Neil Stokoe (1935-2019) was born just outside Durham. He started his studies in 1953 at the Sunderland College of Art and then travelled to London to study at the Royal College of Art (1959-62: the same year as David Hockney, Ron Kitaj, Frank Bowling and Derek Boshier). He was awarded a Continuation Scholarship to study there until 1964.
Stokoe has a clear understanding of painting, which may be informed by Modern painters, but it is Francis Bacon – a friend of his through the 60s – who seems to be a recurring influence. Although each work has a strong visceral feel to its action and situation, it is often unclear exactly what is at play. Stokoe’s natural inclination is to paint, rather than talk – ‘the things you can’t explain are the only things worth understanding’ – for him, it is important that the paintings retain some form of mystery. Stokoe wants the viewer to read the work more than once, each time revealing another layer. Recurring themes of vulnerability and mortality can be found in recent work as he paints to remind us of the reality of life’s fragility. Images from photographs inspire the paintings as he brings together multiple sources to set the scene. The tensions that then prevail are left open to interpretation.
Stokoe exhibited at the John Moores, Liverpool in 1963 and 1967. He taught at Wimbledon School of Art from 1963 to 2000 – initially teaching Art History, then painting, and finally the Foundation Course from 1966 until his retirement. His work is included in the Arts Council Collection, as well as numerous private collections.
- 2017 Neil Stokoe: Staircases and Figures, Megan Piper, London
- 2015 Neil Stokoe: From The 60s On, Megan Piper, London
- 2013 All Things Must Pass, The Piper Gallery, London
- 2011 In this Vale of Tears, Langham Gallery, London
- 2003 Death, Sex and Ageing, Pilgrim Gallery, London
- 2002 Out of a Clear Blue Sky, Pilgrim Gallery, London
- 1994 Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Art, London *
- 1988 London Group Exhibition, Royal College of Art, London *
- 1986 Solo Exhibition, Concourse Gallery at Barbican Arts Centre, London
- 1976 Art Basel, Nicholas Treadwell Gallery *
- 1970 , Clytee Jessop Gallery, London
- 1967 John Moores, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool *
- 1963 John Moores, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool *