David Tinker 1925 - 2000

In 1949, Tinker had arrived, as an enthusiastic young lecturer in sculpture, at Cardiff College of Art. Over the next half century, he became one of the most prominent figures in Welsh contemporary art. He led calls for modernism and abstraction to be taken seriously amid the provincial academicism that dominated not just public taste, but the Welsh galleries and art schools.

In 1956, he was co-founder of the radical exhibiting co-operative 56 Group Wales. At the same time, he was pivotal in defeating the conservatism of the South Wales Group, blasting the "closed shop operating against the experimental painter". As chairman of the Welsh Group for 15 years, Tinker worked to create opportunities for artists, sometimes seeming high-minded in a way which belied his soft, self-effacing sense of humour.

At Cardiff, his students had included Sir Anthony Hopkins and the painters Ivor Davies and Professor Glyn Jones. In 1962, he moved to the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, leading its growing art school until his retirement in 1986.

Tinker was born in Charlton, south London, the son of a naval engineer and an embroiderer. To this background he attributed his love of making things and his fascination with the visual. As he wrote in an essay for Artists In Wales (1977): "The sight of colour, shape and form are marvellous to me. I have always felt I must communicate to other people something of the excitement which I experience." He was educated in Rochester, Portsmouth and Canterbury, and at Winchester and Bath schools of art. Wartime naval service followed, before he took up a place at the Slade school of art in 1946; negative experiences at the Slade shaped his most important precept, which was to attune himself to students' individualism, and never to "correct" them.

David Tinker
Sweet sharp winter
Mixed media 1992
75 x 46 cm

David Tinker
Greek Blue Moon
38 x 59 cm

David Tinker
Dune weather
Acrylic on canvas 1978
150 x 100 cm

David Tinker
Trapeze Pierrot and Dancer
Gouache and oil pastel
54 x 70 cm

David Tinker
Nostalgia for the recent past
Acrylic on paper 1979
75 x 54 cm

David Tinker
Lillian Rathmell
Gouache on paper 1950
50 x 37 cm

David Tinker
Gouache on paper 1954
64 x 44 cm

David Tinker
Two identities
110 x 115 cm

David Tinker
The ghoset of the tyrant remains in the house

David Tinker
The Chateleine
Porcelain 1993

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