Finding a natural path: David Heathcote goes Beyond Horizons through landscapes at GV Art

By Ben Miller | 21 February 2011
An image of a rich oil painting showing a blue and black background with multicoloured floating figures. The feel of the piece is as if under a deep sea
David Heathcote, Night Thoughts (2009). Oil on Canvas© Courtesy GV Art Gallery, London. Photo: Peter Kidd
Exhibition: David Heathcote – Beyond Horizons, GV Art Gallery, London, until April 21 2011

David Heathcote is an artist who sounds almost spiritual when he discusses the artistic reawakenings he has gone through. Sixty-four years after he began studying at Canterbury College of Art as a young Kent cubist, his style is still evolving.

“I think about myself as an art student at Canterbury and the Slade, mistakenly convinced, as I would be for years, that landscape in my painting should always be subordinate to figures,” he sagely rues.

“Yet I had grown up and often lived with landscape all around me. I was at home in it, with its sights, its displays of life and growth and death, its colours, scents and sounds. I was at ease with it. Now I am on a creative path to re-explore it.”

He taught art in Rhodesia and Nigeria between 1967 and 1979, then became a sculptor – “almost by chance”, he says – when he returned to his home county.

His African years increased the intensity of his palette and saw him take on motifs and emblematic ideas, but his career of self-discovery remains rooted in his first love.

“It took a long time before I found a more natural path for my painting,” he says.

“My exhibition in Chiltern Street will show something of my quest for a deeper understanding of my world of landscape and my journey as a sculptor.”

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