Larry Ham (1934-2007)
Larry Ham was born in Newquay, Cornwall in 1934 and attended Chelsea School of Art where Vivian Pitchforth taught him drawing. He moved to Guernsey in 1958 where he spent the rest of his life with his Cornish born wife, Paddy. He exhibited in the legendary ‘Artists of Fame and Promise’ series at the Leicester Galleries and later had a successful solo exhibition with the Cooper Gallery in London..
During a productive half century Larry Ham developed a powerful and distinctive semi-abstract style. His gritty physical paint handling and natural ability to reduce and eliminate unnecessary detail, struck at the heart of the mainly maritime themes that inspired him. With a synthesis of post-war St Ives abstraction and an acknowledged debt to the School of Paris and to Nicolas de Stael in particular, Ham created individual variations on some of the greatest 20th century pictorial art. Isolated in his Channel Island haven, but informed by metropolitan modernism, Ham produced a style that was both distinct, eye catching and individual, yet wholly a part of the cultural, artistic and social zeitgeist of his time.
Larry Ham died in 2007 and a retrospective exhibition of his work was held in 2009 at Guernsey Museum, St Peter Port. The author and critic, Peter Davies, was commissioned by Ham’s family to write his biography and, as a recognised author on Cornish art, Davies warmed to the task. ‘Larry Ham – Guernsey’s Cornish-Born Artist’ was published in 2010.
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