Noel Gibson Empty Streets Exhibition

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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.

Noel Gibson 1960s feeding pigeons Trafalgar Square
Glasgow born Noel Gibson feeding pigeons in London © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

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.

Empty Streets: Noel Gibson’s East London 1967-75 is showing at the Bow Art’s Nunnery, 181 Bow Road, E3 25J from 1 August to 21 September 2014.

Bow Art’s exhibition Empty Streets: Noel Gibson’s East London 1967-75

Oil painting Cable Street Stepney Noel Gibson
Cable Street Stepney by Noel Gibson, 1970 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Oil painting Hessel Street Poplar East London by Noel Gibson
Hessel Street, Poplar, by Noel Gibson, 1970 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Pencil sketches and notes of Poplar painting by artist Noel Gibson
Sketches and notes for a Poplar street painting © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Oil painting by Noel Gibson with blue fence and red chimney top of old houses on Chilton Street, East London.
Painting of old houses on Chilton Street by Noel Gibson, 1975 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Oil painting of Old Montague Street in Whitechapel East London by Noel Gibson.
Old Montague Street, Whitechapel, by Noel Gibson, 1967 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Oil painting of steps in East London, by Noel Gibson.
Steps to pedestrian bridge (Spratt’s Bridge over London and north Eastern railway), 1970 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Ratcliffe Orchard painting, Stepney, East London, by Noel Gibson.
Ratcliffe Orchard, Stepney, 1970 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Oil painting of red house in Bromley-by-Bow, East London, a street scene by painter Noel Gibson.
Painting of a red house in Bromley-by-Bow, 1971 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Oil painting of St Anne's in Limehouse, East London, by painter Noel Gibson.
St Anne’s in Limehouse, by Noel Gibson, 1968 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Oil painting of St George's in the East and Cable Street by Noel Gibson
St George’s in the East and Cable Street, 1970 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
An oil painting of St George's, Canon Street, East London, by painter Noel Gibson.
St George’s, Canon Street, Noel Gibson, 1969 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Oil painting of river Thames at Shadwell, East London, by Noel Gibson, 1973.
The Thames at Shadwell, by Noel Gibson, 1973 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Oil painting of Wellclose Square in Stepney, by painter Noel Gibson.
Wellclose Square in Stepney, Noel Gibson, 1967 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Related content about Roman Road Art

Read our interview with Roman Road resident artists Stuart Pearson Wright
Find out about the East London Group artists

One Response

  1. Wow, these paintings are just beautiful. I love the detail, his colour palette and the textures he’s created. For some reason the confident black outlines remind of beautiful book illustrations.

    It’s so great to have local streets in Bow documented like this. I’ll definitely be going – I can’t wait to appreciate these paintings in real life. I loved the East End Group exhibition and I’m sure this’ll be just as great.