Ian Middleton was born in 1946 and has a studio at Burley in Wharfedale. He is largely a self-taught professional artist:
…although I spent three years after school studying life classes in an offshoot of Bradford Art College three evenings per week as I followed my initial work in poster and brochure design at the Bradford Insurance Company back in the very early sixties! … I have since studied techniques and styles through books and latterly the good old internet.
He has applied a range of painting styles to his work over the years, particularly in the form of classical art reproductions, but now specialises in colourful abstract expressionism that often expresses his concern about the natural world. He has said of his current artwork:
My real inspiration in art comes from the expressionism period with its bright, contrasting, colourful works. I believe art should grab the viewers attention and hold it. The ability to plant an ambiguity and at the same time introduce elements of a story board is now uppermost in my mind when I set out to paint.
Ian’s work can often mask or merge hidden images or icons that reveal themselves when the painting is studied. The example below, ‘Cry From the Edge’, completed in 2016, depicts the impact of Man upon nature. A giant scythe cuts through the terrain and animals and landscape extracts are woven into the artwork.
An adapted copy of the work above was auctioned for the Marie Curie charity at the Royal Academy (RA) 2017 Summer Exhibition, and previous work by Ian has similarly been auctioned by the RA. His painting, ‘Polar Bears’ (shown below) was auctioned at the RA 2016 Summer Exhibition, and he has also raised money for Marie Curie and the St. Gemma’s Hospice by the auction of his original work at local fund raising events.
In 2018, The Burley-in-Wharfedale Community Trust commissioned Ian to create a painting of the village as a legacy work. Ian agreed to donate the 4ft wide work, on canvas, to the Trust for free and at the same time make available prints of both the drawing and the painting, at a much reduced cost to normal. The Trust wanted images of the painting to be accessible at affordable prices to the whole community. Local people were invited to contribute their ideas to Ian during the painting, which depicts the many architectural and countryside features of the village.
Ian’s work has also been exhibited in the region, including at the Leeds 17th Art Exhibition, The Otley Gallery, and in commercial premises locally. It has also been featured in Yorkshire Life and The Dalesman. He also tutors and teaches art on an individual basis at his studio in Burley in Wharfedale (see details via the ‘My Art’ link, below).
Artist’s Website: SomervilleArts
See also Ian Middleton: ‘My Art’.