Neil Canning was born in Enstone, Oxfordshire in 1960. Early in his career he was based in Wales where he painted figurative landscapes but his work changed in 1997 when he moved to St Ives, here he immediately responded to the drama and rugged character of the coastal landscape. His work, though still referencing the natural world, its topography, atmosphere and weather, became more abstract, showing an affinity he acknowledges to earlier St Ives artists such as Peter Lanyon and Patrick Heron. The use of intense colour and energetic gesture became hallmarks of his visual vocabulary, conveying his emotional response to his experience of particular places and moments.
Since 1985 Canning has exhibited widely in the UK including in numerous group shows and over thirty solo exhibitions. An early self-portrait was selected for exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in 1987 and later at the Royal Academy (2003,2004,2013) and the IFPDA Print Fair in New York (2005,2013); he was a prize winner in the ‘Discerning Eye’ annual competition sponsored by the IMG Bank in 2011.
In 1993 He was the youngest artist to be elected as an Associate of the Royal Society of British Artists and was awarded a bronze medal at the Paris Salon in 1994. In 2011 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Exeter University. His work is included in many public and corporate at collections.