Artist’s journey for Rainford to Royal approval

Coop, one of Laurence Wood's paintings
Coop, one of Laurence Wood's paintings

A St Helens painter whose work has been collected by Prince Charles is prepating for his latest exhibition.

Laurence Woood began his artistic career with an Art and Design Foundation Course at The Gamble Institute in St Helens ... 1976, and was sponsored at the Royal College of Art by The Rainford Trust. The Lacey Contemporary Gallery proudly presents Laurence Wood in his second solo exhibition with the gallery, “Choice Emblems”.

Laurence will be presenting a new suite of paintings that extend his distinctive use of intense colour and emblematic forms. The exhibitions title comes from a famous Elizabethan emblem book “A Choice of Emblemes”.

Wood’s emblems are diverse. Some are naturalistic, and some not, some are cryptic whilst others are direct. You will find images of egrets, a lute player, chickens, refugees, my little pony, and a peacock cocktail fan assembled in this show. The paintings’ titles operate like the mottos or ‘subscriptione’ found alongside the ‘Pictura’ of medieval emblem books, and invite the viewer to consider particular, though not exclusive, decodings of the paintings. There are complex interplays in the work which viewers can explore at their own pace.

Alongside the initial impact that these paintings have they can also sustain much re-visiting and reflection.

They are bright and intense and as seen in his previous exhibition at Lacey ‘Around, Amongst, Within, Wood continues to exploit and celebrate his painterly juxtaposition of picture plane flatness against spatial illusion, figurative depiction against emotional gesture, and topographical observation combined with spontaneous invention.

“But if someone asks me what Emblemata really are? I will reply to him, that they are mute images, and nevertheless speaking: insignificant matters, and none the less of importance: ridiculous things, and nonetheless not without wisdom” Jacob Cats, 1577-1660.

Laurence Wood graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1985. He is an accomplished musician, and published writer and illustrator.

His paintings are included in both public and private collections including His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales collection at Highgrove House, the National Trust Foundation for Art, the Royal College of Art, London, the HSBC Bank HQ, Canary Wharf, London, and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park.

Laurence has exhibited extensively in the UK, Europe and in Asia and was a finalist in the 8th

Artelaguna Art Prize in Venice, Italy in 2014.

Laurence is currently living and working in Hong Kong where he holds a Professorship in the Department of Cultural and Creative Arts at the Education University of Hong Kong. This year he has exhibited video works as part of a collaborative video art/music project at the Black Box Theatre in Kowloon, and with the Videotage gallery at Art Basel, Hong Kong. In May he was invited to

exhibit a new painting in The Monochrome Show, Spice Select at Nadine Fine Art SE Asia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

This exhibition is partially sponsored by the Education University of Hong Kong.