Monday, 31 March 2014

Robert. J. Wyatt - Artist

"I just wanted to draw," says realist artist Robert J. Wyatt. Something a great many of us have wished at some stage in our lives but few of us have the prerequisite talent or ability to do so. Robert, who keeps the J in his name to indicate that he is not the musician of note but another artist doesn't just draw: he paints some extraordinary works of art that may be rooted in the renaissance  period but whose works introduce another element not often found with the old masters.
It is Robert's bare faced cheek, his inherent sense of humour, of seeing something comical, and perhaps slightly whimsical in the objects he paints that I find so refreshing. The fact that Robert J. Wyatt is self taught makes his talent all the more remarkable.  I mean, flowers in vases is all well and good and not entirely unexpected but having a daffodil held in place by a peg is, well, a little absurd and definitely tickles my funny bone. 
"Ephemera II"
Born in Leeds in 1966 Robert grew up in a Yorkshire where art was not necessarily the first choice for a career but too young and without the talent to play for Don Revie's Leeds United, Robert became smitten by art following a family visit to a local gallery. It was that visit to Leeds City Art Gallery that had a profound impact upon the young boy"I was transfixed by the silent, unmoving world inside the paintings; they were real, the light was real, the people and the objects were real and yet it was just paint."
Just paint? The remark is not as flippant as it first seems. When you look into Robert's art, see how each fold of the cloth looks crisp, fresh and incredibly real, you begin to see why he said what he did and exactly where he is coming from. In the modern art world such work often gets overlooked. It really shouldn't be not when you spot those little witticisms Robert injects into the body of his work.

"I didn't understand tone, colour or the turning of form; would a piano teacher implore a new student to simply bang on the keys with his elbows? The only way was to teach myself and I read everything I possibly could about the techniques of classical painting."

Each one of these works has bee subject to a painstaking process that involves precise draughtsmanship, multi layers being applied before additional glazes complete the task. This art is as much of the artisan as of the artist.

I guess it depends both on taste and personal sense of humour but the combination of realism with a renaissance feel applied to the tools of modernity strikes me as beautiful, bold and very amusing. Pliers, leaf, spanner (OK America - monkey wrench), scissors and then finally a playing card, a King of Hearts. The cloth beneath the assemblage is detailed and flawed; not the art but the material which seems so real it might have just been put there for the purpose of capturing this image. The folds, the shades, the shapes and shadows add substance whilst the odd arrangement of items, not all tools it has to be said, gives an intriguing sense of curiosity much like when you gaze into an antique shops window and view something of the past furtively snuggling up to something of the present. It is that intrigue mixed with the curious that excites me.

"Although my technique has its roots in classical tradition, my main inspiration being the renaissance painters of Northern Europe as well as the Pre- Raphaelites, achieving realism is not my only goal. Most of my work has a narrative and I will often construct a painting around an idea or notion. These are paintings “about” rather than simply “of” things."


"Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way." Pink Floyd

Time features heavily in Robert's work. The passing off and the moment frozen. Time ticking inexorably on; of being allowed to pass without using each second to its fullest potential; existing in the frame but not in living that moments to its maximum. .

"A recurring theme in my work is "time", it's slippery nature and the unavoidable wastage of it, these three pictures in one way or another are illustrations of this."

Intellectualising art is fine if that is what floats your boat. I'd like to think I was reasonably intelligent but less cerebral and more intuitive. Whatever the thought process behind these lovely works of art might be I like their ability to instantly engage with the viewer; to pique your interest as you observe the remarkable technique but then, as head and heart combine, to discover that what is first seen is only part of the narrative. That in itself is a form of magic.

Robert J. Wyatt is Contemporary Realist Painter. You can Contact: him here: or see his work here:

I hope you like his work as much as i do.

Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.


X. Dell said...

Hey, I've lived in England. I know what a spanner is, thank you. A spanner is a guy who sends mass junk mail.

I do see the humor in this art, and appreciate it greatly. I can understand why you like his work. There seems to be a certain elegance to it as well.

Russell Duffy said...

I have to tease my American audience you know just to make sure they are still there!

Vanessa V Kilmer said...

They are beautiful in their simplicity, elegance and whimsy.

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A Utility Fish Shed Blog

A Utility Fish Shed Blog