work is exhibited across the country, has previously created busts of Van Gogh and poet Wilfred Owen.
* Anthony’s show will be open on Spring Bank Holiday Monday May 27, when Ribchester's annual Spring Bank Holdiay Market village market is held in the grounds at Bee Mill, and at other times by arrangement by calling him on 0790 234 2448. See www.a year with picasso.co.uk and www.a yearwithvincent.co.uk