Clifford Fishwick and Michael Garton RWA

Exeter Festival Exhibition
26th June to 15th August  2010

Held at The Art Room Gallery, Topsham

At first sight the paintings of Clifford Fishwick and Michael Garton seem totally dissimilar, but both stem initially from the analytical and non-topographical approach of Cezanne.

Both men were based in Devon, Cliff in Topsham, Mike in Exeter, both were men of the outdoors and their work was often inspired by the local landscape. Cliff with his sailing and climbing painted the estuary and the moors, Mike  painted a variety of land and seascapes and finally for his ‘woodscapes’ turned part of Stoke Woods into his ‘studio’.

When Mike became Cliff’s student in 1955 the Art College occupied a small part of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. By the time Cliff, then the College’s Principal, appointed Mike as a lecturer Cliff had started the process of change which would result in the College expanding to become a major cultural force in the city and the South West.

The two men had enormous respect and affection for each other and exhibited together in many group shows and had a two man show at the Greenwich Theatre Gallery. Their work can be found in private and public collections throughout the UK, Europe, USA and Australia.

Clifford Fishwick (1923-1997)

Cliff was born in Lancashire in 1923, he studied at Liverpool School of Art between 1940 and 1947 with a four year break for war services with the Royal Navy. In 1947 he was appointed Painting Master at Exeter School of Art and in 1957 had his first solo exhibition in London.

Between 1958 and 1984 Cliff was Principal of Exeter College of Art; under his leadership the College became one of the first outside London to receive validation for the new Dip AD course which was introduced as a result of the Coldstream Report in 1960. In 1987 Cliff was awarded Master of Arts by the Council of National Academic Awards

During his long career Cliff had 22 solo exhibitions, including Dartington Hall 1959’ Essex University 1976, Fletcher’s Museum Woodstock, Oxon 1988, and Austin Desmond Fine Art, London 1990. He contributed to numerous group exhibitions in venues around the country such as; the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Penwith Gallery, St Ives; Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter; Bruton St. Gallery, London; the RWA, Bristol, and The Kenn Group, Exeter.

Mike Garton RWA (1935-2004)

Mike was born in Reading in 1935 and went to Guildford Junior Art School when he was 13. Michael’s art education was interrupted by National Service but in 1955 he resumed his studies at Exeter College of Art. From 1957 to 1959 he completed a two year postgraduate course at the Slade School of Art where he was awarded the ‘Slade Diploma’ by Sir William Coldstream.

In 1960 he took up a post as lecturer in Fine Art at Cardiff College of Art. Whilst there, he painted many large abstracts, one of which was purchased by the Welsh Arts Council.

In 1963 he returned to Exeter College of Art as Lecturer in painting where he stayed until retiring in 2000 the year he also became a member of the Royal West of England Academy.

Mike exhibited widely throughout his career in venues such as; the Royal Academy; Royal West of England Academy; National Museum of Wales; The Mall Galleries, London; Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Exeter Cathedral.

Clifford Fishwick in studio 1990

Clifford Fishwick    Misurina

Clifford Fishwick    Orb 11

Clifford Fishwick    Filed Pattern

Mike Garton

Mike Garton    Pink Sky

Mike Garton    Still Life Bowl with Blue Rim

Mike Garton    Edge

Mike Garton    Marshland with Church