Working Practice


David WOODCOCK 1952-   Artist and teacher, born in Salford, Lancashire, studied at Chelsea School of Art, 1976-80, and the Slade School of Fine Art, 1991-93. His teachers included Patrick Symons, Myles Murphy, Euan Uglow, Norman Norris, Norman Blamey and Craigie Aitchison. Woodcock taught part-time from 1980, currently at Canterbury Christ Church University. His group exhibitions include the RA Summer Exhibition 1986; An Interest in Measurement, Brunel University 1988; British Figurative Painting, Isis Gallery Southend, 1992; The Importance of Drawing, Canterbury Museum, 1999; and The Marlow Centre Canterbury 2002. His Brunel University solo show travelled to Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Private collections worldwide held examples.   

Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945, David Buckman


Other mixed shows include London College of Printing, 1985; Argile Gallery Notting Hill, 1989 Articus Gallery South Kensington, 1989; Centenary Celebration of Heatherleys at the Mall Gallery, 1996; Open Studios, Second Floor Studios and Arts, Woolwich 2010.
Solo exhibition; The Troubadour Gallery, 2005.

Current studio at Second Floor Studios and Arts (SFSA), Warspite Road, Thames Barrier, Woolwich.



Bagley's Lane 1990




Honor Oak Studio 2008



Woodcock has a prolonged and intense feeling for the celebration of the appearance of the real world in paint, harnessing this to a rigorous structure - the 'carving mode' that Adrian Stokes describes, through some system of measurement and surface geometry.
The drawings are studies that could lead to painting. They are thinking about colour, form and space, and in these respects are functional.
When one looks at the paintings an a-tonal use of colour becomes apparent, the more interesting as it is not for decorative purposes. It is related to Cezanne's vigorous pictures, where there is an attempt to imagine in paint the actual experience of the motif. The mixtures of paint represent the glow of colour from the surfaces of the subject matter rather than the light falling on it. Colour is an equivalent to luminosity.
The physical presence of his subject is all important. The drawing of Miss Munro was worked on when the guitarist was actually playing for instance.
Paint is handled in a direct manner with no soft transitions between planes or intervals of endearing uncertainty.
There are no rehearsed gestures, the pictures are made from authentic experience of the subject without dexterity or politeness; in the best sense one feels that Woodcock does not know how to paint: the pictures celebrate experience.                   David Shutt 1990




Miss Blanche Munro 27" x 16.5"




Still Life with Retsina Measure I    16" x 18.5" 



"Nothing can be more abstract, more unreal , than what we see"          Giorgio Morandi


Woodcock's paintings and drawings are very particular. They are about surface and investigate definite ideas about what is seen and what is made. The things painted have been examined, imagined and constructed in a specific and intimate way. Plato criticises painters for diverting our attention with their painted appearances of the way things look; yet the way things look is only a weak likeness of their true nature. For truth belongs with the idea. It is fascinating to know that the origin of the Greek word idea is derived from the verb 'to see'. The visual idea and the empirical experience constantly challenge each other but they can be made to work together. David Woodcock might paint about an idea suggested by the object; their shapes and forms, colour or groupings, the space they occupy, or the way they might be used to divide the picture surface. Colour is generated by the drawing and is usually built locally from individual surfaces. Modulation of colour takes place and it is held firm by the boundaries of shapes. The objects painted have personal meanings; they may have been given to the artist by friends or might signify a particular time or event. Twenty years ago, in Valencia he made a drawing of floor tiles that demonstrates an early interest in geometric patterns and their growth systems. The optical reforming of interconnecting shapes by faces of polyhedra, their purity of form in relation to the geometry of the picture plane are a recent subject and serious fascination. Woodcock's teacher and friend, the painter Patrick Symons RA made all the arithmetical solids in these paintings except for one. David's icosidodecahedron joins Patrick's solids in the intimate and poetic picture, 'Threes and Fives'.



Threes and Fives     8" x 12"



Floor tiles and Oranges    11" x 13.5"


The drawings from nudes search to realise form and space on a continuous skin. Solutions may be found in the poses or the particular characteristics of the models' body. The twisting line of symmetry, through the shoulders, breasts, navel and hips, creates tension. The geometry of the space is measured by the models' presence: the foreshortening of limbs, the assertion of mass and weight, proportion and scale. In all these works, the vision is expressed by seizing correspondences and delineating planes, making both the thing and the idea tangible.                     Mark Dunford, London 2004



Seated Nude    15" x 11.5"




Teaching in Canterbury




At the Olgas








Working Practice         Still Life            Landscape            From Life            Drawings and Watercolours              Contact





All images 2010 David Woodcock