The Heart has its Reasons: Three Painters in Conversation

Toby Wiggins, Andrew James, Anthony Connolly
Highgate Gallery
12 - 25 Apr 2024

(Detail) Oblation – oil on canvas 123x102cm. © Toby Wiggins 2023. All rights reserved.

Gallery times: Wednesdays to Fridays 13:00-17:00,
Saturdays 11:00-16:00, Sundays 11:00-17:00,
Mondays & Tuesdays Closed
Private View: Friday 12 April 2024 18:00-20:30

Artist Talk Sunday 21 April at 15.30. All Welcome

The President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Anthony Connolly along with two fellow members, Toby Wiggins and Andrew James, will be curating a unique exhibition that goes to the heart of their reasons for making their work. Sixty new and unseen paintings, drawings and sculptures will form a dynamic dialogue that explores overlapping themes including personal memories, history, landscape, religion and a shared belief in the need for authenticity of spirit to be at the heart of the creative process.

Teardrop: plaster 23x15cm. © Anthony Connolly 2023. All rights reserved.

This dialogue between the artists’ work will offer three entwined perspectives on the very personal process of painting.  Anthony Connolly studied Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College. In 2004 he won the prestigious Prince of Wales Award for Portrait Drawing. In 2009, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Changing Faces Prize and he was also elected to the membership. He has won the Royal West of England Academy Prize for Drawing.

Toby Wiggins attended the Royal Academy Schools. He won the Prince of Wales Drawing Award in 2005 and 2013, was elected to the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 2006, winning the Changing Faces Prize that year and the BP Travel Award  exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery 2007. He won the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers Prize for Figurative Painting in 2009 and the coveted Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture in 2023.

Boy with an Injured Fox: oil on canvas 80x60cm © Toby Wiggins 2021. All rights reserved.

Andrew James won the Carroll Foundation Award in 1998, the BBC’s ‘Star Portraits’ in 2004 and the Changing  Faces Prize in 2013. He has worked on many prestigious portrait commissions of both private and public figures. He was elected to the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 2002, holding the position of Vice President  from 2008. He became a member of the New English Art Club in 2017.

Tonbridge Station, a Winter Morning: oil on canvas 22x16cm © Andrew James 2021. All rights reserved

“…our conversations over the last few years have highlighted very powerfully the sympathies we have for each other’s work, what we really value in contemporary figurative art, and how we stand well apart from much that is at the forefront of our visual culture.”  Anthony Connolly

“…these fortifying conversations have brought us to a deeper realisation of who we are individually and as a group – our art takes time to make and time to look at.”  Toby Wiggins

“’It’s become apparent that we’re not always ‘on trend’ and that we all flow against the grain somewhat. I’m really keen to see what that looks like when all the work comes together.” Andy James

For further information about The Heart Has Its Reasons: Three Painters In Conversation:

For further information about the show: Toby Wiggins

The Exhibition co-ordinator: Alison De Cleyn