Seeing the individual in the landscape

The artist Michael Cullimore was born in Bradford on Avon in 1936, moving to Wales in 1968 and then on to Devon in 1997. He studied at Swindon College of Art before moving on to Goldsmith’s College of Art, later becoming Curator at the University College of North Wales Bangor Art Gallery from 1972 to 1982 when he retired and returned to his native Wiltshire for a time.

Cullimore’s work is extremely varied, from landscapes to figures, trees, fossils and floral pieces such as “Summer flower head”, a series of watercolours. It may not be surprising that the Wiltshire landscape features in his work, and his interpretation of it is varied; both individual and unique. The artists David Nash and Claire Langdown note

“The seemingly effortless control of his brush (and whatever is on it) plus the water element allows physics to join forces with his images, giving us an imagination and freedom that is truly rare.”

John Russell Taylor wrote in the The Times that Cullimore “has an odd and individual way of looking at things”. A home-grown symbolist, he sees unexpected illusions in the shape of the landscape, and that can certainly be true of the Wiltshire examples we have acquired on behalf of Bradford Avon Museum. His work possesses bold sweeping shapes, sometimes sombre, but at other times vibrant.

Michael’s work can be found in many public collections including the National Museum of Wales, the Russell Coates Art Gallery in Bournemouth, and also closer to home at Salisbury Museum, the John Creasy Collection at Salisbury’s Young Gallery and at Wiltshire Heritage Museum, Devizes. But it is fitting that Bradford on Avon Museum as the place of his birth and formative years should become home to examples of the artist’s landscape work that inspired his unique view of the world.

It is exciting to be able to view the Wiltshire landscape through different eyes, revealing everyday views in a new and unusual light. Cullimore’s artwork certainly got us talking and taking another look at our local landscape in a different way – what does it do for you?

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