University’s first artist in residence returns with latest works

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A PAINTER who became a university’s first artist in residence is returning to the region to show some of his latest works.

Chris Gollon was invited by Durham University’s Institute of Advance Study (IAS) to become part of its Human Being project, which brought together leading thinkers from three continents, and as a self-taught artist made him the first non-academic to be welcomed to the organisation.

AT WORK: Chris Gollon as he paints.

AT WORK: Chris Gollon as he paints.

His time led to 16 paintings to be created in the space of 11 weeks, with influences and ideas sparked by visits from fellow members as he worked in a studio overlooking the city’s Palace Green and cathedral.

He was invited back in 2011, three years later, to become an artist in residence at its St Mary’s College and to the same studio, choosing the subject of love in all its forms as his inspiration, from unrequited love to friendship and envy.

Now paintings he created during his residency are to return to the North East when his images are put on show.

Pieces he has also created have been used in the Twilight: Breaking Dawn film and his work has previously been shown alongside work by Yoko Ono and David Bowie and as part of a exhibition of music and art created by Thurston Moore of the band Sonic Youth.

He has also featured in Alan Yentob’s programme Imagine.

Chris said of his second visit to Durham and his work on the theme of love: “I was living on my own in St Mary’s College quarters, since my family were not with me.

“So on Friday nights I used to go to the pub, and being alone, I observed more.

“It certainly brought home my age, since as I left the pub and was walking home at 10.30pm, in the other direction all the younger people, both town and gown, were coming down the hill on their way out.

“Although most people think town and gown always stay separate, I sometimes noticed after they’d had a few drinks, every now and then and once in a while, an unlikely friendship was formed.

“Unlikely friendships have always been of interest to me, and in this painting, my stay in Durham helped me capture one.”

The Durham pieces, which include one featuring a jazz night at St Mary’s, will run at the Balman Gallery in Corbridge, Northumberland, from tomorrow to Saturday, July 27.