Luke Williams (26), a picture restorer and conservator with the long established firm Cookes and Sons, is holding his first painting exhibition at Mercer Chance
Owners of the gallery were so impressed with Lukes work that they offered him his debut exhibition just as the London art season kicks off.
Luke has been drawing and painting for most of his life, however his main interest at present is working in oils. This exhibition of current work is to some extent influenced by the techniques and brushwork of the many artists Luke comes into intimate contact with on a daily basis. He has worked on great paintings by Monet, Sickert, Munnings, Seago and Hubert Robert, all of which provide insights into the work of these masters.
Asked what drives his passion for painting he says: My paintings embrace many influences, but what you see in paint is mine, and is therefore autobiographical.
After studying an art foundation course at Byam Shaw School of Art, Luke started an apprenticeship as a picture restorer at J.H. Cooke and Sons, where he has spent the last 6 years honing his skills and understanding of varied painting traditions. In his spare time he paints observed scenes from everyday life, that are clearly inspired by the delicacy and careful detail that he encounters when restoring the work of past masters, but his work is much more than a quotation of the past.
Like the Dutch interior painters he carefully records the mise-en-scene of contemporary life, casting a clear and revealing light onto a world of domestic mundanity. Pure sunlight slants through a high window and across a whitewashed wall. Glinting pots and jars crowd on a worktop. Moments of humour gently puncture the meditative atmosphere; a mischievous dog, a wonky picture, a wry smile. Night falls and the fluorescent washed, LED down lit living space is redoubled on the patio doors in a murky reflection that gives the picture spatial depth despite its glassy surface.
Whilst the paintings may feel studious, even devotional, they are never overworked or cold. Love of painting, of light, love of composition and of personal detail, is expressed
with a deft and thoughtful touch. Great pleasure is taken in describing everything faithfully, yet with the utmost efficiency, drawing with colour in a way that feels honest and natural, concise yet unhurried.