Contemporary British Impressionist influenced by Monet, Sickert and Whistler

Bruce Yardley's subject matters are varied, but figures feature predominantly. Recurring themes to his contemporary paintings are cityscapes such as London, Venice, New York and Bath, still life, interiors, and figurative studies. Uniting all his work is a fascination with the varied effects of light, whether it is the crisp sun of an English autumn, the cushioning glow of the Venetian lagoon, or the sparkling duplications of wet and dry reflections. Writing in The Artist Oliver Lange observed: "Bruce Yardley's strengths lie in confident brushwork, subtle colouring, firmly differentiated tones and convincing compositions, but perhaps where he succeeds most of all is the ability to offer teasingly restrained quality that suggests or evokes rather than painstakingly describes."

If any one painter flies the flag for the spirit of the French Impressionists, it’s Bruce Yardley. Around 150 years ago, this band of painters broke from the classical Salon tradition to develop a more pure form of painting based on light, water and architecture.

These are timeless subjects for an artist – and they’re shared by Bruce. He’s happy to confirm the debt to those early pioneers. He says: "The Impressionists were the first painters who really meant something to me, and that continues to this day. "Whenever I go to a big civic art gallery, it’s the rooms representing the half-century from 1860 that have the most life and interest for me. What I especially like about them is their willingness to paint almost everything that passed before their eyes. There was no longer a hierarchy of worthiness in subject matter."

"My painting style is most succinctly described as Impressionist. For as long as I can remember I have been fond of the work of the French Impressionists. What I especially like about these artists is their willingness to paint almost everything that passes before their eyes: for them, there is no hierarchy of worthiness in subject matter. Equally liberating, for me, is their brisk, vigorous paint-handling, especially as a means of conveying the fleeting effects of light. Their work, as a result, has a freshness and spontaneity that appeals to me much more than the artifice and studied perfection of the Old Masters. In fact, whenever I have the opportunity to compare a highly finished painting with a briefer study made in preparation for it — Turner and Constable come to mind here — I almost always prefer the looser, more vital treatment of the sketch, and this has undoubtedly shaped the way I paint."

To this day, Bruce remains a painter of the outdoors – even if he prefers to make studies ‘on location’ while completing his painting in the studio. It's probably a wise strategy. Painting 'en plein air' can get an Englishman very wet - especially a painter as interested in the technical challenge of water as Bruce Yardley. "It’s all to do with reflection, and the in-built balance that this brings to a composition," he says. "The eye seeks balance, and the more there is, the happier the result. In addition, rainy scenes are almost by definition scenes in which the light is flat, so the presence of reflections virtually doubles the compositional interest of a painting."

"Many of my favourite painters (e.g. Boudin, Monet, Sargent, Sickert, Whistler) loved painting Venice, and I am no different. I first visited in the 1990s, and have returned most years since. I am mystified by the prejudice against Venice paintings in certain quarters of the art world, for the picturesque qualities of this city are unique. Apart from anything else, there is a special thrill to be had from tackling views that are essentially the same as those Canaletto was painting nearly 300 years ago."

"For the past decade I have lived in the nearest equivalent England has to Venice, the beautiful Georgian city of Bath. This has spurred an interest in architecture, which has influenced my cityscapes in the sense that I am now much more likely to make individual buildings — as often as not cathedrals and churches — the focus of the composition. A recent, parallel enthusiasm for antique furniture has had a similar impact on my interiors and still-life paintings. With regard to the latter, my own (mainly Regency) furniture is pressed into service as props, and the resulting compositions are essentially interiors with an arrangement of flowers as a focal point, rather than straightforward studies of flowers."

 

"There is always the chance, then, that a new enthusiasm will push my painting in a new direction, though I cannot see myself straying too far from the precepts and principles of Impressionism."

One-Man Shows
2019  Priory Gallery Broadway, Broadway, Worcestershire
2018  Catto Gallery, London
2017  Llewellyn-Alexander Gallery, London
2017  Priory Gallery Broadway, Broadway, Worcestershire
2016  Catto Gallery, London
2015  Llewellyn-Alexander Gallery, London
2015  Richmond Hill Gallery, Richmond Hill, Surrey
2014  Catto Gallery, London
2014  Richmond Hill Gallery, Richmond Hill, Surrey
2013  Llewellyn-Alexander Gallery, London
2012  Catto Gallery, London
2012  Priory Gallery Broadway, Broadway, Worcestershire
2011  Llewellyn-Alexander Gallery, London
2010  Catto Gallery, London
2009  Alexander Gallery, Bristol
2009  Llewellyn-Alexander Gallery, London
2008  Catto Gallery, London
2007  Alexander Gallery, Bristol
2007  Llewellyn-Alexander Gallery, London
2006  Catto Gallery, London
2006  Priory Gallery Broadway, Broadway, Worcestershire
2005  Llewellyn-Alexander Gallery, London
2005  Richmond Hill Gallery, Richmond Hill, Surrey
2004  Catto Gallery, London
2004  Petley Fine Art, London
2003  Clifton Gallery, Bristol
2003  David Curzon Gallery, London
2003  Jonathan Grant Galleries, Auckland, New Zealand
2003  Richmond Hill Gallery, Richmond Hill, Surrey
2002  Bourne Gallery, Reigate, Surrey
2002  Catto Gallery, London
2001  David Curzon Gallery, London
2001  Jonathan Grant Galleries, Auckland, New Zealand
2001  Richmond Hill Gallery, Richmond Hill, Surrey
2000  Catto Gallery, London
2000  Clifton Gallery, Bristol
1999  Richmond Hill Gallery, Richmond Hill, Surrey
1998  Catto Gallery, London

 

Two-Man Shows
2010  Bruce Yardley/Nick Poullis, Priory Gallery Broadway, Broadway, Worcestershire
2007  Bruce Yardley/John Yardley, Win Henstock Gallery, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
2005  Bruce Yardley/John Yardley, Jonathan Grant Galleries, Auckland, NZ
2003  Bruce Yardley/John Yardley, Win Henstock Gallery, Laguna Beach, USA
1999  Bruce Yardley/Stan Andrews, Clifton Gallery, Bristol
1997  Bruce Yardley/Biddy Frankel, Thompson’s Gallery, London
1997  Bruce Yardley/John Yardley, Granby Gallery, Bakewell

 

Group Shows
1997-2002 Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI)