About the Artist
Richard Birmingham, a founding member of Roar Studios, has worked and exhibited in Melbourne over a period of 35 years.His awareness of the changing face of contemporary art over that time has seen him neither tempted nor seduced by the fashionable or the Kitsch in art. His work is expressionist in approach and demonstrates an ongoing commitment to drawing and painting as primary force in contemporary arts practice. Richard has set up a teaching and mentor program through the Melbourne Studio School where students attend workshops, come into contact with professional artists, and gain support in their artistic endeavors within a community atmosphere.
Richard’s Influence on early Roar
“An early example of the treatment of the figure by the Roar artists appears in a charcoal design by Richard Birmingham. Birmingham has generally been excluded from the groups history but his influence as a trigger in interpretations of the figure, as evident in Figures in a Landscape, 1981/1982, appears to have been instrumental in the development of most members of the group and continues to be shown more than a decade later”
From Roar and Quieter moments-Traudie Allen, Craftsman House.
Founded in 1998 by Richard Birmingham, the school grew out of a need to speak up for drawing and painting in a Post Modern era where conceptual arts practice and critical theory dominated teaching in most art colleges across Melbourne.
Life drawing in particular and the learning of manual skills became a casualty during this time along with concepts like self expression and originality.
There was a need for an Atelier based school in Melbourne which continued to value painting and drawing and remained committed to teaching these fundamental skills.
Students at Melbourne Studio School work with a variety of approaches and media in weekly classes and school holiday workshops.
Classes run during the school term and move between direct observation on the one hand and memory and imagination on the other.
Students will paint and draw throughout the term exploring such varied themes as figure, still life, lyrical abstraction, masterwork transcription and "en plein air" landscape during the warmer months.
The classes pursue a gradual assimilation of skills to hold both the observed and the imagined in balance. Work can be abstract, figurative or a combination of both. All work undertaken at the school is built on an understanding of the history of art and its influence on dynamic pictorial composition.
Students are encouraged to established their own studio practice in addition to attending weekly classes at the school.
Three day workshops are also held 4 times a year during the school holidays.
Regular critique sessions and contact with visiting artists add further stimulus to the learning process. Students are encouraged to work expressively and with their own voice. All teachers at the school are practicing artists who believe in drawing and painting and its continued power as a poetic and transcendent force in the arts.