13th Burnham Art Trail
Saturday 24th June to Sunday 2nd July 2017
Geoffrey Earl Wickham Retrospective Exhibition
Saturday 1, Sunday 2 July 11am to 5pm
Sculptor and Painter, Fellow of Royal British Sculptors Society
July 10 1919 to March 17 2005
Geoffrey Earl Wickham moved to Burnham in November 1986, he had been familiar with the area visiting regularly to see his two sons in Tollesbury. Whilst visiting London for an eye operation and staying with his son Peter he was told about a Methodist Chapel for sale in Burnham-on-Crouch. The following morning he and his wife Aki came to see it, Geoffrey decided to buy it on the spot simply because the space was large enough for him to use his favourite tall easel which had been in storage for many years.
Geoffrey was born in Wembley, Middlesex as a child he showed a visual curiosity in everything and a talent for art and went on to attended the Willesden School of Art followed by a period in a commercial studio until the 2nd World War. He joined the Forestry Commission before moving to the NCC Pioneer Corps and the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. He subsequently served with REME radar in North Africa and Italy, transferring in 1945 to the Royal Army Education Corps with the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders in Austria and Italy. Leaving the services in 1946, Geoffrey took with him dozens of drawings of fellow soldiers, scenes from army life and continental landscapes, some of which where later purchased by the National Army museum. His experience with the complex diagrams of radar circuitry reappeared in his experimental artwork in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
After demob he gained a place on the postgraduate course at The Royal College of Art and was awarded his ARCA in Fine Art in 1949.
In 1951 he became senior lecturer in the visual studies department in the School of Architecture at Regent Street Polytechnic (now University of Westminster). He stayed for 21 years, teaching student architects drawing, spatial design and the use of colour; he established a team of artists from diverse fields within the school to support the teaching process.
In 1965 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Society of British Sculptors and he became a Fellow in 1967. Geoffrey was awarded the RBS Silver Medal for the “Most Distinguished Sculpture in London” for his Fountain Head commissioned by (and stands behind) Sotheby’s in Belgravia.
In 1970 Geoffrey became Principal lecturer in charge of Fine and Applied Art at Sir John Cass School of Art a faculty of the City of London Polytechnic (now Metropolitan University) until his retirement in 1982.
His teaching philosophy encouraged experimentation, encouraging the interaction between artists and scientists championing inter-disciplinary study encouraging students to look study and experiment.
From the early 1960s Geoffrey was increasingly commissioned to produce sculptures for buildings both in the UK and abroad often working in close collaboration with architects. His work, formed using clay for bronze casting, heat formed polystyrene for aluminium casting and ceramics, concrete and fibreglass. The work can be seen in offices in Ludgate Hill and Motcombe Street, London. Also in Sutton, Egham, France, Germany, Bahrain and Lagos, other examples are held in private collections.
In 1981 Geoffrey met Akiko Fujikawa, they married in Kyoto Japan where they lived for the next four years. Geoffrey explored Japanese art and changed his outlook on life and art. He spent his time painting, woodblock printing, sculpting, exhibiting and lecturing and being a student of Japanese art.
Geoffrey and Aki moved to Burnham setting up the studio and continuing to work, and exhibit. He produced sensitive and spontaneous sumi-e drawings in ink, capturing the spirit and vitality of life with minimal expressive gestures, and some terracotta sculptures.
1989 One man show Town Council, Hattingen Germany
1991 Touring Two Man Show with Aki Fujikawa: Nermarkka Museum, Aljarvi
Jakobstad Museum, Jakobstad KH Redlunds Museum, Kokkola Finland
1993 Two Man Show with Aki Fujikawa, Beecroft Gallery, Southend-on-Sea, England
1993 Elected member of Arms Forces Art Society, London.
Tragically in December 1995 Geoffrey lost his eyesight overnight being declared blind the following year. However, with a hand made monoscope, which had a tiny hole, he could detect something in front of him and he continued to work.
Geoffrey found a helper in David Reading who helped Geoffrey to create a large papier-mâché sculpture. But he still could not see to paint. Then Greta Levins became Geoffrey’s helper. Greta became his eyes and hands, and with her help Geoffrey continued to work producing a series of abstract paintings.
Geoffrey had a lust for life and a passion for his work he worked up to being admitted to hospital six weeks before he died, aged 85.
1998 Two man Show with Aki Fujikawa: Burnham-on-Crouch Museum England
1999 Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation, London, England
2003 Retrospective Exhibition Chelmsford Museum, England.