David Remfry RA in conversation with Anna McNay24/01/2017
David Remfry RA in conversation with Anna McNay
The Heatherley School Of Fine Art
75 Lots Road, SW10 0RN
David Remfry’s work has focused largely on the figure. Having studied painting and printmaking at Hull College of Art, he moved to London in the mid-1960s, where he became fixated on painting the American girl trios, the Shirelles and the Ronettes. A burgeoning reputation in America from 1980 onwards led him to move to New York in 1995, where he lived and worked at the Chelsea Hotel until 2016. Remfry’s models are drawn from a pool of friends and acquaintances he meets in clubs and bars, and many of his neighbours at the hotel have also sat for him.
Since 1980, Remfry has often worked in watercolour and has said: “I use the same gestures in watercolour as I use when working in oil. I use a large brush, loaded with pigment, over a flat surface. Watercolour can be pale and translucent, or the pigment can be dense and saturated into the paper, far from the polite little interiors or landscapes which are often thought to be the province of watercolour.”
His sketchbooks are full of couples dancing, people with tattoos, people with their dogs and, more recently, landscapes. His large-scale paintings of dancers can stretch to 10 foot by 3 foot and his long-established reputation has earned him more than 50 international solo exhibitions and an MBE for services to British Art in America. Remfry has also painted numerous portraits of such notable sitters as Sir John Gielgud, Susan Sarandon and Ethan Hawke.
In conversation with Anna McNay, Remfry will discuss his fascination with watercolour, his attraction to painting dancers, and some memorable encounters in both the Chelsea Arts Club and the Chelsea Hotel.
About David Remfry
David Remfry studied at Hull College of Art from 1959-64. He had his first solo show in London in 1973 and has since had more than 50 international solo exhibitions. His first show in the United States was at the Ankrum Gallery, Los Angeles, in 1980. He has since exhibited regularly at galleries in New York, Los Angeles and Florida and, in 2002, had a solo exhibition at PS1 Contemporary Art Center, NY, Museum of Modern Art affiliate, curated by Alanna Heiss and Daniel Marzona. Solo museum shows in England include the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Ferens Art Gallery, Hull; Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art; the National Portrait Gallery; and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Remfry was elected a member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1987. In 2001, he was awarded the MBE for services to British Art in America by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In 2006, he was elected a Member of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and, in 2007, he was invited to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Arts by the University of Lincoln. In 2010, Remfry was awarded the Hugh Casson Drawing Prize by the Royal Academy of Arts. In September 2016, he was made Eranda Professor of Drawing at the RA Schools.
About Anna McNay
Anna McNay is a freelance art writer and editor. She is Deputy Editor at State Media and former Arts Editor at DIVA magazine. She contributes regularly to Studio International, Photomonitor, Elephant magazine and The Mail on Sunday and has been widely published in a variety of other print and online art and photography journals and newspapers. She has written numerous catalogue essays and regularly hosts panel and in conversation events at galleries around London.
This event is free and open to the public but seating is limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.