Oliver Akers Douglas is best known for his dramatic interpretations of the English landscape - once described by critic Matthew Dennison as "the foremost landscape painter of his generation".
Oliver insists on working from life. By using a Land Rover with a large easel welded to the side, Oliver is able to tackle ambitious compositions exclusively in the field. It is not necessary to 'work up' pictures from reference material in the studio. His pictures vividly convey his experience of being on the spot, acting as material records of his interaction with the elements, of the changing weather and light. Much of his work depicts the distinctive chalk down land near to his home in South Wiltshire - its steep-sided valleys and billowing cloudscapes but Oliver's paintings are more than mere depiction. The business of looking and responding to the landscape is conducted in a highly-charged atmosphere. The paint is deployed rapidly in bold strokes, creating an uplifting sense of immediacy. Using a selection of palette knives and brushes, his mark-making is distinctively his, the surfaces of his pictures being themselves textured landscapes of pure pigment. Beyond the active process of manipulating paint, there is also a serious concern with the formal aspects of picture construction - a fully-engaged attempt to resolve three dimensional experience in two dimensional terms.
Oliver began painting from an early age and was a successful artist at school. Apart from a Foundation course at Camberwell, Oliver is largely self taught. He graduated in 1997 from Edinburgh University with a First Class degree in English Literature, initially working as a journalist and writer before turning to his vocation in 2000. Oliver has been commissioned as a portraitist, but when the weather allows, the landscape is his focus. The winter months are typically given over to still life work and figure studies. His work is found in various English and international collections. He lives in Wiltshire with his young family. His first exhibition with Portland Gallery will take place in Autumn 2012.
Selected Press & Bibliography
Wiltshire Life, Broken English Weather July 2010, Rebecca Perl OEA Review 2010, Beyond the Drawing Schools, Rebecca Perl
Country Life, March 2009, The Bigger Picture, editorial
Royal Academy Gallery notes 2008, Gus Cummins
The Field, Out and About, November 2007, editorial
Country Life, May 2007, Plein Aire Painters, Mary Miers
House And Garden, June 2003, Looking Forward, Matthew Dennison
Blueprint Magazine, June 2003, Shows, editorial
2010 Art London
2009 One Man Show - Air Gallery
New Work by Old Etonians
2008 Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy
2007 One Man Show - Air Gallery
2006 Josie Eastwood - Group Show
2005 Hunting Prize Selection
Josie Eastwood - Group Show
2004 Josie Eastwood - May Show
Air Gallery - Solo Exhibition
Royal Society of Portrait Painters
2003 Josie Eastwood - May Show
Coningsby Gallery - Solo Exhibition