Roy Pickering was born into the North Nottinghamshire mining community of Welbeck in 1954, the son of pit worker and photographer, Ron Pickering, and grew up amid a landscape that combined such extremes as the mighty Sherwood Forest, aristocratic estates like Welbeck, Newstead and Rufford, through to the sprawling industrial landscape of the City of Nottingham and the many quarries and towering headstocks across the county's coalfields, " I've developed a lifelong love and interest in the richness and variety of the landscape, and how it was, and continues to be shaped historically and politically by nature and by man.
I like to think I'm working within the tradition of British landscape painting whilst at the same time exploring the endless possibilities of the paint medium, and attempting to evoke a sense of time, place and state of fragility. The big change for me came when I moved back to Nottinghamshire in 2003 and started making work about the landscape and history of this place I knew as a child. I went looking for evidence of past workings of this landscape and I found some very strange places indeed. There is a strong sense of the past here ; stuff left over from the war ; paths leading to the edge of fields, or nowhere ; old dead oaks. And at the same time an eerie sense
of time moving on; an overwhelming indescribable, beautiful melancholy. I feel that I am part of this landscape - I own it. Not in a material sense, no one owns it in that sense. We only get to be part of it for a while - change it, work with it or against it.
But what ever we do to it, we do it to ourselves."
In the 1970’s Roy studied painting in Birmingham and worked in London for The Tate Galleries and other arts organisations between 1985 and 2003 before returning to Nottinghamshire, to the heart of Sherwood Forest, working in a studio converted from an old cowshed on an active farm.
"I work with oil paint and acrylic; I paint with mud I find in various places; I paint on canvas and paper and aluminium; Large and small. I love everything that paint does, and I come at it with - I wonder what will happen if I do this? So I'm dripping and scraping as well as brushing, and I'm blotting and masking. Usually I'm dealing with some formal problem suggested by the subject. It means a lot of changes; I re-work and over paint; I hang them in the house and live with them for a bit, and if they get on my nerves they go back to the studio; if they don't, they're done. Painting like mine, which is basically mark making, shows evidence of time; occupies space like an object. The landscape is like that and I try to find ways to make the paintings like the landscape. I paint about the place that is my home. I was born in Notts, but also I'm a traveller who has returned; it's a very familiar landscape that holds memories, changes constantly, and offers endless possibilities"
Roy Pickering is founder and director of not-for-profit Quarrylab, an artists development and support programme, and is organiser and curator of Quarrylab exhibitions. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.