Monday, 4 July 2016

Century: 100 Modern British Artists

Dora Carrington, Iris Tree on a Horse, c1920s (Ingram Collection)

Monday got off to a good start with the press release for 'Century', the exhibition I'm curating at The Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, in October. Somehow I've managed to choose more than a hundred works, spanning a hundred years, by a hundred different artists - I hope it will be not only the most-wide ranging Modern British show in years but also an adventure in art - by turns funny and moving, quiet and boisterous, technically dazzling and delightfully simple.

I've chosen what I feel to be the strongest works from the Jerwood and Ingram Collections, focusing particularly on artists of historical importance and/or those who are well represented in one or both collections. I hope people will come away feeling that Modern British art is lively and fun.

Highlights of the exhibition include Dame Elisabeth Frink’s 'Walking Madonna', Sir Eduardo Paolozzi’s 1988 self-portrait sculpture, the delightful 'A Curious Cat' by Ruskin Spear RA and David Hockney’s 'My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean'. The show introduces artists as individuals, but also explores the movements and groups to which they belonged; with a room devoted to the Pop Art and collages of John Piper, Gerald Laing and Sir Anthony Caro.

Women artists are represented with works by Dame Laura Knight, Mary Fedden, Eileen Agar, Rose Wylie and Dod Procter given co-starring roles amongst the box office draws of Dame Elisabeth Frink and Dame Barbara Hepworth. In the case of Hepworth, her reputation is enjoying a renaissance and 'Century' gives Jerwood Gallery visitors a chance to see why.

'Century' also includes works drawn from local artists, as Jerwood Gallery Director Liz Gilmore explains: “We are particularly pleased to be displaying outstanding works by so many artists who lived and worked in East Sussex: including, John Armstrong, Frank Brangwyn, John Bratby, Edward Burra, Eric Gill and Eric Ravilious.”

The show ends with a room which is slightly crazy, which I hope will send people away with the feeling that they’ve had an adventure. It will feature Dora Carrington’s charming portrait 'Iris Tree on a Horse' realised in oil, ink, silver foil and mixed media on glass (see above).

'Century' opens at Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, in October. For further info, please contact the gallery.

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