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Born in Yorkshire in 1965, Andrew Torr moved to London in 1983 to study painting under Bernard Cohen at Wimbledon School of Art. He has lived and worked in the capital since completing his degree in 1987 initially from a studio in the East End and latterly in Wandsworth. Much of his work has been an attempt to render and explore the city, especially the open spaces of the parks and commons at night or the bridges crossing the Thames. The city at night has been a particularly rich inspiration and recurrent motif for Torr; the muted, unreal light that is reflected off the clouds above the commons – yellows, reds, eerie whites – the strange melancholy of those spaces and their unnatural underwater quality have provided a great formal exercise in using paint for Torr. How do you re-present that vastness on a flat canvas? The Thames paintings complement the nocturnes, typically by pushing the horizon high up the canvas. In this way, the water becomes the star rather than the sky.  In 1992, Torr took a forced sabbatical after suffering a serious accident which severed the all the tendons and nerves of his right hand. This may well have finished his career but surgeons were able to reattach the connective tissue and, through therapy and determination, he regained enough dexterity to return to painting. Part of this therapy was to learn how to use a computer mouse with his left hand and led to a second career as a graphic artist. He became Creative Director at The London Marathon in 1998 and worked there for 20 years. Torr is currently represented by Oliver Contemporary gallery in London.



Benji Thomas: Our Artists
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