TWO striking paintings by a Bradford artist, featuring views of the city centre, will be on display at this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

The Oastler Centre, Oak Lane and John Street are some of the locations featured in Martin Hearne’s paintings. He is inspired by streets, shop fronts and the people he sees out and about.

Two of his paintings - Late Afternoon on Darley Street and Bazaar have been accepted by the Royal Academy. Says Martin: “I’m really pleased and surprised to have had two paintings accepted, especially as the competition for places is so fierce. Both works feature views of Bradford city centre or are based on different aspects of the city centre.

Late Afternoon on Darley StreetLate Afternoon on Darley Street (Image: Martin Hearne)

“Late Afternoon on Darley Street shows sunlight back lighting a single figure. There’s a nod to Edward Hopper, the American realist, with its fascination with lighting effects and an isolated figure.

“Bazaar is an amalgamation of a generic shop front with some superimposed mannequins and a couple of figures, half remembered from a drive home along Thornton Road.”

Adds Martin: “Like much of my painting, the different elements are collaged together from a variety of sources and everyday sights around Bradford and the region.

“Although I think this celebration of the commonplace is a fascinating subject for painting, Bradford does offer something special and captivating with its rich mix of cultures and landscapes. The everyday scenes of a multicultural city in the north of England offer something that goes beyond the commonplace.

“One of the most visually arresting sights is the number of cloth houses around the city centre and the rich colour of the mannequin displays. Mannequins have a long tradition in art of acting as surrogates or objects that crystallise dreams and desires of their creators. So my mannequin painting, Bazaar, can be seen as a celebration of the window designer as artist as well as asking questions about the idea of beauty and social acceptability. As I worked on this painting the disquieting element of the dark triangular shadows beneath the the dresses suddenly appeared. A quality I hadn’t foreseen or realised, it was so prominent when I began the work and acted as a counter-point to the paintbox effect I was thinking of when sketching out my initial idea. I’d imagined the mannequins as a school-box of watercolour paints with blocks of vivid colours.

Martin’s paintings are often inspired by travelling along the same streets, seeing the same people going to work, shopping and taking their children to school, and the way buildings change in light and weather.

* His paintings can be seen at the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, London, from June 18 to August 18.