Following a sell-out exhibition in 2016, Oliver Akers Douglas, one of Britain’s youngest collectable landscape artists, has spent the last two years pushing his plein air painting to the limit for his fourth solo show at Portland Gallery in 2018.
Largely self-taught, Oliver works predominantly from life. He deploys paint in bold strokes with both brush and palette knife to create textured and dynamic surfaces. His paintings are pure material records of his personal experience and deep engagement with the landscape - his knowledge of cloud formations is particularly extraordinary and helps to make his work so distinctive.
Oliver’s quest for wild and beautiful scenes is increasingly forcing him further afield. Battling extreme weather and getting to remote spots with his kit in tow can be gruelling – he recently hiked up a glacier to find the perfect vista in Switzerland. Back home, he scouts for locations using his specially adapted Land Rover, so he can paint straight onto a canvas attached to the side. Finding new solutions to the problems posed by plein air painting is all part of his process. For locations in this exhibition only reachable by foot Oliver has adapted a golf trolley!
As well as painting Dorset, Wiltshire, Connemara and Switzerland, Oliver has made several expeditions to the Scottish Isle of Iona in the Hebrides to create this body of work. In doing so, he is painting in the footsteps of the Scottish Colourist painters - most particularly Cadell and Peploe. Their famous paintings of the astonishing white sands, clear waters and breath-taking landscape have made the island a Mecca for artists. Since Cadell and Peploe’s visits to Iona in the early 20th Century, few artists have captured the island’s atmosphere as convincingly as Oliver.
A possible idea for a feature would be to compare the Colourists’ Iona with the one that Oliver finds today. Given the specificity of rocks and distant features it is possible to identify exactly the spots they stood in to paint their pictures. Oliver has created dozens of paintings that would offer intriguing comparisons to the Colourist's own. Furthermore, Portland Gallery represents and works with the estates of Cadell and Peploe – obtaining pictures rights would not be an issue.
Please click on the following link to view a video about Oliver and his work: https://www.youtube.com
Interviews and studio visits with Oliver can be arranged on request. Please scroll down for more examples of his work.
Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7493 1888
3 Bennet Street London SW1A 1RP 020 7493 1888 www.portlandgallery.com
Born in 1973, OAD is best known for his dramatic interpretations of the English landscape, and has even been described by critic Matthew Dennison as, "the foremost landscape painter of his generation".
Like many artists of the past, Oliver insists on working from life. However, by using a Land Rover with a large easel welded to the side Oliver is adapting traditional practice by being able to tackle ambitious compositions exclusively in the field without having to 'work up' pictures in the studio. As such, his work vividly conveys the experience of being on the spot, acting as material records of his interaction with the elements, of the changing weather and light. Many of his pictures depict the distinctive chalk downland near to his home in south Wiltshire with its steep-sided valleys and billowing cloudscapes. However his work is more than mere depiction - the whole business of looking and responding to the landscape is conducted in a highly-charged atmosphere. The paint is deployed rapidly in bold strokes creating a sense of urgency and conviction. Using a selection of palette knives and brushes, his mark-making is distinctively his, the surfaces of his pictures being themselves textured landscapes of pure pigment. Beyond the active process of manipulating paint there is also a serious concern with the formal aspects of picture construction, a fully-engaged attempt to resolve three dimensional experience in two dimensional terms.
While painting from an early age, a successful artist at school and having completed a Foundation course at Camberwell, Oliver is largely self taught as an artist. He graduated in 1997 from Edinburgh University with a first class degree in English Literature, initially working as a journalist and writer before returning to his vocation in 2000. Apart from producing several one-man shows, Oliver has worked to commission as a portraitist. He also produces still life, interior and figure studies during the winter months in his studio. His work is found in many collections both in England and abroad. He lives in Wiltshire with his young family.
Contact Oliver here.