Browse the Joash Woodrow Archive collection below, a series of exclusive prints available.
Among all the rich and varied themes that make up Joash Woodrow’s extraordinary artistic achievement – landscapes, portraits and still-lifes among them – it is the large body of his figurative works that provide perhaps the most elusive, mysterious and yet, potentially some of the most revealing aspects of his entire output. Elusive, because his subjects, mostly groups of figures in landscape or interior settings, often seem to provide a curious mix of references not only to an artistic reality such as Cezanne’s Bather and Card Player or Picasso’s Artist and Model but also an everyday reality suggestive of visits to street fairs, bars and social gatherings that would seem to run counter to all we know (or thought we knew) about his intensely reclusive way of life and obsessively shy personality.
By the mid 1970’s he seems largely to have moved away from such themes, to focus entirely on his urban landscapes though this is not quite such an abrupt development as it might, at first, seem. The landscape that appears so frequently as a backdrop increasingly becomes the subject itself but still filled with a sense of vibrant human and animal presence. Many such pictures were inspired by images found in the Magazines of Art; (the collection of Victorian Magazines of Art which initially led to the re-discovery of the Woodrow collection in 2001) providing the perfect ready made sketchbooks in which he could draw and paint over the monochrome illustrations and accompanying text. These ten books produced during the early – mid 1970’s contain over 250 works, the drawings frequently providing the basis of ideas for larger paintings.
No theme in Joash’s work – portrait or still-life, landscape or figurative theme is, in truth, separate from the other – but, rather, infuses the other with its insights, filled with visual information drawn both from a profound understanding of the nature of art and close, intuitive observation of the world around him.
Nicholas Usherwood – art critic and writer. Editor of Galleries Magazine