13.2 – 9.3 2019
Sandra Blow:The Late Works
13.02 – 09.03.2019
Huxley-Parlour is delighted to present an exhibition of late works by British abstract painter Sandra Blow (1925-2006). Blow was a leading figure of the abstract movement in Britain in the second half of the twentieth century.
The exhibition features eleven large-scale works, made in paint and collage, which testify to her skill as a colourist and her instinctive use of material. The works in the exhibition were made between 1972 and 2005, the year before the artist’s death. Blow’s works incorporate tactile materials including sand, ash, plaster, wire and sacking, but it is her late works in which the artist’s expert handling of both colour and form is most evident. It is in the last decades of the artist’s life, too, that she began to produce paintings on a monumental scale – canvases in the exhibition range in scale up to 10 feet in width.
Throughout her career, the central concerns in Blow’s work remained constant: abstract form, light, space, texture and rhythm. The coastal Cornish landscape became one of the greatest sources of inspiration in her later career after she moved from London to St Ives in 1994.
B. United Kingdom1925
Sandra Blow RA pioneered British abstraction in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries through her ongoing investigations of scale, colour and composition, and use of diverse materials. Travelling across Europe in 1947, Blow discovered new and radical ideas about the nature of pictorial space. Using materials such as cement and grit, Blow’s paintings are collage-like in their combination of painted and constructed elements. Presenting an amalgamation of geometric shapes, bold colours and organic materials, her large scale canvases test the boundary between painting and sculpture. Exploring tensions between marks and materials, Blow’s canvases are typically bold in nature, appearing impulsive and daring, and illustrative of her desire to preserve the element of surprise.
Blow was born in London, in 1925. She studied at St Martin’s School of Art where she graduated in 1946. Blow briefly studied and the Royal Academy schools before enrolling at the Academia di Belle Arti in Italy. Blow’s work has been exhibited often at Gimpel Fils Gallery and the annual Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. Her work has been exhibited internationally in a solo show in New York and the 29th Venice Bienalle. In 1957 and 1958, her work was included in several group shows of young British artists in Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, West Germany and the USA. In 1961 she became a tutor in the painting school of the Royal College of Art, where she remained working until 1975. She was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1971 and, in 1978, was elected a full Royal Academician. In the same year her work was included in the group exhibition, Hayward Annual 1978, held at the Hayward Gallery, London. Her work was included alongside Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Patrick Heron at the Tate Gallery exhibition St Ives 1939-1964 in 1985. She had her first full scale retrospective exhibition at the Royal Academy’s recently opened Sackler Galleries in the spring of 1994 and a further retrospective at Tate Britain in 2005.