Clive Head
Artists & Illustrators|October 2019
Clive Head
A decade on from his record-breaking National Gallery show, the Kent-born painter reveals how he developed a more expressive wayof working.
Steve Pill

Your latest body of work feels like a departure from the precise realism of your 2010 exhibition at London’s National Gallery. What prompted the change?

I see it more as a development from those urban landscapes shown at the National Gallery. My understanding of being an artist has always been underpinned with a relentless questioning and a desire to get nearer to the truth. A snapshot taken in 2010 and one taken now would suggest a huge shift, but it would be more accurate to say that there has been a steady progression.

One of the problems was a common assumption that the paintings were photorealist. I knew that I had to make my work more explicit in intent. My spatial and temporal concerns are certainly more obvious now.

The exhibition catalogue includes a drawing for Dante via Bank. Could you tell us a little about this planning stage?

It might be misleading to see the drawing as a planning stage. Or it might be better to see the drawing as having two purposes. Most of my paintings begin with a heavilyworked drawing, so in that sense, they act as a preparatory study, but I also regard them as absolute works in their own right. I can work on a drawing for days, way beyond what would be needed for the bare bones to begin a painting.

How many drafts and redrafts does a typical composition go through?

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October 2019