It is symptomatic of our politically debased and game/tv reality show culture that formal and spatial values in figurative art have become dirty words - art, like society, has no depth and surface is all.

Contemporary use of bright cheerful colour by collapsing the tonal range as if only playing two octaves on an eight-octave keyboard is also part of this trivialisation.

I was fortunate in the Sixties to be taught by some of the last of the old guard R.A and R.P members for whom form and structure were the probity of art.

This has enabled me to make the serious articulation of form in space the main motivation of my paintings, in opposition to, not reflecting supinely, the times.

Such old guard values were and still are anathema, and I had difficulties because I was brainwashed into believing that art that is not at the cutting edge and part of the “shock of the new” is despicable.

However I soon realised that all art is of it's time even when the intention is otherwise (Annigoni's renaissance style Queen portraits that are so redolent of the fifties) so that to make a conscious effort to relate to the times and for that to be the main criteria upon which work is judged is absolute stupidity.

Although now played out, the Sickert, Bomberg and Auerbach line was one of the exceptions to the triviality of much of the last century as it was based on sound drawing and formal values. Auerbach trained under the Vivian Pitchforth/ Andrew Freeth team at St Martins. This was shown by his Pitchforthian student drawings shown at the recent exhibition of Lucian Freud's collection of Auerbach's work.

However nothing illustrates better than the following anecdote the crazy politics of modern art. In the eighties I was getting some model time at Sir John Cass School of Art and Andrew Freeth and I walked across the road to the Whitechapel Art Gallery in the lunchtime. Frank Auerbach came in and scarcely acknowledged Andrew Freeth in spite of the debt he owed this fine life draughtsman/etcher.