Monday 27 May 2013

Leamington Art Gallery

Leamington Art Gallery. Some works in their permanent collection:

Green Landscape, Anthony Whishaw, (acrylic on canvas)

Influenced by two art movements, Abstract Expressionism and the British romantic landscape tradition, Whishaw tries to combine abstract form with figurative elements to create 'a parallel experience to reality rather than a description of it'.

Orange Umber, Terry Frost, 1960 (oil on canvas)

Born in Leamington, Frost left school at 14 and joined the army soon after the outbreak of WWII. He was captured on active service in Crete in 1941 and spent the next four years in prison camps. It was during this time that he met the artist Adrian Heath and learnt about the artists' colony in St Ives. On release Frost married and enrolled at Camberwell School of Art before moving to Cornwall.

Frost's brightly coloured canvases demonstrate his love of the work of Russian supremacist artists Malevich and Lessitski as well as American expressionists Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman.

Madrigal, Terry Frost, 1949 (oil on canvas)

Frost discovered the song Madrigal by WH Auden when he was in Leamington gallery carrying out research for an assignment for his degree in Art. The song was written for the film Coal Face for which Benjamin Britten composed the music. The collaboration led to a lifelong friendship with Britten. Frost was attracted to the song not only because he felt empathy with the miners in the Midlands, but because it also described a miner leaving work to meet his 'Kath' , which was also the name of Frost's wife.

The Spirit of the Snake, Eduardo Paolozzi, 1965 (screenprint on paper)

Paolozzi created some of the finest examples of Pop Art. The print is one of four given to Exhall Grange Primary School. They show the artist's fascination with popular culture, science fiction and advertising. The print is from the As Is When portfolio of 12 screeprints which was inspired by the life and theories of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein: based on elaborate collages, the prints employ fragments of text, abstract patterns, pictures of aeroplanes and other machines, together with Disney characters. He has described the prints as 'a kind of combined autobiography'.

Wittgenstein at the Cinema Admires Betty Grable, 1965 (screenprint on paper)

As above

as above.
Some of these works are on loan from Exhall Grange School in Coventry, founded in 1951 as a residential establishment for children with visual impairments. In 1970 the headteacher of the school, George Marshall, decided to develop a collection of art for the children to enjoy. He felt that his pupils should be able to appreciate the best art available, so he contacted a range of contemporary artists asking them to donate work. His powers of persuasion encouraged leading artists such as John Bratby, John Piper and Eduardo Paolozzi to donate works to the school, resulting in an excellent collection. These works of art are on loan to the Leamington Art Gallery while the school is undergoing refurbishment and will be returned to the school when building work is completed, to be enjoyed by a new generation of pupils.
Isn't that a wonderful story?

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