James Bland received his BA with honors First Class in Fine Art from Canterbury Christchurch University in 2003 and his MA in Fine Art from Canterbury Christchurch University in 2005. Bland was the first prize winner of The Winsor & Newton Oil Painters Awards at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 2013. In January 2015, he was elected a member of the New English Art Club, a London-based exhibiting society, based at the Mall Galleries. He currently lives in London, England.
James Bland is a figurative artist who enjoys the surprises and the surrender of control that oil painting offers. Memory, folklore, and dreams are the main subjects of his work and his paintings offer tantalizing glimpses of narratives alongside the rigorously-observed depictions of light and form. Bland’s work incorporates diverse approaches to style and subject, but is grounded in the practice of drawing and painting from life. His aim is always to find something surprising in the subject. Though some of his paintings are done quickly, most spend a long time in the studio looking for the right element, pose or composition. The paintings will be cut down, re-stretched, scraped back and painted over while Bland tries to work out what they need- some kind of surprise seems essential.