Tom Clifford’s wonderful paintings record his myriad responses to the world: walking on a beach, watching waves, clouds or people. A collection of random impressions from everyday life which have stayed with the artist, evoking a mood, emotion or insight which is best communicated in most versatile medium of all. In this sense, he is working in the tradition of the great Impressionists like Van Gogh, Seurat and Toulouse-Lautrec.
The guiding principle of his paintings is light: dazzlingly reflected on the surface of water or softly on a woman’s skin. “My preoccupation with light links me to the tradition of Western painting and over the past ten years I have focused on painting images of the sea and people's interactions with it,” he says. ‘Those Who Go That Way’, ‘Shore Contemplation’ and ‘Freedom From The Known II’ are great examples of his ecstatic dances with light. But perhaps ‘In Between Worlds’, which captures the moment when a snorkler breaks the surface of the pool, is the most memorable image.
Equally as enchanting as his landscapes are his paintings of interior objects – a dead mouse, a retro toy, a pair of well-worn favourite shoes. There’s much more here than meets the eye.
Clifford studied at Central Saint Martins and City and Guilds of London Art School. Since winning The Jeremy Haworth Trust Award and The Chadwyck-Healey Prize for painting in 1997, he has been exhibiting continuously, through group shows, events like the Affordable Art Fair and solo shows at The Russell Gallery in London.
by Imogen O'Rorke