LONDON.- Landscape artist Rihard Kidd was swept to his death after he swam too close to a waterfall while on holiday in the Philippines
Richard Kidd was born and brought up in Newcastle studying painting at Newcastle University 1970-74, winning a prize in the major John Moores Liverpool Exhibition and in that same year winning an Abbey Major Scholarship to Rome. Numerous other successes followed including an Arts Council award.
Between 1975 and 1980 Richard taught painting at Reading and Newcastle Universities whilst developing his work.
Richard had his first one man exhibition in London at The Rowan Gallery in the late 1970s whilst still in his early 20s. He continued to exhibit at The Rowan until it closed in the early1990s.
In 1980, after being awarded the Harkness Fellowship, he spent a year painting in California. He then moved to New York. He lived and worked for the next six years exhibiting both in New York and London.
New York appealed because of the intensity and extreme contrasts of the urban experience, informing the way that he looked at and painted landscape ever since. He responded to the highly charged urban landscape by using oils as well as acrylic. Back in England he continued to use oil paint, preferring a less measured, more volatile approach than his earlier techniques produced.
Richards paintings were large canvases painted with flat acrylic and graphite washes, inspired by the northern landscape and his love of rock-climbing. Rock-climbing has always been a strong influence on his paintings because of the shared intensity of both experiences. The attention to detail moving slowly across a piece of rock suddenly looking round and seeing the larger view a similar process to working on a large paintings. The shared experience of the total immersion and concentration of both climbing and painting runs in parallel.
Recently he had started working in the open air, making drawings and paintings which were the basis of work created in the studio, while existing as pieces in their own right. The one quality of both being the sense of place.
He exhibited in the gallery continuously over the last ten years, in both solo and mixed exhibitions.
Underpinning the seemingly effortless, fast and sometimes volatile paint application was a superb draftsmanship that made his pencil and charcoal drawings as admired and sought after as his paintings; the plain air paintings of recent years, often with rain and sand merging with the paint, were more figurative than his large oil paintings; they were of trees, streams and lochs, described by Richard as drawings rather than paintings but with all the loose, fast mark-making that gave his work such liveliness.
Whilst living in Warwickshire Richard was an inspiration to established and emerging painters alike. Generating huge enthusiasm and production through his teaching and his own body of work.
He was an immensely gifted painter and teacher, good company and a great cook! His daughters Rachael and Daisy have both inherited his artistic flair and abilities. He was much loved by friends who knew little of painting, as well as by those who did. Both he, and the promise and anticipation of new work, will be greatly missed.
Of his work Richard had this to say:
My paintings are about remote, mountainous landscapes because thats where I feel most at home. I make them in ways which push my control of materials to the limit because that feels like being there.
Georges Braque once said, Making a painting is like taking a journey. This seems to me to be a fitting comparison. Sometimes you know where youre going. The route is planned. Other times you get lost, perhaps deliberately, and end up somewhere totally unexpected. Both approaches are equally valid.
The one quality, common to both, which distinguishes the successful painting from the failure is a sense of place.
We shall all miss him his family, his friends and admirers of his work.
Sarah Stoten, The Stour Gallery, Warwickshire
Public Collections include:
Arts council of England, North East
Central Square, Newcastle
Clare College, Cambridge
Coopers Lybrand, London
Directors Institute, London
Law Courts, Birmingham
Leicestershire Education Authority
MOMA Rio de Janeiro
MOMA San Francisco
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Represented at the Miami Art Fair 2005