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Old Montague Street, Whitechapel, by Noel Gibson, 1967 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Noel Gibson Empty Streets Exhibition

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
Noel Gibson 1960s feeding pigeons Trafalgar Square

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

Cable Street Stepney by Noel Gibson, 1970
Cable Street Stepney by Noel Gibson, 1970 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Sketches and notes for a Poplar street painting by Noel Gibson
Sketches and notes for a Poplar street painting © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Painting of old houses on Chilton Street by Noel Gibson, 1975
Painting of old houses on Chilton Street by Noel Gibson, 1975 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Old Montague Street, Whitechapel, by Noel Gibson, 1967
Old Montague Street, Whitechapel, by Noel Gibson, 1967 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Steps to pedestrian bridge (Spratt’s Bridge over London and north Eastern railway), 1970
Steps to pedestrian bridge (Spratt’s Bridge over London and north Eastern railway), 1970 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Ratcliffe Orchard, Stepney, 1970
Ratcliffe Orchard, Stepney, 1970 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
St Anne’s in Limehouse, by Noel Gibson, 1968
St Anne’s in Limehouse, by Noel Gibson, 1968 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
St George’s in the East and Cable Street, 1970
St George’s in the East and Cable Street, 1970 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
St George’s, Canon Street, Noel Gibson, 1969
St George’s, Canon Street, Noel Gibson, 1969 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
The Thames at Shadwell, by Noel Gibson, 1973
The Thames at Shadwell, by Noel Gibson, 1973 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Wellclose Square in Stepney, Noel Gibson, 1967
Wellclose Square in Stepney, Noel Gibson, 1967 © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

If you enjoyed this article, read our interview with Roman Road resident artists Stuart Pearson Wright and Find out about the East London Group artists

 


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2 thoughts on “Noel Gibson Empty Streets Exhibition

  • August 8, 2014 at 1:54 pm
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    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.

    Reply
    • October 15, 2019 at 8:50 pm
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      Hello Claire, I’m Graham Fernee and I was happy to read your comments and appreciation of Noel’s work. I met Noel Gibson several times as he was a friend on my in laws side of the family. We attended 2 of his own exhibitions and bought 4 paintings there plus many more over the years. In total we have about 15 and need to downsize and won’t have room for them all so do you know someone or somewhere that may be interested in buying/auctioning mostly east end scenes and am keen to have them owned/displayed in their own original back yard.
      Any information would be useful and my email address is below
      Many thanks in anticipation of your consideration in this matter.
      Graham Fernée

      Reply

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