Exhibitions Reviews and Press Releases


Press Release:

Jack Coulthard - A Coming of Age 1969-1990

A Retrospective exhibition of paintings, drawings and sculpture at the Byram Gallery, Taunton.
1 October - 20 October 1990

by Bill Weir, Director of Byram Gallery

Jack Coulthard lives in Kingston St Mary, near Taunton, but is an artist of international reputation. This retrospective exhibition, covering the 21 years from 1969-1990, of some eighty paintings, drawings and sculptures, has great power and drama as a body of work. The artist is a novelist and poet, and literary references from writers like Ezra Pound, Joyce and Kafka mix with myth and legend to feature prominently as a source of inspiration. A Yorkshire upbringing in Saltaire, the model industrial town on the banks of the Aire river, was also an important influence at a number of levels. Sir Titus Salt built this town in the neo-classical style that rivalled the splendour of Florence and the young Jack became very familiar with the vocabulary of classical architecture. This experience was reinforced when he lived in Italy for a year in Tarquinia. It is not surprising, therefore, that many of the paintings concern themselves with landscape and architectural settings that would have been familiar to Palladio.

Then there is the other side of the Yorkshire experience - 'Dad at the Mill', the influence of barge and caravan painting - the gritty insights into peoples lives.

Coulthard's power as an artist is best seen when he comments on his fellow human beings; the pride, the folly, the splendour. A recurring image is the Salvation Army girl, who often is portrayed as Persephone (Goddess of Spring and Queen of Hell) no doubt as a symbol of redemption for us all.

The influences of film makers like Kurosawa and Spielberg can be seen in the paintings as well as the graphic works of "The Cold Mountain Colouring Book".

The 'Cold Mountain' series has been developed into novels, stage projects and an animated film is at present being considered. Here we see the artist at his most witty and ironic using a universal symbolism to give the work great clarity in order to communicate with his audience. It is important for artists to be able to communicate with people in Coulthard's view and he is able to do this without pretension or condescension.

"Artists are perhaps entertainers but not social workers. They are kinds of jugglers, tricksters and conjurers. If they are lucky they are kinds of shamans as well".