Biography

1953

Andrew became a full time student of Camberwell School of Arts & Crafts Junior Department at age 13. He went on to the Senior School.

1958

Graduated from Camberwell and a year later, from Manchester University College of Science & Technology and emigrated to Canada.

1960

Worked as a textile designer, married and began teaching in Northern Ontario.

1964

Moved south to teach at Central Technical School in Toronto, with Charles Goldhamer, Doris McCarthy and others. Began exhibiting batik paintings on silk. Set up new Art Department at Sir Sandford Fleming College, Peterborough, Ontario.

Worked with David Bierk and others to set up Art Space, an artist’s co-operative. Held solo exhibitions and was involved with group exhibitions at Art Space including his first installation “Two Ontario Ladies”

life model taking a break by Andrew Aarons
1954 - Life model taking a break
Canadian Bus Station
1977 - Canadian Bus Station

1977

Gave up teaching to paint full time. Solo exhibition of large installation “A Canadian Bus Station” at Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London. Simultaneously held a solo exhibition at The Prince Arthur Gallery in Toronto.

The installation consisted of paintings of the waiting room from different points of view, close to life size, and a wooden bench on which visitors were encouraged to carve and scrawl graffiti. A soundscape was included in which announcements of arrivals and departures of busses in French and English played almost continuously.

There was also the sound of a bus engine starting every 10 – 20 minutes and this was linked to a device which threw an odour into the gallery which was remarkably like diesel fumes. It wasn’t actually diesel. A chemist friend had concocted the smell from perfectly harmless chemicals. However the gallery guards refused to work at the exhibition for fear of being overcome by the fumes, so we had to stop the smell.

1980

Returned to England. Settled in Cambridge but continued to show with The Prince Arthur gallery in Toronto.

1981

Two simultaneous major solo exhibitions in Hamilton, Ontario and Toronto. The Toronto show consisted of images of London and Cambridge. The Art Gallery of Hamilton show was an installation entitled The London Underground.

The underground installation consisted of paintings of people travelling through the underground on platforms and on escalators. Crowding into the already full trains. These were painted in the studio from studies in pen and ink made over two or three months while travelling on the underground

The London Underground authority had very kindly given me a number of full size wall posters for use in the installation along with permission to use tube station names and the famous Underground map.

The lighting in the gallery was subdued and barriers were set up so that the visitors were encouraged to follow a particular route through the installation to create the impression in their mind that they were actually in an underground station. The barriers were used to support the paintings and the posters. Unfortunately the gallery did not allow me to build an escalator.

Visitors were encouraged to scribble comments (graffiti) on the posters. Fortunately they didn’t damage any of the paintings.

The British Arts Council and the Hamilton Art Gallery shared the cost of transporting the installation from my studio in Cambridge to Hamilton Ontario.

1981 - Trafalgar Square
1981 - Trafalgar Square
1982 - Past the Post
1982 - Past the Post

1982

Solo exhibition at the Montpelier Gallery in Knightsbridge, London. This show consisted of paintings made in Newmarket, the horse racing centre of the UK. The exhibition was called A day at the Races in memory of one of Andrew’s favourite movies.

1985

Became the first living artist to hold a solo exhibition at the National Horse Racing Museum in Newmarket. The exhibition, Aspects of Newmarket, was great critical success. Andrew became well known in the UK Horse Racing world for his sensitive paintings of Newmarket life. In the latter 80’s he went to Russia and Poland.

The visits had a profound effect on his later work. Meanwhile, there were many exhibitions and commissions. He began teaching painting and drawing at the Cambridge School of Art and went back to Camberwell to study Printmaking.

1990

Began a series of solo and group exhibitions in London, Cambridge, Berlin and numerous other cities, showing the prints, drawings and paintings he had produced in response to the German invasion of Poland and Russia and the destruction of millions of Jews. His series of the Jewish Holocaust, Images of the Shoah, are particularly harrowing. A few can be seen in the Gallery.

During this period Andrew began exploring Europe His interest was in locations related to conflict. He drew and photographed sites the marauding Crusaders had visited on their way to Jerusalem in the 11th Century; and continued working through history to the 20th Century battle grounds from the Somme to the Normandy Beaches.

The paintings and drawings, some of which are still being made, are surprising because they show none of the horror of battle. He shows us the way the world looks today. You can see more of the Normandy Landscapes in the Landscape Gallery.

1990 - Four Nuns on a Walk in the Country
1990 - Four Nuns on a Walk in the Country
2004 - Taxi to the Station After a Bad Night
2004 - Taxi to the Station After a Bad Night

2004

Much of the work that Andrew was now doing concentrated on childhood memories; particularly the period of his earliest memories of wartime evacuation to Wales with his mother, grandmother and older sister. Andrew’s father was in the army. Some of the paintings are directly remembered images, autobiographical, and others are memories of general feelings of the intensity of his mother’s reactions to the blitz. They include his feelings of the unexpected tranquillity of Welsh rural countryside after experiencing only the city of London.

2005

Andrew was asked to hold a retrospective exhibition In August September of 2005 at a beautiful country mansion, Wimpole Hall, near Cambridge. The Wimpole Gallery and Wimpole Hall is owned and operated by the National Trust.

He agreed, but with the proviso that he could also include some new work, to be painted especially for the show. These new paintings became part of the Landscapes of Memory series. You can see some of them in the Unforgotten Dreaming on this site.

At the end of the academic year, June 2006, Andrew retired from teaching at The Cambridge School of Art and was able to begin painting full time. He also began to plan on a move back to his home town, London.

2006

Andrew found a studio in South West London, close to the area he and his wife wanted to live. For the eighteen months, until the final move, he commuted to the studio and spent three or four days a week setting it up and later began actually making paintings there.

He began making paintings of memories of his time at Camberwell School of Art. These included art history classes, plant drawing, museum study sessions at the National Gallery, Tate and the Victoria and Albert Museum. One of Andrew’s obsessions then and now was the rubber plant. It appears time and again in various forms, often distorted and combined with memories of paintings by the artists he learned about.

The two examples shown depict his memories of Picasso, Constable, the old entrance to the art school, tiles and colours at the V & A and the ubiquitous plant.

It was also during this period that he held two successful exhibitions with friends in Lewes, East Sussex.

2006 - Memories of Landscapes
2006 - Memories of Landscapes
2008 - Lucy
2008 - Lucy

2007-12

Once the Andrew felt completely comfortable in his new studio he began preparing for an exhibition with a fellow painter to be held in April 2008. The venue was Mayfair; a small gallery in Shepherd Market. This would be Andrew’s first London show for over 20 years. The exhibition was called City Life and included paintings that Andrew had been working on for the last two and a half years in London and Cambridge.

City Life was followed by a second exhibition at the same gallery in February 2010. This time there were three artists: a sculptor plus Andrew and his previous compatriot. Andrew’s paintings and etchings were largely inspired by music and its performance. He invited a contemporary music group to come and perform at the gallery for one evening during the exhibition.

A third exhibition followed in April 2012 that concentrated on light. For this group of works Andrew harnessed his usual themes; the urban landscape, music and sport to explore the nature of light. Andrew said, “These are also explorations of the way in which light affects mood.”

During this period Andrew also worked on a number of commissioned pieces, both portraits and landscapes.

2010

Andrew makes a YouTube video!

2009-10 - The Flautist
2009-10 - The Flautist
2011-12 - Valerie
2011-12 - Valerie

2011-12

Andrew was asked to illustrate a detective novel by his old friend Barry Fantoni. The book is called Harry Lipkin, P.I. It’s about an octogenarian Jewish, Miami based private eye. Andrew made an illustration for every chapter.

This little promotional animated video uses some of Andrew’s illustration.

Many thanks to Birlin Publishers and Richard Murison for allowing me to display this video.

2012

Light and Dark. an exhibition of Oils, Drawings and Prints. The Gallery, Shepherd Market, Mayfair, London.

2013

Andrew and Barry Fantoni, the founder of the Depechist movement, together held a one day exhibition and a workshop at the Hand in Hand pub in Wimbledon on 16th March 2013. Lots of people came to find out about Depechism and to watch Andrew and Barry making art. They also exhibited some of their most recent Depeche pieces.

The landlord of the Hand in Hand, Andrew Ford, wants them to do it again. Hopefully when the weather is better and when the England rugby team isn’t so thoroughly beaten by the Welsh. On the other hand, Barry was delighted because Italy beat the Irish on the same day.

You can see some of Andrew’s Depechist pieces on the Work Available page and also read the Manifesto below.

Dépêchism

A new art movement formed in Calais by Barry Fantoni in 2012.

Manifesto

The principal is haste. To finish a work as quickly as possible. Dépêchists must set a time limit on their work. A large canvas will take longer than a small drawing. The number of inches of the longest edge of the work is to be translated into minutes. This will be the time limit. Six inches = six minutes. And so on. Reworking may take no longer than one sixth of the time taken to create the work.

Dépêchists may work from life but it is not advisable. Looking at an object takes time. Dépêchists work best when reflecting on something they have seen. Or imagined. Or invented. Dépêchism can be narrative or abstract.

I advocate drawing or painting something previously drawn or painted. A very early image is recommended. I advocate taking a picture and re-drawing or re-painting it as if it was being done in the present.

To illustrate this point. Pretend you are as you were when an art student. Be that art student again. See the image now. It might be a tree from a window. A life model. The students dancing. Make it again as the artist you are now. But using the image you did then as the subject.

Pretence aids haste, which is a Dépêchists’ main objective.

Dépêchism offers an art free of meaningless decoration or time to reflect. It is the art of the instant. As is talking. Or playing an instrument. Or writing. Or eating. Or making love. Or reading. Or running. Or laughing. Or dying.

Dépêchism is the salvation of fine art.

Barry Fantoni Calais May 1 2012

2013

Showed in 3 group exhibitions: Drawing Now, Portrait and Identity, and Earthscape-Landscape at Linchpin Gallery, Eastbourne, UK.

Andrew was commissioned by his old primary school, Richard Atkins, to make a drawing of the front of the school. The drawing is to be presented the retiring chairman of the school governors. Andrew is the resident artist for the school.

I Know a Great Place for a Picnic on The Downs is one of the works selected for the Chelsea Arts Club Year Book 2014

2015

Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, UK. Solo exhibition, Painting Music.

2013 - I Know a Great Place for a Picnic on The Downs
2013 - I Know a Great Place for a Picnic on The Downs
Race Horse
Race Horse

2015

Norman Plaistow Gallery, London, UK. Solo exhibition of work on Paper.

2017

Solo exhibition at the Hand in Hand public house, Wimbledon.

2018

Group exhibition at Menier Gallery. January.

Poppy at the Hand in Hand
Poppy at the Hand in Hand
Manet’s Fifer at Pevensey Castle by Andrew Aarons
Manet’s Fifer at Pevensey Castle

2018

Solo exhibition Wimbledon. September 15th to 23rd. Part of the Merton Arts Festival.

2019

Solo exhibition “Buy Before I die” at Menier Gallery on 13th March.

The private view was very successful. There was lots of bubbly, happy people and a little movie of Andrew making one of the paintings  shown and sold in the exhibition. It’s now in Russia.  You can read one of the reviews of the show if you here. Andrew is planning on his next show which will take place in May 2021. He’s working on the new pieces now.

Andrew Aarons Exhibition Buy Before I Die - March 2019
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