The Life Room and the City: Wonnacott and Lessore

Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery 4 October 2014 – 4 January 2015

Exploring the work of two important British painters and the pieces they made in and around Norwich while they were teaching in the city during the early 1980s.

Wonnacott and Lessore were brought to Norwich in 1978 by the artist Edward Middleditch. He was heading up the city’s School of Art and asked the duo to develop a new Life Room, where students could be trained to draw using the traditional skills of anatomy and perception.

The pair created two Life Rooms in the riverside studios, where they ran classes and also made their own work. This exhibition includes examples of the portraiture, anatomy studies, figure painting and Norwich cityscapes which they produced during this period, while also exploring different approaches to the way art is taught.

John Wonnacott, The Life Room, 1977-80,
 Norfolk Museums Service © the artist
John Wonnacott (1940 -), The Norwich School of Art, 1982-4, oil paint on canvas,
 © the artist. Photo credit: © Tate, London 2014
John Lessore, The Articulation of the Knee, 1982-84,
 Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist
John Lessore, Sunday, 1985-9,
 © the artist. Photo credit: © Tate, London 2014