Bryan Kneale was born in Douglas, Isle of Man, in 1930. He studied at Douglas School of Art in 1947 and at the Royal Academy Schools, London from 1948–52. Bryan Kneale currently lives and works in London.
A teacher for most of his career, Kneale was Head of Sculpture at Hornsey College of Art and Design in 1968 and Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy Schools from 1980–87. He held successive posts at the Royal College of Art, as Tutor from 1963–80, Senior Tutor from 1980–85, Head of Sculpture from 1985–90 and Professor of Drawing from 1990–95. Kneale was elected Royal Academician in 1974, is a Trustee of the Royal Academy of Arts and a Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art.
A selection of solo exhibitions includes: Hart Gallery, London (2012); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2011); Royal British Society of Sculptors, London (2009); Hart Gallery, London (2007); Hart Gallery, London (2004); 70th Birthday Exhibition, Roche Court, Salisbury (2000); The Eye of the Storm, Mandria Park, Turin; Bronze, British Contemporary Sculpture, Holland Park. Retrospectives of his work have been held at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1966); The Serpentine Gallery, London (1978) and the Henry Moore Gallery (1986). Aside from solo exhibitions, Kneale has also participated in many group shows, both in the UK and Europe including Sculpture International, Battersea Park, London from 1963–66; British Sculpture in the 60s, Tate Gallery, London (1966) and New Art, Hayward Gallery (1975).
In 1948 Bryan Kneale won the Rome Prize, and spent his time travelling in Italy where he was greatly influenced by the work of the Futurists and metaphysical painters. His early ambition was to be a painter, and on returning to London in 1951 he started to paint using palette knives as a method of ‘constructing’ with paint. In 1960, having learnt welding techniques, Kneale turned to three–dimensional work and held his first exhibition of sculpture. An overriding characteristic of Kneale’s work is an interest in linkages: the way in which separate forms are conjoined. Skeletons and joints of animals were explored through drawing and construction in metal. Kneale prefers to work directly in metal rather than modelling in an intermediary material before casting. Recent pieces have been constructed from spun steel domes, which Kneale cuts and re-aligns in abstract forms and finishes in a variety of ways.