Hi Neale, thank you for speaking with us. We are very excited to be holding your exhibition Paintings from a Tour and Other Works. Could you tell us a bit about the exhibition?
"This exhibition consists of three main parts. The Royal Tour to West Africa, studio nudes and Spanish landscapes. This might appear a diverse exhibition but I hope there is a unifying sentiment. The desire to emotionally connect with the viewer, whether its a painting of a group of fishermen on the sand or a nude confronting herself in the mirror. "
Paintings in Neale Worley's Studio, 2019
How was your experience of joining a Royal Tour?
"HRH provides the tour artist with the opportunity to experience another culture, thereby broadening his horizon and providing new stimulus and inspiration. This is an opportunity not to be missed and having been on tour twice before I knew what a wonderful and challenging experience it would be. "
Neale painting on the beach in Ghana
"The Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria were parts of the world I had never visited. These countries were full of interesting landscapes and people that were visually stimulating for any painter. Their faces spoke of a different life lived and one that was so very different to mine."
Plastic Neale Worley
"A highlight of the trip for me was seeing The Durbar, a celebration festival in Kumasi, Ghana. It was a spectacular mesmerising event where Ashanti tribes and their leaders from all different regions come to pay tribute to the Ashanti King."
Friends at the Durbar Neale Worley
"The African coastline with its 'as far as the eye can see' beaches was another main subject of interest for me, with its groups of fishermen and their boats, mending yards of nets sheltered from the baking sun. This was a subject that could lend itself to many an interesting painting. Alas the tours are short, only eight or nine days so the pressure was on to absorb as much information as I could. When I was not painting I took many photos to jog the memory and then use as reference for other works painted back home."
Five Fishermen Mending Their Nets Neale Worley
Could you tell us about the inspiration behind the nudes included in this exhibition?
"The studio nudes are a more personal subject matter. Maybe I paint the female nude because of its distance to me. The further away from me the subject is, the clearer I hope to understand it. Maybe there is a need to pin down the reality of my own existence. By painting it my sensations and feelings are justified, ‘that moment existed', or maybe it is just an emotive subject matter, sensitive and delicate that fascinates me. There are a lot of maybes here, that's because I don't fully understand why. These subconscious reasons bubble underneath the usual frustrations of making and constructing a painting that tally with the illusive vision in one's head. "Painting is a rum business", to quote J.M.W. Turner."
Agata Neale Worley
What about the landscapes?
"Landscapes are a less demanding genre for the viewer I feel and for me, the Spanish views I've painted are possibly more romantic and calm in nature conveying a timeless quality with rarely a hint of modernity. The sun scorched buildings seem to naturally belong to their environment and appear to have grown like the vegetation surrounding it. Hot red ochre earth and deep olive green trees contrast with an unrelenting blue sky. Only one or two figures occupy the painting thereby creating an important but subtle motif."
Figure in a Landscape Neale Worley
"I do have an emotional connection with the countryside of Spain. It's a landscape that presents possibilities for a different narrative, one outside my normal studio space. I feel more relaxed and stimulated by the strong light which gives me energy."
Neale Worley in the studio, 2019
The eCatalogue for Neale's exhibition Paintings from a Tour and Other Works can be viewed here.