Opening in conjunction with the Baroque Unwrapped music programme, Piano Nobile presents Thomas Newbolt: Drama Painting - A Modern Baroque. Immense paintings by contemporary artist Thomas Newbolt explore the very essence of painting: the paradoxes of light and dark, psyche and body, figure and ground. Such liminal spaces are where Newbolt finds a vital potency: "I'm interested in the emotional area the painting opens up, so when I stand back I feel it's true". Layering undiluted oil paint in vigorous impasto, the paintings have a physical depth mirroring their expressive complexity.
Thomas Newbolt works in a studio by the fens in Cambridgeshire. Painting at dawn and dusk from memory rather than life, the atmosphere of the landscape and the unique, mysterious light infuse his paintings. Enigmatic female figures emerge from the darkness of a shadowy room into vivid light and the scrutiny of the viewer's glare. Patterned walls offset striking dresses. Intense inky blacks and blues adjacent to areas of flamboyant colour create dramatic, Baroque-like chiaroscuro. Powerful faces demand our attention but are unscrupulous. The figures are monumental in scale yet set back at a distance - elusively present. Together these figures are a harmonious collective and still strikingly individual.
Newbolt's dedication to the figure in art, and the vitality of his work have gained him international recognition. An artist of talent and intellectual integrity, he was Harkness Fellow at the University of Virginia and the University of Wisconsin, and a Fellow-Commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge, as well as a respected teacher at Camberwell, Anglia Ruskin and The Royal Drawing School, London. Recent exhibitions include Ely Cathedral, the Estorick Collection, and a group show, Vital Signs, at Clifford Chance in 2015. His work is held in major international public collections.