Belgrave St Ives - Modern & Contemporary Art

Tom Cross

Tom Cross (1931-2009)

Born: Manchester

Trained at Manchester School of Art.
Awarded the Proctor Scholarship, the Plimmer Scholarship and the silver Medal for Painting of the Royal Manchester Institution. Founder Member of the Northern Young Artists Association 1949-53
Studied at the Slade School of Art, University of London, President of the Slade Society
Awarded the Robert Stanbury Post-Graduate Scholarship 1953-56
Awarded the Abbey Minor Scholarship. Worked at the British School in Rome and travelled in northern Italy
Awarded a French Government Scholarship and worked for a year in Paris and in the south of France 1956-58
Assistant Director of the Welsh Arts Council, Cardiff 1959-63
Lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Reading. (Senior Lecturer 1969-1976.) 1963-76
Visiting Professor for six months at Ohio State University, Columbus, USA 1971
Principal of Falmouth School of Art. Member of the Penwith Society of Artists, St Ives. Later Chairman of the Penwith Galleries Ltd. 1976-87
Elected Member of the London Group 1978
Visiting Professor at the Simons Centre for the Arts, College of Charleston, South Carolina, USA 1983-84
External Examiner in Art and in Art History, the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and at the University of Exeter. Lecturer in Continuing Education. University of Exeter 1989-94
Examiner in Fine Art to the Dublin Institute of Technology 1998-2000
Lecturer for the National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies. (NADFAS) 1994-2003


One-person Exhibitions:

'Tom Cross: Painting of Cornwall and Other Places', Belgrave St Ives, St Ives
'Tom Cross - Fifty Year's Work', Belgrave Gallery St. Ives.
'Connections', In the collection of the Falmouth Art Gallery.
'The Tom Cross Archive University College, Falmouth' Launch.
'Paintings of tThe Helford River', The New Yard Restaurant, Trelowarren, near Helston.
'Helford - A River and Some Landscapes', The Gallery, Trelowarren near Helston, Cornwall.
'Paintings of the Helford River', The Great Atlantic Gallery, Falmouth.
'Paintings of The Helford River', The Garden Gallery, Trebah, Cornwall.
'Paintings of Venice', The Chelsea Arts Club, London.
'Recent Paintings' at the Penwith Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall.
'Paintings of Cornwall and Australia' at Gallery East, Fremantle, Western Australia.
'The First Ten Years', the Majlis Gallery, Dubai.
'Tom Cross Paintings', The Coach-house Gallery, Guernsey, Channel Isles.
'One-man exhibition at the residence of the British Ambassador, Muscat, the Sultanate of Oman.
'Tom Cross - Paintings of Cornwall and Wales'. The University of Wales, School of Art Gallery, Aberystwyth.
The University of Birmingham, the Goldmark Gallery, Rutland and the Penwith Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall.
'Italian Paintings', Richard Philp Gallery, London.
'Paintings or Cornwall', Austin Desmond Fine Art. Albany Gallery, Cardiff.
'Ocean Landscapes', Jan Going Gallery, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.
'A River and Some Landscapes', William Halsey Gallery, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.
'Paintings From Cornwall', Montpelier Gallery London.
'Light Works - Paintings and Graphics by Tom Cross', Hopkins Hall Gallery, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA.
'Recent Paintings by Tom Cross', Sussex University Arts Centre.
'Pembrokeshire Landscape', Playhouse Theatre, Oxford.
'Paintings and Constructions', Architectural Assoc. London.
Playhouse Theatre, Oxford.
Dillwyn Gallery, Swansea.
Everyman Theatre, Cardiff.
Howard Roberts Gallery, Cardiff.
Ashgate Gallery, Farnham.


Selected Group Exhibitions:

'Post War Abstract', Belgrave Gallery St Ives.
'Landmarks of Arabia', the Majlis Gallery, Dubia.
Commissioned to paint a mural for a swimming pool at 11 Eaton Square, London.
'Visit to Wales', Christopher Hall, Bob Brown and Tom Cross, Royal Cambrian Academy, Conwy, North Wales.
'The New Orientalists', The Cultural Centre, Abhu Dhabi and the Majlis Gallery Dubai
'The Art of the Chelsea Arts Club', Chelsea Town Hall.
to Claude Rogers', Royal West of England Academy.
'Summer ExhIbition', Montpelier Studio Gallery, London.
'A Centenary Exhibition', University of Reading.
'Artists From Cornwall', Royal West of England Academy. Royal West of England Academy, Autumn Exhibition.
Pelter Sands Gallery Bristol - 3 man show.
'The Northern Scene', Touring exhibition.
Grenville Gibbs Corporate Art, London.
'Cornish Connection', 3D Gallery, Bristol.
'Artists of Fame and Promise', Montpelier Studio Gallery, London.
'Art In The Making', King Street Gallery, Bristol, The Victoria Art Gallery, Bath and the Brewhouse Theatre, Taunton.
'Prints and Etchings by Invited Artists', Penwith Gallery, St Ives.
London Group, Gulbenkian Galleries, Royal College of Art, London. A regular exhibitor with the London Group from this date.
Wills Lane Gallery, St Ives.
Regular exhibitor at the Penwith Society of Artist, St Ives, from this date.
'Colour', arranged and exhibited, toured by Southern Arts to Southampton, Winchester, Worthing, Portsmouth, Bracknell, Salisbury and Falmouth.
'Light Works', shown at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, the Welsh Arts Council Gallery, Cardiff, Reading Museum and Art Gallery and the Durham Light Infantry Gallery, Durham.
'Light Works, Painting and Prints', AIA Gallery, London WC2.
'Two Painters and a Sculptor', Manchester.
'On Paper - An Exhibition of Recent Graphic Work', Reading Museum and Art Gallery, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Manchester College of Advanced Education and Birmingham College of Art.
'Structural Growth in Natural Form', Whitechapel Gallery, London.
Arranged and exhibited in 'Twelve Artists', Reading Museum.
London Group. 'The Roman Baroque', photographic exhibition at Chelsea School of Art.
'Four Painters and Two Sculptors', Bangor Arts Gallery. John Moore's Exhibition, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.
Public Collections:

Coff's Harbour Cardiology Clinic, Coff's Harbour, New South Wales, Australia
The University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Glamorgan Education Authority
Leicestershire Education Authority
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Contemporary Art Society, London
Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
University of Manchester
Ohio State University
Reading Borough Council, Uk
University of Reading, Reading, UK
Salford City Art Gallery, Salford
University of Sussex, Brighton
Arts Council for Wales
Contemporary Arts Society for Wales
The British Embassy, Oman
The British Embassy, German Embassy
Abhu Dhabi, private collection
University College Falmouth, Cornwall
VADS (Visual Arts Data Service) Library and Learning Services Department, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham

Collections in Europe, Australia, Dubai, North and South America.

How Impressionism Began, Welsh Arts Council for the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff 1960.
Ceri Richards, The Royal National Eisteddford of Wales, Cardiff 1961.
Josef Herman, The Royal National Eisteddford of Wales, Llanelli 1962.
British art and The Modern Movement, The National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.
Graham Sutherland - Drawings of Wales, Welsh Arts Council, Cardiff 1963.
Two painters: Brenda Chamberlain and Ernest Zobole, Welsh Arts Council Cardiff 1963.
John Piper In Wales, Welsh Arts Council, Cardiff 1964.
The Slade Tradition, Fine Art Society, London 1971
Colour, Exhibition and Catalogue, Southern Arts, 1976.
Art In The Making, Exhibition catalogue for South West Arts.
Painting in the Warmth or the Sun- St Ives Artists 1930 -1975, Alison Hodge Penzance, Lutterworth Press, Cambridge 1984, Halsgrove 1995.
Painting in the Warmth or the Sun, Script for three one-hour programmes based on the book, Television South West for Channel 4, 1984.
Artists and Bohemians, 100 years with the Chelsea Arts Club, Quiller Press, London, 1992.
Artists From Cornwall, Introduction to exhibition catalogue, Royal West of England Academy 1992.
The Shining Sands, Artists in Newlyn and St Ives 1880-1930, WestcountryBooks, Tiverton and Lutterworth Press, Cambridge 1994.
The Artists of St Ives for NADFAS NEWS, Autumn/Winter 1995.
Orientalism 1997. Introduction to the catalogue for the New Orientalist exhibition at the Majlis Gallery Dubia.
The Artists of Newlyn, entry for the New Dictionary of National Biography.
Catching the Wave - Contemporary Art and Artists in Cornwall from 1975 to the Present, Halsgrove November 2002.
'Helford - A River and some landscapes' Halsgrove 2005.
'The Artist Who Loved Boats' Halsgrove 2006.

TOM CROSS - Paintings of Cornwall and Other Places
Catalogue Introduction 2012:

From the very early stages of his career, travel was an important aspect of Tom Cross' development as a painter, beginning with a scholarship to the British School in Rome after finishing at the Slade School of Art in 1956. A subsequent bursary from the French Government gave him the opportunity to live and work in Paris, and in the South of France, where he brushed shoulders with Picasso and Braque, and met Dubuffet. He returned many times to Italy, particularly the Marche, where much of his earlier work was executed. Venice was also a hugely important place for him; he was able to use a studio on the Giudecca and made many visits, his work showing the splendor of the Palladian churches and the canals.

In the early 1960s Cross lived in Wales, working with the Welsh Arts Council, and this took him all over the country. The Welsh mountains provided inspiration for a great deal of his early work, and continued to influence him into the 21st century. In 1984, after teaching in South Carolina for a year, he spent three months traveling in Mexico and Belize, producing much work during the period.

From 1996 he made a number of visits to the Middle East at the invitation of the Majlis Gallery, painting the architecture, the old Arab houses with their Wind Towers, the Mosques, the vast desert landscape and the Hajar Mountains of Dubai and Oman.

In 1998, Cross spent time working and exhibiting in Guernsey. The rocky coastline was very different to the soft river landscape of southern Cornwall, where he lived on the Helford River. In 1999 he was invited to Australia to lecture and exhibit his work, and spent some time in Western Australia traveling and painting, returning to England to produce a group of work showing the Australian landscape.

TOM CROSS - Fifty years of making Art

Catalogue Introduction 2010:

'Shortly after Tom Cross died in 2009 his widow, Pat, invited Charles Hancock and I to visit his studio in Constantine. Pat was concerned to safeguard Tom's reputation as an artist and to ensure that the quality and diversity of his work was fully appreciated by a new generation of artists and collectors. The visit provided a remarkable insight into a rich and productive life.

The paintings were carefully stored and protected, with shelves of sketchbooks revealing Tom's determination to explore the compositional structure and form of everything he produced. It was a special privilege to discover his private obsessions, his pursuit of order and his frustrations at not always finding the perfect solution. His approach was rigorous and scientific in that every visual sensation had to be analysed, questions had to be answered in order to solve each visual problem.

Tom Cross could be regarded as an 'old-school' artist/teacher, belonging to a generation which believed that being a practising artist was both central and essential to one's role as an art educator. As Principal of Falmouth School of Art, Tom still managed to maintain a working studio on site.

I was appointed as Tom's successor as Principal of Falmouth School of Art & Design in 1987. He was very considerate of the new boy and helped me to settle into my post. With this in mind I am particularly pleased that Tom's collection of sketchbooks, notebooks and other related ephemera has now been lodged with the Library of University College Falmouth.

Tom's draughtsmanship and intellectual rigour were the result of a traditional academic training at Manchester School of Art, followed by post-graduate study at the Slade (refer cat. page 2, study for 'The Bar Parlour' 1953). During these early years he won numerous awards, with two major scholarships providing the opportunity to work and study in Italy and France. These trips enabled him to experience at close hand the work of the French modernists including Picasso, Matisse and Cezanne (refer 'Massignano' 1955 cat. page 5).

On returning to the UK, Tom became Assistant Director of the Welsh Arts Council - the first of a number of appointments as a senior administrator in the arts and higher education. During his time in Wales a more lyrical form of landscape painting began to evolve (refer 'Cader Idris Evening' 1963 cat. page 9) resulting in a series of wonderful freely abstracted landscape paintings (refer 'Hammerhead' 1964 cat. page 11).

A move to Reading University heralded another change in his painting. From the early 70's his work became more formalist through his engagement with a group called 'Systems', a collective led by the painter and constructivist Malcolm Hughes. Perhaps this is not surprising, as his early training in architecture enabled him to identify with their passion for structure, architectural spaces, and grids. (see 'Network' 1972 cat. page 16).

This exhibition highlights an important dimension in Tom's evolution as an artist. In his 2005 book 'Helford - A River and some landscapes', he confronts the many twists and turns in a prolific career: ...throughout my work abstraction and realism have gone hand in hand. From time to time one of these has been dominant but never wholly at the expense of the other. I feel there is no need to choose.

Following his move to Falmouth in 1976, Tom pursued a more representational form of landscape and still life painting. His later work demonstrates a sophistication that is not only evocative of the subject matter but also maintains a profoundly intelligent art-making that reflects a lifetime of learning (refer 'The Quay at Port Navas' 2005 cat page 35).

In addition to his work as an artist Tom is also widely known as the author of 'Painting the Warmth of the Sun: St Ives Artists 1930 -1975' (1984). This publication created a renewed awareness of those artists working in Cornwall during this period, with the increased public interest contributing to the development of Tate St. Ives in 1993.

The range and depth of this exhibition will surprise and delight many people. Tom's career as an artist, writer and educator, extending over fifty years, is worthy of our greatest respect.'

Professor Alan Livingston CBE