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Prof Estelle Thompson
Slade School Of Fine Art
Gower Street
Prof Estelle Thompson profile picture
  • Professor of Fine Art
  • The Slade School of Fine Art
  • Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Estelle Thompson (b. 1960) MA Royal College of Art, London 1983–1986.

Solo exhibitions; Flowers Gallery, London (2016); Oriel Sycharth Gallery, Wrexham (2014); Purdy Hicks, London, (1989 - 2009); Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm, (2004); The New Gallery, Walsall (2001); Rosenberg and Kaufman Fine Art, New York (2001) and Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham (2000); Galerie Helmut Pabst, Frankfurt (1999); Fuse Paintings Usher Gallery, Lincoln; Mead Gallery, University of Warwick; South Hill Park, Bracknell (1997-98); Abbot Hall Art Gallery Kendal (1997); Galerie Helmut Pabst (1996); PHG touring to Winchester Gallery; Towner Art Gallery and Darlington Arts Centre (1993-94).

Group exhibitions include; Small is Beautiful, Flowers Gallery, London (2016); In Light of The Monochrome, Dye House Gallery, Bradford; Kaleidoscope Eyes, Austin Forum, London; Equivalence, Richmond AIU, London; DACS Foundation Auction, Londonewcastle, London; Carbon meets Silicon: ITA, OSG, Wrexham; detail, Usher Gallery, Lincoln; Drawing Biennial, Drawing Room, London (2015); Drawn Togetherartist as Selector, Jerwood Gallery, Hastings; Head to Head, Standpoint Gallery, London (2014) detail, Transition Gallery, London; H-Galllery, Bangkok (2014), Colour as Material, Kuvataideakatemia, Helsinki (2013), Do You Believe in Angels?, Mo space, Manila (2014); Eqautor Art Projects, Singapore (2014), Small is Beautiful XXXI Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?, Flowers Gallery, London (2013), The Theory and Practice of the Small Painting, Equator Art Projects (2013), Back and Forth, B55, Budapest (2012), Maquettes, Furnished Space, London (2011), Calligrams, Eagle Gallery, London (2010), L’apres moderne, Project Midi, Brussels (2008) and Drawing Breath, Gallery 1, NAS Galleries, Sydney; NAFA Galleries, Singapore; Wimbledon Space, London; RWA, Bristol; Robert Gordon University Gallery, Aberdeen (2006-8); Felim Egan, Estelle Thompson, Rosenberg & Kaufman Fine Art, New York (2001); Blue: borrowed and new, The New Art Gallery, Walsall (2000); History, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull; Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh; Cartwright Hall, Bradford; Orleans House, Twickenham; Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, York City Art Gallery; Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; A Question of Scale, Winchester Gallery; Arnolfini, Bristol (1998-99); Six British Painters, Galerie Helmut Pabst, Frankfurt (1996); Castlefield Gallery, 10th Anniversary, Whitworth Art Gallery (1994); Moving into View, Recent British Painting, Royal Festival Hall, London; Darlington Arts Centre; Chapter, Cardiff; Oriel Gallery, Mold; Newlyn Orion Gallery, Penzance; University of Northumbria, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Drumcroon Arts Centre, Wigan; Harrogate Museum & Art Gallery; Victoria Art Gallery (1993)

Awards; 2014 Santander Research Catalyst 1999 Milton Keynes Theatre; 1993 Quaglino’s, London; 1990 Prudential Award for the Arts 1990/Arts Council Special Award; 1988 Royal Overseas League Travel Award; 1983 Ethel Willis, Ethel Henriques and Fred Richards Memorial Travel Scholarship.

Research Summary

As a painter I have researched painted colour and established colour theory. Between 1997- 2002 my work related to prismatic light, colour harmony and colour perception. I devised a new paint application process (self pre-mixed and self-tubed oil paint applied with rollers) to form prismatic fusing of colour to create optical transition as in a spectrum. A monograph; Estelle Thompson (ISBN 1- 85894-152-0), Tony Godfrey and Deborah Robinson was published by Merrell. Paintings produced under this research form are in; Arts Council Collection, British Council Collection, British Museum, Contemporary Art Society and The New Art Gallery Walsall. Several paintings are included in the Public Catalogue Foundation and in the Chapter Pure Abstraction in Painting Today, published by Phaidon in 2009 (ISBN 9780714846316).

Paintings 2002-2016 research Greek and Venetian theories of colour, colour perception and symbolism, Albers and Bauhaus colour theory, Modernist and Contemporary painted colour.  Exhibitions, publications (Estelle Thompson - ISBN 9781873184073), www.estellethompson.com, and inclusion in the Arts Council of Great Britain Collection, evidence this research. My public art/architectural projects incorporate paintings or wall works into architecture;considering conditions of light and space and colour movement; Quaglino’s, London, commissioned by Sir Terence Conran and Milton Keynes Theatre and Art Gallery. Later projects, colour design was integral to the architecture; Orchard Park Health Centre, Hull, 2002-4 and South Bristol Community Hospital, 2004-8, exterior façade, interior way-finding flooring designs and entrance canopy lighting design addressing colour symbolism and colour psychology in healthcare design. Further architectural commissions and collaborative projects include; a glass curtain wall and flooring design for the Catrin Finch Centre, 2008-9 and Centre for the Creative Industries, 2011 Wrexham Glyndwr University exterior facade and manifestation designs. I co-curated (with Tamas Jovanovics) the British Council funded exhibition Back and Forth: Eight Artists form London at B55 Gallery, Budapest connecting the Hungarian MADI group to contemporary UK based abstract artists. I have curated exhibitions including; The Art of Function, 2010 and Art and Industry, 2012 at the Oriel Sycharth, Wrexham. I contributed to the symposia and corresponding exhibition; In Light of the Monochrome, Dye House Gallery, Bradford College, 2015;You see what you see or You see who you are: Reflecting on a few painters making mirrors, walls and voids with pigment. The research included visual perception, the monochrome, Gerhard Richter, Rodchenko, Rothko and contemporary artists’ material use and material presence -insight.lancaster.ac.uk; www.bradfordcollege.ac.uk; roundtown.com. I co-organised and chaired the Artists’ Books Conference: Collaborations at Richmond University, London, 2015. A Frame of Mind with Hand in Glove; Artists’ Book collaborations in education; a working collection addressed Book Art production as a collaborative educational tool and focused on the publications made at the Slade, UCL alumni and Slade Press. The accompanying exhibition Equivalence included my Book Art work LC43-6 2014. 

Teaching Summary
I have taught as a visiting and part-time tutor at Universities throughout the UK since the 1980’s including; Birmingham City University; Camberwell College of Arts; Central St Martins College of Art and Design; Chelsea College of Art and Design; De Montfort University; Kingston University; Royal Academy Schools; Royal College of Art; Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art; Sheffield Hallam University; University of the Creative Arts; Wimbledon College of Art and Winchester School of Art. I have also presented artist workshops and lectures at various museums and galleries nationally including; Camden Arts Centre; Serpentine Gallery; The New Art Gallery Walsall; Abbot Hall, Kendal, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester and at art institutions internationally such as Sotheby’s Institute, Christie’s Education, Kuvataideakatemia, Helsinki and Barbados Community College. I have been the External Examiner for Bath Spa University and am currently External Examiner for BA (Hons) Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University. I have been part of the selection panel for PhD applications and a PhD supervisor at UCL and Wrexham Glyndwr University. I have been a part-time tutor at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL since 1996 and became a 0.4 FTE Lecturer in 2003. I have taught graduate, undergraduate and PhD levels across painting, photography, sculpture, performance, printmaking, film and video. As a part-time tutor, within the Graduate Painting programme at the Slade I currently lead on the Discourse Project in Graduate Painting, liaising with the Honorary Research Associate. The Discourse Project aims to research the cultural, social and philosophical issues that inform and define the diversity of contemporary painting. The research developed corresponds to aspects of the Graduate Painting programme by focusing on the critical context in which an artist works. I sit on the Slade’s Teaching Committee as the part-time staff representative. In 2011/12 I was responsible for co-programming the Slade Contemporary Art Lectures with the Head of Graduate Painting Lisa Milroy and from 2009-10 I developed a Book Art Group, leading seminars including visits to UCL’s Special Collections archive of rare Artists books. I have organized several of the Graduate Painting student led and shared seminars presented 2009-11 and I have been a selector on the UCL Museums/ Slade student annual collaboration. I also assisted with and contributed to the Group Project’s in Graduate Painting over the last ten years. Projects realised include; Paint to Print (2008), HOT/COLD (2011); Recipe Book (2013); A Stamp Collection (2015) and a Colouring Book (2016). In 2009 I proposed and organized a week long mural painting project and exhibition; Edge to Edge at the Woburn Research Centre with Graduate Painting students.

Other appointments and educational affiliations include; Senior Research Fellow, De Montfort University 1994 – 2000; Visiting Professor, 2001 – 2007 and Research Professor in Fine Art, 2007 – 2008, North Wales Institute of Higher Education; Research Professor in Fine Art, Wrexham Glyndwr University 2008- present; Head of School of Media, Arts and Design, Wrexham Glyndwr University 2014 – 2015; Jury Member for Jerwood Drawing Prize and Director of the Oriel Sycharth Gallery, Wrexham Glyndwr University 2009-16.
Academic Background
1986   Master of Fine Arts Royal College of Art
1981   Bachelor of Arts Sheffield Hallam University
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