John Hurford : Artist as Muse
6 February – 27 March 2015
An exhibition of portraits by John Hurford, one of the most influential psychedelic painters of the sixties. John was a great force behind the British psychedelic art movement, contributing to influential underground publications - OZ Magazine, International Times and Gandalf’s Garden.
John is well known for his flower paintings, highly detailed observations from the natural world around him in the Devon country side. In the eighteen months preceeding this exhibition John had also been painting and drawing portraits of women artists from the North Devon area. These portraits include photographers, sculptors and ceramicists all working in the fine and applied arts, from students to internationally acclaimed artists.
This is was not the first time that John had explored portraiture within his work, as he explained, “Just over ten years ago I did an exhibition of portraits. Portraits of my friends, friends that I had worked with or known for a long time. They were all men, all around fifty, and all in pencil”.
John had always wanted to paint women but realised that it would be hard to find enough people willing to sit for him. “I had painted my wife Jane, many times, and even though she didn't mind my ‘realistic’ portraits of her, they put off many possible subjects. So I came to the idea of painting women artists, who as artists would understand what I was trying to do”.
His first portrait of a woman artist was of Suzanne Hobbs, who had won the Broomhill prize for sculpture and also lived locally to John as a farmer. John was happy with the results of this painting, but this was a couple of years before he embarked on the Artist as Muse project for White Moose. By the end of 2014 this project consisted of over twenty portraits of women artists and was be exhibited at White Moose from 6 February - 27 March 2015.