"Figurative painter James Gillick lives and works in a quiet, beautiful backwater of rural Lincolnshire, England where he runs his busy studio. He makes all his materials by hand using techniques that date back to the 17th century. James’s work ranges from the smallest of still lifes, including game paintings to life size horse paintings. He also works on a wide variety of commissioned projects including portraiture and historic restoration."
James Gillick (b. 1972, Norfolk) is an artist working in the figurative tradition. He works from his studio in Louth, Lincolnshire. His paintings range from the smallest of still-lifes, including game paintings to large scale portraits and horse portraits, as well as church (building) re-ordering and gilding.
At a time when too much contemporary art is both adolescent and unexciting, it is a joy to find a true artist, committed heart, soul and hand to celebrate the beauty of the world. James Gillick sees this beauty in the ordinary: nothing here is picturesque or Romanticised
Using techniques that date back to the 17th century, Gillick handcrafts all the materials he uses within his studio; from the oil paints, waxes and glues, to the varnishes, canvases and stretchers. He deliberately uses a limited palette of six colours plus black & white, having prepared the oils from ground pigments. This gives the paints a thicker, stronger consistency, allowing him to employ a very wide range of brush strokes in a work from thin strongly coloured glazes to heavy impastos.
An art historian cannot help but sense in his works the distinguished genealogy of William Nicholson (artist), Giorgio Morandi and Fantin-Latour, and hear echoes that reach back to Luis Egidio Melendez and beyond.
Gabriele Finaldi of the Museo del Prado
James is the son of social critic Victoria Gillick and theatre set designer Gordon Gillick. James has an identical twin, the sculptor Theodore Gillick. James is cousin to 2002 Turner prize nominee Liam Gillick, and his great uncle and aunt were the sculptor Ernest Gillick & medallionist Mary Gillick.
James gained a degree in Landscape Architecture from Cheltenham and Gloucester College in 1993. In 1998 he won a commission to paint the Rt. Hon Baroness Thatcher. The three quarter length portrait was commissioned by the University of Buckingham to commemorate her six years as the chancellor of Britain’s only private university. Baroness Thatcher was, ‘absolutely delighted’ with her portrait and commented, ‘Can I thank the artist for doing the impossible – a kind portrait of me in a way I would like to be remembered.’ 2005 saw the completion of a portrait of Pope John Paul II commissioned by The Bishop of Nottingham, England, the Rt Rev. Malcolm McMahon, O.P.. The portrait now hangs in the Lady Chapel at St Barnabas' Cathedral in Nottingham and an identical copy tours the country’s parishes on request. Further commissions include the Most Rev. M. Couve de Murville, Archbishop of Birmingham in 1999.
An example of church restoration work by James and his family can be seen at the church of St Gregory and St Augustine in Summertown, Oxford, the parish church where J. R. R. Tolkien was a parishioner. The work here includes a new reredos for which James has painted panels featuring the patron saints St Augustine, St Gregory and the Virgin and child, plus a further ten panels in a type of iconostasis.