Categories
4: Audience: Shifting Edges 5.2.2 Tales from the Edge 5.3: Edgescapes 5: Presentation: Zemni 2021 In Process

Maggi Hambling

Maggi Hambling website

Edge paintings

The Wave Fitzwilliam Museum exhibition 2010

Walls of Water: The Monotypes, Marlborough Gallery 2014-2015

Google images

Hambling, M. 2009. You Are the Sea, Great Britain, Lux Books.
Hambling, M. 2010. The Aldeburgh Scallop, Suffolk, Full Circle Editions.
Hambling, M. 2010. The Sea, Salford Quays, Lowry Press.

Maggi Hambling is a British painter, sculptor and printmaker. Born in Suffolk, she has a particular link with Aldeburgh through her Waves paintings and prints – evocative of the ways the North Sea has ravaged the coast. Her recent work has had a much more political stance, for example in War and Requiem, and also in Edge the exhibition that was showing in Aldeburgh Peter Peers Gallery at the beginning of my visit for Project 4.2 ‘Aldeburgh Diary’.

Wave paintings

The North Sea, often like a raging beast, is eating away and changing the shoreline forever. As I get older, I identify with the shifting shingle, as time, like the sea, enforces an inevitable erosion. But this raging beast is as demanding as a lover and I am still seduced and challenged. (2010 The Sea p18)

“As the waves of the North Sea voraciously consume our coast, these new paintings respond to the energy of their action as they break. This sea, the widest of mouths, roaring or laughing, is always seductive. Life and death mysteriously co-exist in the timeless rhythm of the waves.” Maggi Hambling, 2010 Wave website Fitzwilliam Museum

I am the shifting shingle, you approach with stealth, then the dark rooms of your curves, I am tossed, lost, displaced, with greedy lovers’ tongues and lips, you suck in and in again. we rise together, we rise together, then float safe on liquid breasts until the dance begins again and you thrust deep and my resistance is low, dissolve, dissolve. no defence against your relentless advance. I am but a ghost of the shore, disappeared in you. (2009 You Are the Sea text)

Edge

This exhibition is more political than much of her earlier work on the sea, dealing with the refugee crisis, battle for Aleppo and global warming.

It is called Edge because I feel we are ‘on the edge’. There is a fragility to our existence – both ours and the planet and these works attempt to address that and strike up a dialogue with whoever is looking at them.

The Edge paintings are large, with characteristic dramatic swirls of texture, that then on further looking show fine detail – people, remains of buildings and boats caught up in the chaos. The global warming paintings have a lot of gold, echoing renaissance paintings – but gold is now a reference to greed.

See: article by Andrew Clarke: Maggi Hambling creates new show about life on the edge

The Scallop

Hambling also designed the controversial Scallop sculpture on the beach at Aldeburgh that references the life and work of Benjamin Britten whose opera Peter Grimes was based on Aldeburgh. Part of the controversy comes from continuing homophobia of protesters.

The words read:

I hear those voices that will not be drowned

This first video below begins with very atmospheric photography of the Scallop and sea and sky in Aldeburgh to Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes opera – then unfortunately it descends into farce.

This second video has film of Maggi Hambling sketching to the Storm section from Peter Grimes opera.

Categories
3: Text and Image: Woman Lost 4.2 Colours of Shingle 4.2 Outsider on the Edge 4: Audience: Shifting Edges 5: Presentation: Zemni 2021 Inspiration

Jo Spence

Jo Spence (1934–92) had a highly politicised approach to photography, creating photographs that run counter to the idealised imagery offered by advertising. Spence often worked collaboratively and sought alternative distribution models, laminating work for durability and renting out her photography to conferences, libraries, universities and public spaces to broaden its audience. She also documented her own struggles with cancer.

Website: http://www.jospence.org
 


‘Putting Myself in the Picture’ (Camden Press 1986) brought together her raw and confessional works to inspire a younger generation of photographers.
Remodelling Photo History (1982)  a series of self-portraits in collaboration with Terry Dennett. The work consists of a series of diptychs where two photographs of Spence are juxtaposed. In some pairs, the first is a parody of a more traditional pictorial image; the second shot is less conventionally framed and the irony is articulated with less subtlety.

‘Industrialisation’ places the female figure between the viewer and the view beyond, challenging the male gaze and the objectification of women.


‘Victimisation’ “Here we see that the estate will not admit trespass, and that it stands in for the heroic (male) defender of the ground, repelling weak opposition at its border. Jo Spence failed to cross the barrier, allowing the absent landowner (through his gate and sign) to become hero, male, the creator of difference… her mockery diminishes the victory won by the landowner.” (John Taylor 1994, p.282 quoted Alexander p133)

Categories
3: Text and Image: Woman Lost 5: Presentation: Zemni 2021 In Process

Ink drawing


Alphonso Dunn








Markers

David Usher

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxauEZsbzJM


Categories
2.2 Shutterscapes 2: Landscapes of Place In Process Inspiration

Dutch landscapes

View over a Flat Landscape: Jan Josefsz van Goyen (oil on panel 1642) a moody painting of a completely flat landscape with cows, where the top two thirds of the frame is occupied by the grey clouds, but with subtle sunlight breaking through on the horizon line in the far distance.
Landscape with a River Bank : Jan Josefsz van Goyen (oil on panel 1635-1640) a very muted colour painting of the far back of the river with a church – very much like the view over the Cam to Fen Ditton
Flat Landscape with a Broad River: Philips Koninck (oil on canvas c 1648) again very muted colours, dominated by the sky. The sky is now looming overhead with nearer clouds larger and again subtle lighting on the horizon and the river.
Polder Landscape: Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël (watercolour 1828-1903) simple monochrome image of two barges. Here the focus is on the water and some birds in the foreground. The horizon to a featureless sky is in the middle of the frame.
Landscape: Adriaen van Ostade (oil on panel 1639) a summer image with a very dramatic stormy sky with bright patches of light on the ground from breaks in the cloud. The horizon line is again low just above the bottom third of the frame.
Snowy Landscape with fences in the foreground: Charles Donker etching 1988 a misty simple monochrome print with large featureless sky, a row of skeletal trees of different types silhouetted against it and fences lines through the snow.

Van Ruysdale



Van Goyen

Categories
2.2 Shutterscapes 2: Landscapes of Place In Process

Landscape Art (draft notes)

Landscape photography and printmaking draws on a long tradition of landscape art that can inform different styles and approaches for my own work. I want to work more on the underlying theory of landscape composition and bridging elements, perspective etc. Abstraction. To make my landscape photography and printmaking more conscious of the influences on my work and thereby able to subvert and question to create something new.

!!Post needs a lot of sorting out and re-reading of books most relevant to my actual photographic and printmaking work for Assignment 2 ‘Landscaping England’. See discussion on my Landscape Photography blog: http://photography.zemniimages.info/portfolio/1-3-establishing-conventions/ Notes to be updated from visits to exhibitions at:
VandA: Constable
Tate Britain: Late Turner and Turner galleries
National Gallery : Pedar Balke
National gallery and elsewhere Maggie Hambling
Tate Britain: John Martin

Definition and overview

Landscape painting, also known as landscape art, is the depiction of landscapes, natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, and especially art where the main subject is a wide view, with its elements arranged into a coherent composition. In other works landscape backgrounds for figures can still form an important part of the work. Sky is almost always included in the view, and weather is often an element of the composition. Detailed landscapes as a distinct subject are not found in all artistic traditions, and develop when there is already a sophisticated tradition of representing other subjects.

The word “landscape” entered the modern English language as landskip (variously spelt), an anglicization of the Dutch landschap, around the start of the 17th century, purely as a term for works of art, with its first use as a word for a painting in 1598. Within a few decades it was used to describe vistas in poetry, and eventually as a term for real views. However the cognate term landscaef or landskipe for a cleared patch of land had existed in Old English, though it is not recorded from Middle English. Landscape views in art may be entirely imaginary, or copied from reality with varying degrees of accuracy. If the primary purpose of a picture is to depict an actual, specific place, especially including buildings prominently, it is called a topographical view. Such views, extremely common as prints in the West, are often seen as inferior to fine art landscapes, although the distinction is not always meaningful; similar prejudices existed in Chinese art, where literati painting usually depicted imaginary views, while professional court artists painted real views, often including palaces and cities.

The earliest forms of human art depict little that could really be called landscape, although ground-lines and sometimes indications of mountains, trees or other natural features are included. The earliest “pure landscapes” with no human figures are frescos from Minoan Greece of around 1500 BCE. Hunting scenes, especially those set in the enclosed vista of the reed beds of the Nile Delta from Ancient Egypt, can give a strong sense of place, but the emphasis is on individual plant forms and human and animal figures rather than the overall landscape setting.

The two main traditions spring from Western painting and Chinese art, going back well over a thousand years in both cases. The recognition of a spiritual element in landscape art is present form its beginnings in East Asian art, drawing on Daoism and other philosophical traditions, but in the West only becomes explicit with Romanticism.

Chinese and Japanese traditions

!!Possibly I will do a separate post on this as Japanese ink landscapes and monochrome styles have been important influences on my Black and White photography and printmaking.

Zhan Ziqian, Strolling About in Spring, a very early Chinese landscape, c. 600. Landscape as a subject in itself

In East Asia famous practitioners of imaginary landscapes were highly respected, including several Emperors of both China and Japan. They were often also poets whose lines and images illustrated each other. 

The Chinese ink painting tradition of shan shui (“mountain-water”), or “pure” landscape, in which the only sign of human life is usually a sage, or a glimpse of his hut, uses sophisticated landscape backgrounds to figure subjects, and landscape art of this period retains a classic and much-imitated status within the Chinese tradition.
As in Roman traditions these typically show grand panoramas of imaginary landscapes, backed with a range of spectacular mountains. Sometimes they showed only a distant view, sometimes waterfalls, mist or dead ground bridged the gap between a foreground scene with figures and the distant panoramic vista.

Western tradition

It seems from literary evidence that some rough system of perspective, or scaling for distance was first been developed in Ancient Greece in the Hellenistic period, although no large-scale examples survive. Roman landscapes from the 1st century BCE onwards, especially frescos of landscapes decorating rooms, have been preserved at archaeological sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum and elsewhere, and mosaics. These typically show grand panoramas of imaginary landscapes, generally backed with a range of spectacular mountains, often including sea, lakes or rivers to bridge the gap between a foreground scene with figures and a distant panoramic vista.

History painting came to require an extensive landscape background where appropriate and for several centuries landscapes were regularly promoted to the status of history painting by the addition of small figures to make a narrative scene, typically religious or mythological. In Kenneth Clark’s analysis, underlying European ways to convert the complexity of landscape to an idea were four fundamental approaches:

  • the acceptance of descriptive symbols
  • curiosity about the facts of nature
  • creation of fantasy to allay deep-rooted fears of nature
  • belief in a Golden Age of harmony and order, which might be retrieved.

Medieval

Hand G, Bas-de-page of the Baptism of Christ,Turin-Milan Hours, Flanders c. 1425 idealised landscape as background

In early Western medieval art interest in landscape disappears almost entirely, kept alive only in copies of Late Antique works such as the Utrecht Psalter; the last reworking of this source, in an early Gothic version, reduces the previously extensive landscapes to a few trees filling gaps in the composition, with no sense of overall space. A revival in interest in nature initially mainly manifested itself in depictions of small gardens such as the Hortus Conclusus or those in millefleur tapestries. The frescos of figures at work or play in front of a background of dense trees in the Palace of the Popes, Avignon are probably a unique survival of what was a common subject. Several frescos of gardens have survived from Roman houses like the Villa of Livia.

During the 14th century Giotto di Bondone and his followers began to acknowledge nature in their work, increasingly introducing elements of the landscape as the background setting for the action of the figures in their paintings. Early in the 15th century, landscape painting was established as a genre in Europe, as a setting for human activity, often expressed in a religious subject, such as the themes of the Rest on the Flight into Egypt, the Journey of the Magi, or Saint Jerome in the Desert. Luxury illuminated manuscripts were very important in the early development of landscape, especially series of the Labours of the Months such as those in the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, which conventionally showed small genre figures in increasingly large landscape settings. A particular advance is shown in the less well-knownTurin-Milan Hours, now largely destroyed by fire, whose developments were reflected in Early Netherlandish painting for the rest of the century. The artist known as “Hand G”, probably one of the Van Eyck brothers, was especially successful in reproducing effects of light and in a natural-seeming progression from the foreground to the distant view. This was something other artists were to find difficult for a century or more, often solving the problem by showing a landscape background from over the top of a parapet or window-sill, as if from a considerable height.

Italian Renaissance

Landscape backgrounds for various types of painting became increasingly prominent and skilful during the century. The period around the end of the 15th century saw pure landscape drawings and watercolours from Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Fra Bartolomeo and others, but pure landscape subjects in painting and printmaking, still small, were first produced by Albrecht Altdorfer and others of the German Danube School in the early 16th century. 

Landscapes were idealized, mostly reflecting a pastoral ideal drawn from classical poetry which was first fully expressed by Giorgione and the young Titian, and remained associated above all with hilly wooded Italian landscape, which was depicted by artists from Northern Europe who had never visited Italy, just as plain-dwelling literati in China and Japan painted vertiginous mountains. Though often young artists were encouraged to visit Italy to experience Italian light, many Northern European artists could make their living selling Italianate landscapes without ever bothering to make the trip. Indeed, certain styles were so popular that they became formulas that could be copied again and again. Salvator Rosa gave picturesque excitement to his landscapes by showing wilder Southern Italian country, often populated by banditi.

Dutch Landscape

Pieter Brueghel the Elder, The Harvesters, 1565: Peace and agriculture in a pre-Romantic ideal landscape, without sublime terrors

Joachim Patinir in the Netherlands developed the “world landscape” a style of panoramic landscape with small figures and using a high aerial viewpoint, that remained influential for a century, being used and perfected by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. The Italian development of a thorough system of graphical perspective was now known all over Europe, which allowed large and complex views to be painted very effectively.

The publication in Antwerp in 1559 and 1561 of two series of a total of 48 prints (the Small Landscapes) after drawings by an anonymous artist referred to as the Master of the Small Landscapes signalled a shift away from the imaginary, distant landscapes with religious content of the world landscape towards close-up renderings at eye-level of identifiable country estates and villages populated with figures engaged in daily activities. By abandoning the panoramic viewpoint of the world landscape and focusing on the humble, rural and even topographical, the Small Landscapes set the stage for Netherlandish landscape painting in the 17th century. After the publication of the Small Landscapes, landscape artists in the Low Countries either continued with the world landscape or followed the new mode presented by the Small Landscapes.

Rembrandt, The Three Trees, 1643, etching

Dutch Golden Age painting of the 17th century saw the dramatic growth of landscape painting, in which many artists specialized, and the development of extremely subtle realist techniques for depicting light and weather. There are different styles and periods, and sub-genres of marine and animal painting, as well as a distinct style of Italianate landscape. Most Dutch landscapes were relatively small, but landscapes in Flemish Baroque painting, still usually peopled, were often very large, above all in the series of works that Peter Paul Rubens painted for his own houses. Landscape prints were also popular, with those of Rembrandt and the experimental works of Hercules Seghers usually considered the finest.

The Dutch tended to make smaller paintings for smaller houses. Some Dutch landscape specialties named in period inventories include the Batalje, or battle-scene; theManeschijntje, or moonlight scene; the Bosjes, or woodland scene; the Boederijtje, or farm scene,and the Dorpje or village scene.Though not named at the time as a specific genre, the popularity of Roman ruins inspired many Dutch landscape painters of the period to paint the ruins of their own region, such as monasteries and churches ruined after the Beeldenstorm.The popularity of landscapes in the Netherlands was in part a reflection of the virtual disappearance of religious painting in a Calvinist society, and the decline of religious painting in the 18th and 19th centuries all over Europe combined with Romanticism to give landscapes a much greater and more prestigious place in 19th-century art than they had assumed before.

Jan van GoyenDune landscape, c. 1630-1635, an example of the “tonal” style in Dutch Golden Age painting

French 17th and 18th Century

Claude Lorrain, Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia, 1682. The landscape as history painting.

Compositional formulae using elements like the repoussoir were evolved which remain influential in modern photography and painting, notably by Poussin  and Claude Lorrain, both French artists living in 17th century Rome and painting largely classical subject-matter, or Biblical scenes set in the same landscapes.

French landscape artists still most often wanted to keep their classification within the hierarchy of genres as history painting by including small figures to represent a scene from classical mythology or the Bible.

French painters were slower to develop landscape painting, but from about the 1830sJean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and other painters in the Barbizon School established a French landscape tradition that would become the most influential in Europe for a century, with the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists for the first time making landscape painting the main source of general stylistic innovation across all types of painting.

English landscape: 19th Century

In England, landscapes had initially been mostly backgrounds to portraits, typically suggesting the parks or estates of a landowner, though mostly painted in London by an artist who had never visited his sitter’s rolling acres; the English tradition was founded by Anthony van Dyck and other mostly Flemish artists working in England. In the 18th century,watercolour painting, mostly of landscapes, became an English speciality, with both a buoyant market for professional works, and a large number of amateur painters, many following the popular systems found in the books of Alexander Cozens and others. By the beginning of the 19th century the English artists with the highest modern reputations were mostly dedicated landscapists, showing the wide range of Romantic interpretations of the English landscape found in the works of John Constable, J.M.W. Turner and Samuel Palmer. However all these had difficulty establishing themselves in the contemporary art market, which still preferred history paintings and portraits.

The 18th century saw the rise of the topographical print, often intended to be framed and hung on a wall. These depicted more or less accurately a real view in a way that landscape painting rarely did. Initially these were mostly centred on a building, but over the course of the century, with the growth of the Romantic movement pure landscapes became more common. Landscapes in watercolour became a distinct specialism, above all in England.

Constable:

  • frequent use of the Golden ratio to position horizons at one or two thirds levels in paintings
  • uses a lanes, roads and other devices to lead the eye into the picture
  • interest in plays of light and naturalistic colour
  • linear as well as aerial perspective
  • use of triangles and implied triangles on foreground objects like carts, boats etc.
  • later starts to experiment with dynamic and impasto brushstrokes, as precursor to Impressionists

Turner tends to have his horizons lower, or non-existent. And makes lots of use of dramatic swirls for storms, and brilliant sunsets. But still positions vertical elements and objects around the thirds line.

Romantic movement

The Romantic movement intensified the existing interest in landscape art, and remote and wild landscapes, which had been one recurring element in earlier landscape art, now became more prominent. Caspar David Friedrich had a distinctive style, influenced by his Danish training, where a distinct national style, drawing on the Dutch 17th-century example, had developed. To this he added a quasi-mystical Romanticism.

  • The Trees in the Moonlight Use of diagonals and muted colours.
  • Two Men by the Sea at Moonrise Use of strong horizontals with central horizon line. Silhouettes against an oval pool of light. ‘High Dynamic Range’.

See http://www.caspardavidfriedrich.org

Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog/Mists, 1818. A classic image of German Romanticism. Strong contrast in colours and between foreground and background with dramatic silhouette.  Quasi symmetrical balance between right and left side of the image. Diagonals leading to the centre figure.
Monet
Claude Monet, 'Poplars on the Epte' 1891

from Tate.org search

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 'Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Cremorne Lights' 1872
from http://www.tate.org.uk/search/Whistler 
mists, high horizons. Strong horizontals and verticals.

Nocturne: Blue and Silver – Cremorne Lights 1872
Nocturne: Blue and Gold – Old Battersea Bridge c.1872-5

20th Century

Although certainly less dominant in the period after World War I, many significant artists still painted landscapes in the wide variety of styles exemplified by Neil Welliver, Alex Katz, Milton Avery, Peter Doig, Andrew Wyeth, David Hockney and Sidney Nolan.

Contemporary

Categories
2.2 Shutterscapes 2: Landscapes of Place 4: Audience: Shifting Edges 5: Presentation: Zemni 2021 In Process

Fay Godwin

!! to update with my own detailed thoughts on Land, The Edge of the Land and Our Forbidden Land as I critique my own work in Assignment 5.

Publications

Fay Godwin (17 February 1931 – 27 May 2005) was a British photographer known for her black-and-white landscapes of the British countryside and coast. Her approach was very intuitive and felt that images where she had thought too deeply about composition and meaning had less ‘visceral’ power as a response to what she was seeing.

She was self-taught and her obsession with photography started with family photos and producing photo albums for neighbours. produced portraits and documentary work of factory workers. Much of the emotional charge of her images she attributes to difficulties in her personal life: traumatic marriage break-up, cancer and struggles to support her children that led her to throw herself into her work. She produced portraits of writers and also documentary work on factory workers. But it is for her landscape photography that she is best known.

Justin Jones overview of her work in the context of her life and politics . Discusses many of her iconic photographs. And what he sees as some of the gender dimensions of her work – though I feel some of these distinctions may be a bit exaggerated and not sure how far Fay herself would see her work in this way.

Landscape photography and activism

She was a very vocal critic of the ‘picturesque’ and her photographs aim to capture landscapes as they really are with all their historical, social and political complexity.

“I am wary of picturesque pictures. I get satiated with looking at postcards in local newsagents and at the picture books that are on sale, many of which don’t bear any relation to my own experience of the place… The problem for me about these picturesque pictures, which proliferate all over the place, is that they are a very soft warm blanket of sentiment, which covers everybody’s idea about the countryside… It idealises the country in a very unreal way.”
(Fay Godwin 1986 South Bank Show Produced and directed by Hilary Chadwick, London Weekend Television quoted Alexander 2013 p84.)

Comprehensive Melvin Bragg overview of her life and work from old TV programme. Discusses Godwin’s landscape photography in the context of conventions and innovation in landscape art and critique of ‘picturesque’. Includes many interviews with Fay herself on her responses to landscape and approaches to photography.

She combined her landscape photography with environmental activism against the ravages of 1980s Thatcherism and as President of the Ramblers’ Association.

Mavis Nicholson interviews Fay Godwin on the ‘In with Mavis’ program from 1991. She talks a lot about her photography in the context of her environmental activism, particularly destruction of landscapes because of building of the Channel Tunnel.
Selection of prints from the 25th anniversary of Fay Godwin’s seminal exhibition and book Land from the original exhibition. https://www.scienceandmediamuseum.org…
Peter Cattrell worked as Fay Godwin’s printer. Interesting discussion of printing choices he made. And discussion of her last experiments placing objects on photographic plates as experiments. Also some interesting insights into her personality -as well as poignancy of her fragility, illnesses and death.
  • Rebecca the Lurcher. 1973
  • The Oldest Road: An Exploration of the Ridgeway. 1975. With J.R.L. Anderson.
  • Remains of Elmet. Rainbow Press, 1979. With poems by Ted Hughes.
    • Remains of Elmet. Faber and Faber, 1979. ISBN 9780571278763.
    • Elmet. Faber and Faber, 1994. With new additional poems and photographs.
    • Remains of Elmet. Faber and Faber, 2011. ISBN 9780571278763.
  • The Saxon Shore Way. Hutchinson (publisher), 1983. With Alan Sillitoe. ISBN 0091514606.
  • Land. Heinemann, 1985. With John Fowles. ISBN 0434303054.
  • !!Edge of the Land
  • Glassworks & Secret Lives. 1999. ISBN 0953454517.
  • Landmarks. Stockport: Dewi Lewis, 2002. ISBN 1-899235-73-6. With an introduced by Simon Armitage and an essay by Roger Taylor.
Categories
In Process

Per Kirkeby

Danish painter, sculptor and writer. In 1962 he entered the Eksperimenterende Kunst-skole (Experimental Art School) in Copenhagen.His first important one-man exhibition abroad was at the Museum Folkwang, Essen, in 1977. He later exhibited widely at public and commercial galleries throughout Europe and the USA.
A prolific artist, Kirkeby used a range of different media. He was a member of the Fluxus group and was influenced by Pop art in the 1960s. Later he was influenced by Tachism and Abstract Expressionism. The vigorous brushwork and chromatic beauty of his, mostly untitled, paintings and the sensuous modelling of his rough black bronzes have earned him the title ‘lyric expressionist’. The paintings, which tend towards the abstract, bear veiled iconographic reference, largely to the Danish landscape and the female figure.
In contrast to the poetic and dramatic character of his paintings and black bronzes Kirkeby’s brick sculptures display an unusual clarity. They make strong reference to traditional Danish housing and are inspired by Mayan architecture, as in the house-like, symmetrical form (1973) at Ikast, Denmark. In 1981 Kirkeby completed a group of such sculptures for the County Council building in Ålborg. His concern with experiment and conceptual art led him to execute a series of works in chalk on blackboard, and he regularly published poetry, essays and travel books, as well as making television and full-length documentary films. He also produced many artist’s books, such as the ‘picture novel’ Landskaberne (‘Landscapes’; Copenhagen, 1969).
Bibliography
Per Kirkeby: Übermalungen, 1964–84 (exh. cat., Munich, Kstraum, 1984)
Per Kirkeby: Skulpturen und Bilder (exh. cat., Zurich, Gal. Knoedler, 1985)
Per Kirkeby: Retrospektive (exh. cat., Cologne, Mus. Ludwig, 1987)
Per Kirkeby: Pinturas, esculturas, grabados y escritos (exh. cat., Valencia, IVAM Cent. Julio Gonzalez, 1989–90)
‘Per Kirkeby’, Louisiana Revue, xxx/3 (1990) [whole issue]
JENS PETER MUNK

Categories
5: This England In Process

John Piper

John Piper was born in Epsom, Surrey, in 1903, the son of solicitor Charles Piper. He was educated at Epsom College and trained at the Richmond School of Art, followed by the Royal College of Art in London.[1] He turned from abstraction early in his career, concentrating on a more naturalistic but distinctive approach.

As a child, Piper lived in Epsom, at that time in the countryside. He went exploring on his bike, and drew and painted pictures of old churches and monuments on the way. He started making guide books complete with pictures and information at a young age. He studied at Epsom College. He did not like the college but found refuge in the art school. When he left Epsom College, Piper wanted to go to art school, to study to become an artist. However, his father disagreed and wanted him to be a solicitor. They agreed that John Piper would work for his father in London for three years, and then could pursue whatever career he chose. He failed the law exams and his father died soon after, leaving him free to become an artist. His work often focused on the British landscape, especially churches.

Piper was appointed an official war artist in World War II from 1940–1942.[1] The morning after the air raid that destroyed Coventry Cathedral, Piper produced his first painting of bomb damage, Interior of Coventry Cathedral now exhibited at the Herbert Art Gallery. Jeffery Daniels in The Times described the painting of the ruins as “all the more poignant for the exclusion of a human element”. It has been described as “Britain’s Guernica”.[2]

Piper collaborated with many others, including the poets John Betjeman and Geoffrey Grigson (on the Shell Guides[3][4]), and with potter Geoffrey Eastop and artist Ben Nicholson. In later years he produced many limited-edition prints.

Sir Osbert Sitwell invited Piper to Renishaw Hall to paint the house and illustrate an autobiography he was writing and Piper made his first of many visits to the estate in 1942. The family retain 70 of his pictures and there is a display at the hall.[5]

From 1950 Piper worked in stained glass in partnership with Patrick Reyntiens, whom he had met through John Betjeman.[6] They designed the stained-glass windows for the new Coventry Cathedral, and later for the Chapel of Robinson College, Cambridge. Washington National Cathedral prominently features his large window, “The Land Is Bright”. He designed windows for many smaller churches and created tapestries for Chichester Cathedral and Hereford Cathedral. He was a set designer for the theatre, including the Kenton Theatre in Henley and Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff. He designed many of the premiere productions of Benjamin Britten’s operas at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the Royal Opera House, La Fenice and the Aldeburgh Festival, as well as for some of the operas of Alun Hoddinott. In 2012 a major exhibition ‘John Piper and the Church’ examined his relationship with the Church and his contribution to the development of modern art within churches.[7] Piper wrote extensively on modern art in books and articles.[8][9][10][11] With his wife, Myfanwy Piper, he founded the contemporary art journal, Axis.

On 28 June 1992 John Piper died at his home at Fawley Bottom, Buckinghamshire, where he had lived for most of his life. His children are painters Edward Piper (deceased) and Sebastian Piper, and his grandchildren include painter Luke Piper and sculptor Henry Piper.

His auction record, £325,250, was set at Sotheby’s on 15 July 2008 for “Forms on Dark Blue”, a 3′ by 4′ oil painting made in 1936.[12]