About the artist

Born London, England, October 3, 1928. Died Ashland, Oregon, October 13, 2016

Clifford Wilton’s work runs the gamut from lush figurative abstracts to explorations of negative space. The wide diversity of subjects and styles began with a fortuitous first step...


In 1960, Clifford Wilton joined the faculty of the San Francisco Art Institute. He taught Design and something called Non-verbal Communication. Faculty were encouraged to take any of the classes the school offered. Clifford chose Oil Painting.


In the early sixties, the fresh new painting on the West Coast was being created by a group of young painters, Richard Diebenkorn, David Park and Elmer Bischoff among others. In returning to figurative work they courageously broke with the then dominant New York Abstract Expressionism school. These artists became Clifford Wilton’s mentors. Their work, he saw, was already dramatically changing the entire contemporary art scene.


“For many years, inspired by the artists of the Bay Area Figurative movement, my paintings also were about figures and representational images. But, over time, the work became less concerned with the subject and more about the process and the paint itself. My constant challenge was how to resolve what was in my mind with the images I was struggling to create on canvas. Some 50 years later, my paintings more directly express the images in my mind. Though dramatically changing from painting to painting, I celebrate this newly-found freedom to explore any direction I want. Today, the time I spend in the studio while still challenging, is rewarding and very productive.”