Richard Hobson at The Laing Art Gallery | Newcastle upon Tyne

RICHARD HOBSON (1945-2004) – Paintings and Monotypes
The Laing Art Gallery, New Bridge Street, Newcastle upon Tyne
Exhibition running from November 5 – February 5, 2017

The Laing Art Gallery, one of the region’s most popular and well-respected art museums, has collaborated with Gallagher & Turner, who opened their new gallery space at 30 St Mary’s Place in April this year, to present over 25 years of work by the late artist Richard Hobson, in an exhibition spanning spanning both venues.

After art college, Richard Hobson worked as a designer for Swan Hunter’s shipyard on Tyneside in the 1960s before going on to study the conservation of easel painting at Gateshead College. This lead to work as a Conservator at the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, a position he held for 31 years until his death in 2004, at the age of 59.

Throughout his working life, Hobson continued to paint, securing his first solo exhibition at the Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead, in 1972. He continued to exhibit throughout the North East, and also showed work at the Royal Academy, London, and with the Royal Society of Watercolour Painters in Edinburgh.

Both galleries have worked closely with Richard’s widow, Pat Hobson, who offered a fascinating insight into the artist’s process and source of inspiration.

“Richard worked regularly on landscapes in Sunderland and Gateshead, but he would also work in situ at Tyne Dock or at the Swan Hunter and Appledore yards,” says Pat. “He got permission from the shipyard management to go and people knew him. He’d be painting or sketching and they’d talk to him. Richard always had a tale to tell.”

The exhibition focuses on Hobson’s industrial scenes. On display at Gallagher & Turner are several paintings of Tyne Dry Docks, with towering cranes and dark skies, while the Laing Art Gallery are showing windswept Blyth landscapes dominated by power stations and wind turbines, among other works.

Hobson was interested in how heavy industry affected the landscape, both physically and culturally. He had a deep understanding of the areas he painted, which combined with his remarkable skill as a draughtsman, resulted in a body of work capturing a rich, detailed portrait of working life in the North East of England.

In addition to the exhibition, Pat has also given two important works to the Laing Art Gallery on long-term loan. These two large watercolours depict the Tyne Dry Dock from South Shields after it closed, and will become part of the ‘Northern Spirit’ gallery in the Laing until the end of 2017.

Bob McManners and Gillian Wales speaking about Richard Hobson's work at the opening of the exhibition at Laing Art Gallery
Bob McManners and Gillian Wales speaking about Richard Hobson’s work at the opening of the exhibition at Laing Art Gallery

‘Richard Hobson: The North East’s Changing Industrial Landscape’ is open now at at the Laing Art Gallery, continuing until 5 February 2017, with additional works on display at Gallagher & Turner until 19 November 2016. Many works at both venues will be available for sale.

More information on the exhibition is available here.

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