Born in 1973, Oliver Akers Douglas is best known for his dramatic interpretations of the English landscape, and has even been described by critic Matthew Dennison as, “the foremost landscape painter of his generation”.
Like many artists of the past, Oliver insists on working from life. However, by using a Land Rover with a large easel welded to the side Oliver is adapting traditional practice by being able to tackle ambitious compositions exclusively in the field without having to ‘work up’ pictures in the studio. As such, his work vividly conveys the experience of being on the spot, acting as material records of his interaction with the elements, of the changing weather and light. Many of his pictures depict the distinctive chalk downland near to his home in south Wiltshire with its steep-sided valleys and billowing cloudscapes. However his work is more than mere depiction – the whole business of looking and responding to the landscape is conducted in a highly-charged atmosphere. The paint is deployed rapidly in bold strokes creating a sense of urgency and conviction. Using a selection of palette knives and brushes, his mark-making is distinctively his, the surfaces of his pictures being themselves textured landscapes of pure pigment. Beyond the active process of manipulating paint there is also a serious concern with the formal aspects of picture construction, a fully-engaged attempt to resolve three dimensional experience in two dimensional terms.
While painting from an early age, a successful artist at school and having completed a Foundation course at Camberwell, Oliver is largely self taught as an artist. He graduated in 1997 from Edinburgh University with a first class degree in English Literature, initially working as a journalist and writer before returning to his vocation in 2000. Apart from producing several one-man shows, Oliver has worked to commission as a portraitist. He also produces still life, interior and figure studies during the winter months in his studio. His work is found in many collections both in England and abroad. He lives in Wiltshire with his young family.
Courtesy of the artist’s website.