Anthony Neilson is a landscape artist who has used both paint and photography as mediums for artistic expression for over 40 years. A dedicated climber with a passion for colour and light, he has a unique style of interpreting the landscape he sees.
After many years as a prominent photographic artist Anthony changed his focus to painting with acrylic. His primary subject has been mountain landscapes of the Canadian Rockies.
Anthony Neilson photographic poster circa: 1980’s
Style and Influences
Anthony’s artistic style is influenced by his early exposure to the work of a relative, German American expressionist Lyonel Feininger. “It was probably some of the very first art work I ever noticed before I even knew what art was. His work was a constant presence in my home growing up.” Borrowing on Feininger’s use of straight lines to describe his subjects, Anthony found it natural to adapt those techniques to the mountain environments he was familiar with. Although Feininger did not paint mountains, his paintings of buildings influenced Anthony through his use of shadows to create a feeling of isolation, and help to focus on the architecture in a similar way to the natural architecture of mountains.
Another influence is the landscape painting of American artist Georgia O’Keeffe, whose use of vivid colour and shadows when painting landscapes resonated with Anthony who saw the mountains of his home environment in a similar way to which O’Keeffe saw deserts. “I look at her landscape paintings and I see a landscape distilled down to it’s most basic shapes and colours, I find it inspiring, because I see the landscape around me in a very similar way.”
Anthony is also influenced by his work as a photographer. Having spent years working with Kodachrome film, Anthony sees landscapes with the saturated, high contrast bias so common in his photography. He also sees the landscape from the perspective of someone looking through a fixed focal length lens to frame his subject. His photographic style often used telephoto lenses to isolate the subject from its surroundings, in a similar way to a portrait photographer, concentrating on the character and features of the face of the mountain. This just carried on through to his work as a painter.
A coincidence of influence at the Metropolitan Museum, New York