Ronald O’Neal Best’s art explores the boundaries between figuration and abstraction, the frontiers where the classical tradition of painting and printmaking fuse with a Modernist sensibility. His work has an instinctive sense of the creative process. Searching out the rich and sensual possibilities of paint, collage and printmaking, Ronald typically creates a dense matrix of layered form, colour and texture, offering a new perception of reality.
A classically trained artist and teacher, Ronald O’Neal Best has exhibited widely. His studies began at the Byan Shaw School of Art in 1975 and continued at Southwark College, 1982-3. At Croydon College, 1983-7, Ronald was inspired to explore a free expressionist style by Bruce McLean. His tutor Gerald Marks, a painter who had himself studied under Bernard Meninsky, confirmed for Ronald at Croydon his enthusiasm for early 20th Century British Modernism. Ronald latterly studied at the Royal College of Art 1988-90.
For a time working as an assistant to the painter Winston Branch, Ronald was also artist in residence at Kensington & Chelsea College of Further Education in 1993 and at the Essendine Centre, where he was assistant teacher in the lithography workshop. Ronald has been a teacher of printmaking at Heatherley’s School of Fine Art since 1997.
Ronald exhibited with the Young Contemporaries at Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, the London Group, the New English Art Club, Royal Society of British Artists, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Pastel Society, Metro Gallery and ACAVA Open Studios and has received commissions from London Art Forms.
Curating exhibitions since he was a student at the Royal College of Art, Ronald has become a leading light of the West London art scene. Founding the Portobello Group of Artists in 1989, he has organised and participated in numerous exhibitions and events, generously promoting and inspiring a great diversity of talent. He has also established The Chelsea Printmakers. Encouraging students of all abilities, the Portobello Drawing Academy, where the traditions of studying from the life model is practiced, was founded in 1997. It is open to members of all ages – currently 18 to 85! All these artistic groups established by Ronald continue to flourish, making a significant and vibrant contribution to the cultural life of West London.
written by Gabriel Summers MA - Courtauld Institute