Edward Povey 'Human': an exhibition of paintings in New York

Waterhouse & Dodd New York is pleased to present our first solo exhibition of Edward Povey's paintings at our New York gallery on East 76th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues.


We are honored to represent an artist with such rare visonary talents, and we welcome you to join us in person this October.  


Povey's paintings are a paradox: he uses the honest flat perspective of pre-Renaissance religious paintings, mixing his perspectives at will, and reproducing all the surfaces of the ordinary objects that carry an emotional charge in our lives. The palette of the flesh, extended into the whole painting is borrowed from Raphael (1483 – 1520) so as to import the starved and penitent look of the figures in his altarpieces. This is then deeply glazed to meet his own contemporary need to build a troubled translucency into the figure. 


Edward Povey was born in 1951 in London, England, growing up as an only child, painting obsessively and writing prose and music. He studied drawing at Eastbourne College for Art and Design, and then psychology and painting at The University of Wales. He became known as a mural painter in his twenties and was followed by the BBC through the making of 25 murals up to six stories in height, a period that he later came to regard as his apprenticeship.


He moved his studio to the Caribbean island of Grenada to concentrate on deepening his canvas painting for seven years, during which time, his works began finding their way into private collections in the United States.  He studied colour and composition with established artists such as the Danish architectural abstractionist Paul Klose, the American colourist Malcolm T. Liepke, and the Belgian art dealer Jan de Maere. By 1991, he was showing in John Whitney Payson’s New York gallery beside 20th Century American masters, and other galleries spanning seven countries over the coming three decades.


In 1991 The University of Wales commissioned Edward Povey to create a major 20 x 40 foot painting for a chamber concert hall in Wales, for which he designed a dense narrative work comprising seven panels framed by trompe-l'œil stonework.


By the year 2000, Povey’s work was acquired by prominent institutions including The National Museum of Wales; MOMA Wales; the National Library of Wales; the Glynn Vivien Art Museum; the Anglesey Museum Art Collection and numerous corporate art collections, and in 2018 The British Library documented his career for the British nation.


Povey was unusually sensitive and empathic child; prone to fainting. Personal experiences steeped in adventure - and at times tumultuous, he has had three marriages through two wars, in Israel and in the Caribbean; thus, it is no coincidence that he is preoccupied with the human experience. We follow a clear arc through his paintings, from perspectives on society in his 1970s’ murals, through family psychology and symbolism in his works of the 1990s, then culminating with insights into individual human vulnerability and mortality in his current paintings.


He lives and works in Devon, England, and still devotes up to a hundred hours a week to his work.