ARTICLE

ARTnews, February 2011

William Feaver

Piers Feetham

London

You could probably guess that William Feaver paints his landscapes in the open air. His rapid brushstrokes and unfussy depictions of howling weather suggest that he wants to hurry up and finish before the English rain comes crashing down again. His paintings have a rough-hewn look.

Yet what the paintings lack in refinement, however, Feaver more than makes up for in brio and pure imaginative effect. He shows a smart, instinctive grasp for composition and the effects of light on land and vegetation. There are no people and few structures in these works, just sweeping vistas, hayfields and orchards. One can see, here and there, where he hesitated and reined himself in. But even in those spots, he looks at the countryside with the bold and uncomplicated vision of a painter living in the moment.

Feaver is best known as an art critic for The Observer and ARTnews , and his works show the influence of other landscapists although without seeming derivative or overlearned. Some, such as Over Low Frith, Holker (2010) suggest the American watercolorist John Marin. In others, the bold, thick application of paint suggests Frank Auerbach, about whom Feaver has written a biography. More often, as in Swinhope and Killhope (2010), he paints with an ecstatic appreciation of the colors of northern England and Scotland that is all his own.

--Roger Atwood



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