Jim Tarpey: Artist and gallery owner

It may have taken him 40 years to get there, but gallery owner Jim Tarpey has finally found the time to create enough work to stage an exhibition of his own.

This year he has allowed himself the luxury of dedicating his time to working on a series of intriguing paintings and reliefs and they will be exhibited at the Tarpey Gallery in Castle Donington until June 17.

“The work derives from a project I originally started in the 1970s although all of it has been done this year. After 46 years working in education I decided it was time to develop my own work and have recently built a garden studio which has given me the space to do so,” he explained.

Jim is father to Luke Tarpey and partner in the contemporary fine art gallery his son manages.

“When we first moved here my intention was for the barn to be a studio, but Luke put forward plans for a gallery space that would support emerging artists in the region. I was in a position where I felt able to support him in that aim so we decided to give it a go. 

“I am delighted that the gallery has become so successful as a result of Luke’s vision and I have been particularly proud to see artists like Mandy Payne who first exhibited at our Midlands Open competition go on to succeed.”

Jim, who was born in South London, and lived in Surrey and Essex before heading for the Midlands, began his project, entitled Starting Point, while studying for a diploma in art and design. He then studied for a B Ed in Fine Art and began his career in education leaving, the project on the shelf.

It would be fair to say that his tutor at the time Jean Spencer was a big influence on his style and he is clearly a huge admirer of her work.

She was the youngest member of the Systems Group who developed canvases and constructions organised in arrangements free from painterly accident. 

Such was her influence on the art world that following her death in 1998 Nicholas Serota wrote a forward for a retrospective exhibition of her work at The Yarrow Gallery, Oundle School in Northamptonshire.

Like Jean’s work Jim says his paintings lie on the boundary between reason and emotion, logic and intuition, order and expression.

“Applying the Bauhaus theatre concept whose plots consisted of nothing more than the pure movement of forms, colour, space and light, I have constructed a matrix using both paintings and reliefs,” he said.

“The series involves a matrix system of cubes or squares moving across a grid. Paintings and reliefs are set within a stage on which experimentation with coloured light and shadows creates movement across the grids. I have used the rules of number and mathematics to explore rhythm and sequence, accentuated by the fall of light and shadow on the pure white or neutral surfaces of my reliefs.”

The exhibition runs  until June 17. For more information go to http://www.tarpeygallery.com

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