Ken Wadrop is a familiar name in the Western Australian art scene. Trained by artists teaching at Claremont School of Art in the 1970s, he originally adopted a photo-realist style and worked with Marcus Beilby and Ray Beattie, forming the High Street Realist group in the late 1970s. Most of Wadrop’s painting career has been centred in the studio, with controlled lighting and atmosphere, using photographs as stimulation for some extraordinary paintings of the urban environment.
While working as studio assistant to George Haynes and Jane Martin he became inspired by their philosophy and work practices of working from nature. Ken now works in the very challenging method of en plein air (in the open air). This method of painting, developed by the Barbizon painters and made popular by the French Impressionists in the 19th Century, ensures the artist analyses the light, tones and values of what he/she sees in front of them and responding, translates that stimulation to the surface in oil paint. Using modest-sized surfaces, Wadrop responds to the heat or cold of the day, of the moment and visually translates what is in front of him in a manner that is most exciting.
Ken’s works are in many collections, including the Holmes à Court Collection, University of Western Australia, City of Fremantle, Art Gallery of Western Australia and National Gallery of Victoria.