It was with enormous pride that Bradford College's Group CEO Andy Welsh opened the Dye House Gallery with a prestigious exhibition of the work of distinguished alumnus Norman Stevens on Saturday 8th November 2014. The gallery has been substantially extended and renamed to reflect its original purpose to teach colouration and dyeing to textile students. Since the College played a major role in the artistic career and life of this remarkable artist, his family felt that this tribute could not have been staged in a better place.
Norman was a Bradford lad who studied at the Art College from the age of twelve, before advancing to what was then Bradford Regional College of Art. Norman and his fellow students and life-long friends David Hockney, David Oxtoby, John Loker and Michael Vaughan progressed to the Royal College of Art and then made such an impact on the London art scene of the 1960s that they were dubbed ‘The Bradford Mafia.’ Norman also met his wife, Jean, at College when she studied textile design. Norman’s outstanding printmaking led to his election as an Associate Royal Academician in May 1983. Tragically, just five years later when he was on the verge of the major success he truly deserved, he died of cancer at the age of just fifty-one.
You can read all about Norman and the Bradford Mafia by downloading the specially compiled booklet:
The exhibition features Norman’s paintings and prints, and includes work not seen before from the private collections of Jean, her family and friends.Particularly touching are Norman's drawing of Jean and David Oxtoby's drawing of Norman at work in his studio. There is also a piece of work by each of the other members of the ‘Bradford Mafia’ and Derek Stafford, who taught them painting at College. Norman's family, and many friends, including artists David Oxtoby, John Loker and Michael Vaughan, plus David Hockney's brother Paul attended the private view on Saturday 8th November, from 12 to 2.30pm.
The Norman Stevens ARA Painter and Printmaker exhibition is open on weekdays from 11am until 4pm until 12th December. A number of limited edition prints are available for sale. You can also purchase raffle tickets at £5 each to win a print of Sprats thanks to the generosity of Mr Jim Collyer, with all raffle proceeds going to the charity Macmillan Cancer Care.
Visitors to the Dye House Gallery can combine a visit to the exhibition with their Christmas shopping, as Gift 14, the annual selling show of designer/maker jewellery, ceramics, glass, printmaking, textiles and more, runs simultaneously.