Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 11:57

An exhibition of the work of world-renowned artist Anthony Eyton, RA, charting the construction and evolution of the Eden Project, opens at Eden’s Core building on April 10.

The show, entitled Evolution of a Cornish Clay Pit, features more than 30 works ranging from the russet and grey vista of the empty pit, through the cranes, workmen and gargantuan scaffolds of the Big Build period to scenes from Eden as it is now, culminating in a 48”x70” oil on board scene of the Rainforest Biome.

Anthony Eyton specialises in large-scale, vibrantly-coloured works using pastels as the primary medium for his Eden pieces. Echoing Constable, his expressive, bold style has been praised for maintaining the dynamism and vivacity of sketches.

His first work was a portrait of an ancient olive tree at Eden’s Watering Lane Nursery, before he moved into the Bodelva pit construction site, an environment in which he built up a camaraderie with the workforce as he documented the monumental task.

Anthony says: “In my ten years working as Artist in Residence, I really feel like part of the Eden team and am proud to have such a wonderful environment as my subject. It is poetic that a china clay pit, so Cornish in essence, has been given another life. It is a constant source of inspiration for me and continues to get better and better. No wonder people keep on returning.”

Royal Academician Anthony has been painting Eden since he was introduced to Bodelva pit – the china clay pit in which the project was built - by Eden’s Chief Executive Tim Smit in August 1996.

Tim had been impressed with Anthony’s paintings of the construction of the Tate Modern in London and persuaded the artist to chart the building of Eden.

Tim Smit said: “In the years he has been recording our progress I’ve noticed something remarkable about Tony’s work. The construction pictures for instance, when just completed, were impressive, but as time passed and the construction finished you started to notice that his paintings had a life and movement which truly captured our experience of the frenzied building process far better than any photograph ever could.

“For those that had the privilege to be here at the start, it is a lesson about the nature of art and the attributes of it that convey an ‘essence’ nothing else can.

We love Tony’s work just as we love the man himself, for its bravura flourish and its sure eye. More than that, we feel privileged that one of the finest artists of our day should have honoured us by choosing to come at the height of his creative powers.”

Evolution of a Cornish Clay Pit runs from April 10 until June 30 on the mezzanine floor of the Core, Eden’s education centre. Entry to the exhibition is included in standard admission to Eden.

Born in 1923 in Middlesex, Anthony studied at Reading University and Camberwell School of Art. He has taught at the Royal Academy Schools and Camberwell School of Art between 1964 and 1999. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1986.

He has had solo exhibitions at the New Art Centre in London, the New Grafton Gallery in London, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Polytechnic Gallery, the Imperial War Museum and the South London Art Gallery. He has exhibited regularly in solo exhibitions at Browse & Darby in London and his work has also been included in many high-profile group exhibitions.

Anthony has won many awards, including the John Moores Prize, First Prize at the Second British International Drawing Biennale and the Charles Wollaston Award.

His work is in the following collections: The Arts Council, British Museum, Imperial War Museum, Government Art Collection, Nat West Bank, Reuters, Tate Gallery and Unilever among others.

Publications include Eyton’s Eye: Anthony Eyton: A Life in Painting by Jenny Pery, Royal Academy of Arts, 2005.

Anthony Eyton lives and works in London.

Between October 28 and November 20, an exhibition of his work in Australia and India, similar to the Eden showing in its exploration of people’s relationship with their landscape, will take place at the Browse & Darby gallery (his London representative) in Cork Street, London.