Tom McGuinness 1926 - 2006
It is my opinion, and in saying this I do not wish cause any controversy to what is an incredible collection of talent this gallery represents, that Tom McGuinness will forever be our champion. A quiet man, a true artist in every sense of the word simply put the most important painter we represent, and in doing so we feel both proud and very lucky indeed. Thank you to Toms three children, Shaun, Corinne and Anthony and families for your trust and belief in our effort.
Tom had many gifts, it is his ability to communicate, in paint and in person that set this unassuming man apart. We miss him. He was driven to paint, every day. Passionate and with a wonderful sense of humour, in his company everyone was at ease.
While his works throughout an exceptional 60 year career, 36 of them spent working underground, were sometimes challenging both in what was being shared with us and figuratively, they celebrated a working mans life in a way that moves us like no other. Tom developed & pushed technique, nothing contrived, his work was his truth. Well read, driven to draw, paint, to print-make Tom moved his work forward all the way to his last works, he became a great artist and technician, and drove its aesthetic, narrative, iconography and power to move toward a look that can’t be confused with the work of any other, if it doesn’t look like a McGuinness, it isn’t. His brushwork, his line, use of colour , power and emotion all unmistakable, this in part is what guarantees his place in art history.
Not commercially motivated, despite critical acclaim and sell out shows it was his art and not the sale of it that drove him. Tom’s work was so close to him, allowing them to be sold was a huge wrench, though meeting the people who owned and held his work so dear was something he did love. Sharing his gift, and his regions heritage among like-minded, hard working people.
Upon his sad passing at the age of 79, sketchbooks remained filled, oils on canvas unfinished, his easel, now down stairs, carried the most recent under-painting. With this amount of unrealised works, had he lived ten lifetimes Tom could not ever have produced in paint what he had chosen to share with us from life.
Put simply, his life and work provides us with the most important rendering of a working miners life that ever could be.