Michael Alford is a British figurative artist known for an expressive painting style that fuses classical technique with a modern sensibility. He lives and works in London.
Michael’s painting is diverse, reflecting his interest in a range of different subjects and ways of seeing. He paints contemporary cityscapes, street scenes, landscapes, nudes, figures and portraits. He is also a muralist and war artist.
Michael’s first training came from his father, who taught him to draw in perspective from a young age. After a period in the Royal Marines, Michael read Spanish and Arabic at Durham University. Later he studied art at the Slade School and the Chelsea School of Art.
Michael shows widely in number of London galleries and across the UK, as well as in Europe and the United States. He sells his work internationally and has paintings in several private and public collections, including the National Army Museum. His decorative murals feature in homes, restaurants, hotels, palaces and public spaces around the world.
Michael has won prizes including the Stanley Grimm Prize 2017 from the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the Green and Stone Oil Painting Prize, the Agnes Reeve Memorial Prize for best painting of London, and the Prima Luce Mural prize. He is a former council member of the Chelsea Arts Society. In 2017 he appeared in SkyArts Landscape Artist of the Year.
He has been an official war artist for the British Military on three occasions. In 2011 and 2013 he accompanied troops to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. In 2016, a third commission took him to Iraq.
“Painting for me is recapturing the experience of seeing, without being too literal-minded about what that experience is or means.
My work always starts with direct observation of the visible world. It can be broad and sweeping, as in landscapes or cityscapes, or very close and intimate, as in figures, nudes or interiors. I often go out looking for subjects and return to the studio with sketches or drawings. These I use as a starting point for a process that turns raw observation, impressions, into something more abstract and evocative.
The process often involves cutting out visual distractions and transient effects so that the resulting image has more power. Time acts as an important filter for me and so does physical distance between the initial sketch and the painting. Both help me distil the memory and pick out the essential forms.
My overall aim is to communicate my experience of seeing, to convey—through the use of light and shadow and mood—some of the magic and mystery I feel when I look at the world.“
Michael Alford CV
Born: Cookham, Berkshire, 1958
Education: University of Durham, Chelsea School of Art, Slade School
Selected Solo Exhibitions
Duncan Campbell 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Nevill Gallery, Canterbury 2006
Royal Geographical Society Afghan Paintings 2010
Highgate Contemporary Art 2010, 2012
Panter & Hall Nudes 2016
Wimbledon Fine Art 2016, 2019
Selected Group Exhibitions
Chelsea Art Society Exhibitions 1991-2020
SF MOMA, Fort Mason, San Francisco 1992-2000
El Claustre, Girona 2003
El Quatre Gallery, Barcelona 2003
Blackheath Gallery 2005, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2013
Highgate Fine Art 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Collins & Hastie 2005, 2006
Kings Road Gallery 2005
Royal Institute of Oil Painters, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2017, 2019
Bucranio Arte, Italy 2007, 2008, 2009
Enid Lawson Gallery 2011, 2012
Chloe Fine Art, San Francisco 2012-2016
Medici Gallery 2011, 2012, 2013
Panter & Hall Tradition 2014
Jerram Gallery Winter 2015
Panter & Hall Three British Impressionists July 2017, April 2020
Thompson’s Metropolis 2018
Oil & Water 2018
Chelsea Art Society Ebb & Flow October 2019
Panter & Hall Five British Impressionists April 2019
Panter & Hall We Are 20 2019
Richard Hagen Gallery Summer, Autumn 2019, Winter 2020
Agnes Reeve Memorial Prize 2000
Primaluce Mural Festival Prize, Lodi, Italy 2003
Green & Stone Prize 2004
ROI Annual Exhibition Stanley Grimm Prize 2017
Signet Contemporary Art
378 Kings Road
London SW3 5UZ
+44 (0) 20 3105 4820
15 New Cavendish Street
London W16 9UB
+44 (0) 207 935 3595