Continuing their celebration of East End painters, Bow Art’s Nunnery is currently staging an exhibition of the works of painter Noel Gibson (1928-2006). Here are some of the paintings in the exhibition.
About Noel Gibson
Gibson was born in Glasgow and trained as an opera singer, however he moved to the East End in 1962, living in a flat in Commercial Road, and began to teach himself to paint.
His enthusiasm for the area combined with his natural artistic sensibility made for an exciting style of painting, exhibiting powerful energy, bold lines and uninhibited texture.
The palette is strong but pared back and maybe it is this, together with the lack of personage that imparts an unexpected quietness to what could otherwise be a noisy painting.
Deliberately omitting people in these city scapes, he searched what he called “the spirit of the buildings” and he would study them minutely, walking his dog after work, recording every little change, in all weathers and at different times of the year (reminiscent of Monet’s haystacks?).
He knew without doubt that the area would never die, but would constantly change. Thankfully for us, he was determined to record it. He eventually moved to South London, but: ‘I regard Tower Hamlets as the area of inspiration for my work and I will always return to it’. His quote echoes the conviction of countless other artists that find their spiritual home in the East End.
Tabitha Stapely is the founder of Social Streets, a not-for-profit media company bringing high-quality journalism back to local communities, particularly those in disadvantaged or neglected areas. Prior, Stapely was a writer and editor for national titles including The Telegraph, Elle and Red magazines.