A Life in Art of Monika Kinley at the Plymouth Arts Centre

By Laura Burgess | 08 March 2011
Monika Kinley and Professor Peter Greenham at the British Art Show, Royal Academy, 1977, for the Queen’s Jubilee.
Monika Kinley and Professor Peter Greenham at the British Art Show, Royal Academy, 1977, for the Queen’s Jubilee. © The Times
Exhibition: A Life in Art: Monika Kinley, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth, March 12 - May 1 2011

As a curator, Monika Kinley has helped showcase and support the careers of artists including Prunella Clough, Paula Rego and Frank Auerbach. A Life in Art of Monika Kinley displays a selection of works from the artists she admires from both past and present.

During the 1950s Kinley worked at Tate Britain and built contacts with artists, critics and writers. In the 1960s she went on to spend short periods in commercial galleries, giving her the chance to meet particular artists who she connected and developed an interest in, which led to her exhibiting their work in her London flat.

She wanted to get to know her muses and found the intimacy of the flat made for fascinating conversations, as well as leading to continued interest in their work.

"Monika Kinley was always a person who knew about pictures and I welcomed her visits to my studio," recalls Rego. "She was always immensely helpful and accepting - very often of what other people couldn't bear to look at."

Kinley’s partner, Victor Musgrave, initiated the Outsider exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London in 1979 but died tragically young in 1984. Kinley took over his position by collecting the works of Outsider Artists – pieces from those motivated by their own visions.

"Kinley's eye for the original and authentic, especially in the art of self-taught artists, is unerring," says Roger Malbert, the Senior Curator of Hayward Touring.

"She loves the strangely unsettling humour of 'outsiders', who produce art solely for their own amusement, and she is a passionate non-conformist."

A small collection of Outsider works will be shown as part of the show, giving a sensitive insight into the work of Kinley’s colleagues and friends.
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