Sci-Fi Surrealist: Patrick Woodroffe's Flight of Fantasy at the Royal Cornwall Museum

By Ruth Hazard | 11 June 2012
Patrick Woodroffe's work has appeared as cover art on a series of rock music albums
© Bernie Pettersen
Exhibition: Flight of Fantasy, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, until 30 June 2012

Science fiction fantasy artist, Patrick Woodroffe, has racked up an impressive list of achievements. His CV includes two bronze sculptures for a display in Switzerland, the cover art for a series of rock albums and character designs for the film version of The Never Ending Story.

His distinctively surreal artworks have now been brought to his current home county for a new exhibition that showcases his vivid use of colour and painstaking attention to detail.

Woodroffe's illustrations have a distinctively surreal style© Bernie Pettersen
The museum's director Hilary Bracegirdle describes Woodroffe as an "inspiring artist... with a cult following throughout Europe".

"We are very lucky to present work spanning his career from the early 60s to the present day," she says. "Created with amazing flights of fantasy and hand drawn with oil and pencil, it is an incredible talent that you would think had been computer animated,”

Born in Halifax in 1940, Woodroffe originally studied languages, gaining a degree in French and German from the University of Leeds, but while working in France and Vienna he became fascinated by the work of Matthias Grünewald and 20th century Surrealists. 

Fans may also know him as a poet and author who moved to Cornwall in 1964 and taught at the Girls’ Grammar School in Truro before becoming a full-time artist and illustrator in 1972.

“I feel at home in my own imagery,” he says. “I live in a world of my own, a planet with portraits and landscapes far too pretty to be called ‘modern art’.

“My ‘Text and Images’, which come just from my memories and my imagination, are nearly always limited to optimism. Tragic stories and ugly imagery never make me happy.”

  • Open: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 4.45 pm.
    Admission: Adults £5 (then valid as an annual pass), Children (aged 18 and under) free.

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