On Monday 14 May 2012, my father Enos Lovatt’s latest exhibition opened at the Chancellor’s Building, Keele University, Staffordshire. He doesn’t exhibit very often any more, and this exhibition ‘The Boys’ was a sort of retrospective of his work and was shown alongside two other artists Jack Simcock and Arthur Berry.
Arthur Berry died a number of years ago, but sadly Jack Simcock died unexpectedly on the eve of the opening.
All three local men lived and worked locally in the Potteries. They had previously exhibited together in 1971 at Stoke-on-Trent City Museum and Art Gallery in an exhibition called ‘6 Artists of North Staffordshire’ as part of the Stoke-on-Trent Festival. In the introduction to the programme it describes the exhibition as setting out ‘to present the native artistic strength of the Potteries. The warm humanity of North Staffordshire folk is expressed powerfully in the works of the artists represented here.’
Born in 1937 in Mow Cop on the Cheshire/Staffordshire border, my father attended the Burslem School of Art at 15. Following his national service, spent in Glasgow, he studied at the Royal College of Art between the ages of 22 and 25, a contemporary of Frank Bowling and David Hockney. He was a lecturer at North Staffordshire Polytechnic until his retirement in the late 1980s. A dedicated painter with an innate sense of colour, he lives to paint rather than paints to live and until recently, when ill-health and family circumstances have taken their toll, would almost always be found with a pen or a brush in his hand.
In an interview for an exhibition at Haworth Art Gallery in 1973, Enos stated ‘Even now I remember vividly the strong quiet secret voices of the people I’ve known, for I find built in them a truth that slowly but surely gives rise to the awareness of new orders of life where governing principles help forge new and more desirable concepts, which could be, if only we had the common sense, insight and force of mind, to define and to explore.’ It is this wonder in the world and what it contains that has fuelled his work for more than six decades through realism and abstraction.
Scroll down to see just a few of his thousands of paintings….