LEONARD GREEN

Abstract/Street Art

Leonard Green was born in the north west of England in a ‘cotton’ and ‘mining’ town - Leigh near Wigan. He studied Foundation Art at Wigan School of Art then studied BA (Hons) Fine Art (Painting) at Manchester University followed by MA studies in Fine Art (Painting) also at Manchester. Amongst the exhibitions he was involved in during this time in the late 70s and 80s was a one-man show at the Turnpike Gallery in Leigh, Greater Manchester; a prestigious, contemporary art gallery. He has exhibited widely across the UK including the Royal Academy

In the course of his early development as an artist he became a semi professional DJ at a time when Northern Soul music was the dominant form of music in the night clubs of the Greater Manchester area - notably Leigh and Wigan. This music informed my paintings and in recent years, in particular, has provided the titles for my paintings.  

He left the Northwest of England in 1984 and joined the Art Department at Millfield School in Somerset – a prestigious private school.  A curious decision to make, leaving behind Art lecturing and being a practising artist - for a teaching post.  An even more curious twist to this tale is that whilst living up North he had qualified as a National Swimming Coach and was coaching at one of Britain's top swimming clubs – Wigan Wasps; subsequently he joined Millfield’s very successful swimming team.

It's quittin' time 150 diameter.jpeg

My work  attempts to create complex compositions enhanced by vivid colour, and tries to harness together very disparate elements of art: (drawing) lyrical and gestural abstraction with geometry and structure; spontaneity yet control, order and chaos; colour and form. The work essentially employs drawing and markmaking activities, working together to provide a rhythmic ‘dynamic’ in the work in which colour is dominant. There are ‘accidental’ suggestions of figurative/organic forms which encourage a wider personal engagement with the work and its interpretation; but fundamentally the work is pure abstraction – non referential. 

Titles of my paintings may conjour up figurative images in the viewer’s mind but they are for contemplation only rather than a narrative. These titles come from my passion for 1960s Northern Soul music, which has tremendous energy and sense of abandonment in a physical and romantic context, and which reflects my painting style.  I was a DJ in Wigan in the 60s and 70s and my immersion in this music provides me with a meaningful reason to identify my work by the title of a particular piece of music and the memories/experience it evokes. The world I invite you to enter is one of contemplation and reflection and offers the viewer the freedom of interpretation as you enter into a personal exploration and understanding of my work. 

The surface of the painting is kept simple to allow ‘drawing’/expression to be the quintessential feature; and the brushwork and mark making I employ celebrates the element of action and dynamism in the music. Consequently my work is in response to the music’s energy and the rhythmic dance moves.  A cursory visit to YouTube to see video examples of Northern Soul music dancing will explain it all!

Leonard Green

Exhibitions & mentions

1980          Sainsbury Visual Art Centre,  University of East Anglia

1980          ICA Galleries, London

1981           Manchester City Art gallery,           

1981           Undercroft Gallery Manchester

1981           Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester

1981           Graves Art gallery Sheffield, 

1981           Preston City Art gallery,         

1982          Sheffield Polytechnic Gallery

1983          Salford City Art Gallery

1983          Turnpike Gallery, Leigh, Greater Manchester (One Man Show)

2000         Mall Galleries, London 

2007          Lewis Gallery, Rugby

2012,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,21  Atkinson Gallery, Somerset

2014           Sidcot Galleries, Somerset

2014           Silo Gallery, Brighton Arts Festival

2014           Somerset House, Embankment Galleries, London

2015           Pallant House Galleries, Chichester

2015           Minerva Gallery, Chichester

2017           Royal Academy, London

2018           Sewell Gallery Oxford

2018           Atkinson Gallery, Millfield

2018           Castle Gallery, Exeter

2019           Sidcot Galleries, Sidcot, Bristol

2019           [HERE] Gallery, Bristol

2019           Royal West of England Academy, Bristol

2019           Prideaux Gallery, Farnham

2020          Roper Gallery, Bath Artists Studios, Bath

2020          Ace Art Gallery, Somerton, Somerset, Virtual Exhibition

2020          Absent Gallery, Somerset, Lockdown Virtual Exhibition

2021           Absent Gallery, Somerset, Open - Virtual Exhibition

2021           Ace Arts Gallery, Somerton, Somerset

2021           FLUX Exhibition, London, Virtual online

2021           Deansgate Gallery - Manchester - Manchester VR2020
 

One Man Shows

1983    28 May - 25 June - Turnpike gallery, Leigh, Greater Manchester

2018    7 September – 28 September -  Sewell Gallery, Oxford

2018    5 November – 8 December - Atkinson Gallery, Millfield, Street, Somerset

2019    7 January  – 25 February - Sidcot Gallery, Sidcot, Bristol, Somerset

2019    26 February - HERE Gallery, Bristol

2019    8 November – 28th  - Prideaux Gallery, Lord Wandsworth College, Farnham

2020  6 February - 1 March - Roper Gallery - Bath Artists Studios

2020  28 March - 7 May - Ace Art Gallery - Somerton, Somerset (VIRTUAL)

2021   18 May - 19 June - Ace Art Gallery, Somerton, Somerset

Awards

  • National Open Art 2014 Featured artist and selected prize-winner for their promotional artwork for the 2014 exhibition at Somerset House

  • Reviews of exhibitions in Artscribe magazine and Abstract Critical on line

  • International Sculpture Commission by Clarks Shoes International in 2006 to create a sculpture competition (and select a winner from the world’s leading sculptors) to produce a large scale sculpture to ‘front’ the entrance to their main factory in Street, Somerset

  • Selector for Allura Malta National Art Exhibition 2018

  • Review of One Man Show in Oxford Times - September 2018

  • Reviews of One Man Show in The Mancunion magazine - September 2018

  • Featured Artist in Somerset Life magazine November 2018 

  • Review of One Man Show in Galleries Magazine November 2018

  • Review of One Man Show in Evolver Magazine by Fiona Robinson November 2018

  • Featured Artist in Bath Life magazine February 2020