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Press Releases

Kaleidoscope: Colour and Sequence in 1960s British Art

13 Feb 2017

An Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition
1 April–18 June 2017
Longside Gallery


The Arts Council Collection is pleased to announce the launch of a new touring exhibition focusing on British abstract art from the 1960s. Kaleidoscope examines the art of the 1960s through the fresh lens of sequence, symmetry and repetition, bringing into view the relationship between colour and form, rationality and irrationality, order and waywardness. Curated by independent curator and writer Sam Cornish with the Collection’s Senior Curator Natalie Rudd, Kaleidoscope is the first Arts Council Collection survey of 1960s art for over 20 years. It draws largely on the Collection’s outstanding holdings, augmenting the selection with important loans from other UK collections. 

This show will present paintings and sculptures by more than 20 artists including David Annesley, Anthony Caro, Barry Flanagan, John Hoyland, Robyn Denny, Tess Jaray, Phillip King, Kim Lim, Jeremy Moon, Mary Martin, Bridget Riley, Tim Scott, Richard Smith, William Tucker, William Turnbull among other leading names from the period. 

British art of the 1960s is noted for its bold, artificial colour, alluring surfaces and unpredictable shapes, yet these capricious forms are underpinned by a clearly apparent order, founded on repetition, sequence and symmetry. Kaleidoscope ranges across painting and sculpture to find a common language across diverse movements and tendencies: from the mind-bending surfaces of Op Art, to the repeated imagery of Pop, the mathematical order of Constructivism, and the sequential placement of brightly-coloured abstract units in New Generation sculpture. 

British sculpture underwent radical transformation during these years. Influenced by Antony Caro’s floor-based and brightly-coloured, abstract steel sculptures, the New Generation sculptors incorporated a range of new materials – including acrylic sheet, fibreglass and brightly-coloured paint – into their playful, abstract works. Highlights include Tim Scott’s important work, Quinquereme (1966). Taking its name from a Roman galley-ship and comprising repeated, simple units of colour, this work will assume a majestic position in front of Longside Gallery’s wall of windows. Also on display is 4th Sculpture (1965) by Michael Bolus, a rarely-seen orb of colour made from repeated steel shapes, on loan from Museums Sheffield. 

Painters were also breaking with tradition, employing processes of sequence and repetition to forge new possibilities. The beguiling, sequential surfaces of Op Art are here represented by important works including Bridget Riley’s seminal early painting, Movement in Squares (1961) which was purchased for the Arts Council Collection from the artist’s first exhibition. Also included is Trio (1963) a painting by Richard Smith that sits in the ambiguous space between abstraction and representation; his paintings take on a cinematic scale and often allude to the bold, repeated designs of billboards and advertisements. Like Smith, Antony Donaldson chose to move freely between abstract and figurative modes. His work, Hollywood Pix (1967, Private Collection, Hong Kong), combine an interest in American post-painterly abstraction with references to 1930s American cinema architecture. 

Jill Constantine, Director of Arts Council Collection said: 

“Kaleidoscope highlights the strengths of the Arts Council Collection’s holdings of 1960s painting and sculpture, revealing the important contribution made by British artists at this time. Making a radical break with the past, these artists opened up new approaches to painting and sculpture and their work received international recognition. Shown together in this exhibition, these works create a visual feast of colour and form and look as fresh and dynamic as they did some 50 years ago.” 

After the presentation at Longside Gallery, the exhibition will tour to Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham Lakeside Arts; Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre; and to Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool. 

Kaleidoscope: Colour and Sequence in 1960s British Art is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue published by Hayward Publishing. With an introduction by Natalie Rudd and an in-depth new essay by curator Sam Cornish, this compact publication presents the work of more than 20 artists, including Robyn Denny, Tess Jaray, Phillip King, Jeremy Moon, Eduardo Paolozzi, Bridget Riley, Tim Scott, Richard Smith, William Tucker and William Turnbull, among others. Exhibition price £9.99 (RRP £11.99), shop.southbancentre.co.uk 
 

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Kaleidoscope Press Release

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Tim Scott, Quinquereme, 1966. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

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Kaleidoscope, Colour and Sequence in 1960s British Art, installation views at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park © artists and estates. Photo ©Jonty Wilde

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William Tucker, Thebes, 1966. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

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Kaleidoscope, Colour and Sequence in 1960s British Art, installation views at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park © artists and estates. Photo ©Jonty Wilde

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Bridget Riley, Movement in Squares, 1961. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © 2016 Bridget Riley. All rights reserved. Courtesy Karsten Schubert, London

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Kaleidoscope, Colour and Sequence in 1960s British Art, installation views at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park © artists and estates. Photo ©Jonty Wilde

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Eduardo Paolozzi, Dollus II, 1968, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Trustees of the Paolozzi Foundation, Licensed by DACS 2017

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Kaleidoscope, Colour and Sequence in 1960s British Art, installation views at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park © artists and estates. Photo ©Jonty Wilde

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Size: 2.84Mb

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