Ron Russell (1923-1994)
Ron Russell (1923-1994). was born in London. He left school at 14 and joined the Fleet Air Arm in 1941 aged 18. Following the end of the war he moved to Sydney Australia where he met his Russian wife to be, Ariadne who encouraged him to take art lessons. He studied privately with Italian surrealist, Bissieta, who encouraged him to experiment with and develop his unique colour sense. His early abstract figurative work became progressively more abstract. Russell was active in the New South Wales branch of the Contemporary Art Society of Australia. Artistically he was quite isolated as there were very few abstract painters let alone colourists in Sydney in the 1950's. In 1959, Russell and his family moved to London. He painted prolifically and successfully, exhibiting widely in Britain and throughout Europe. Early on in London he met Denis Bowen, which led to a lifelong friendship and artistic association and contact with many avant-garde artists from all over the world. Russell's colour-field paintings became more subtle and minimalist throughout the 1960s and 1970s and he built up luminous layers of colours. Although self taught, Russell was influenced by Mark Rothko, William Turner and Antonio Caldera, who he met in Milan. He stopped painting for a while in the 1980's but restarted with vigour in the 1990s, including following a major stroke in 1994. This led to new and exciting work while sharing a studio with Denis Bowen. A large retrospective exhibition from over 40s years work was held at the Diorama Arts Centre Gallery in London following his death in 1994.