New Possibilities: Abstract Painting from the Seventies at London's Piper Gallery

By Culture24 Reporter | 19 November 2012
A photo of an abstract artwork showing lines, blocks and circles in purple and yellow
Desmond Rayner, Bull's Eye (1979)© Courtesy Desmond Rayner / The Piper Gallery
Exhibition Preview: New Possibilities: Abstract Painting from the Seventies, The Piper Gallery, London, until December 21 2012

Taking the lack of attention afforded to abstraction during the rise of conceptual and performance art as a starting point, this 14-artist show is an eclectic one.

All of the artists were born between 1922 and 1950, and they’re all still working today. But rather than attempt a comprehensive survey, curators Megan Piper and Sandra Higgins have instead focused on uniting rarely seen works, from “painterly” painting and Op art to “maximalism” and works involving aspects of geometry.

Understatement, it seems, is not on the cards here. Desmond Rayner, for one, bemoans “far too many shades of grey” around us, preferring “colour for its own sake” and “juggling with space”.

Frank Bowling is intrigued by the structure of paint, pouring directly onto the canvas in order to observe the flow of the acrylic. And Alice Sielle’s paintings suggest “futuristic architecture or theatre sets”.

There are also three artists who featured prominently in Artscribe magazine during the decade, including William Henderson, who takes inspiration from Dubuffet, Braque, Picasso and their fellow classic modernists.

More pictures:

A photo of a piece of art featuring faint acrylic marks of yellow, lime, brown and blue
Albert Irvin, Glow (1971)© Courtesy Albert Irvin / Gimpel Fils
A photo of two blocks of paint separated by a diagonal line, one dark blue, the other black
Trevor Sutton, That Swing 4. K (1979). Acrylic on canvas© Courtesy Trevor Sutton / The Piper Gallery
A photo of an abstract art work showing various lines assembled together in different directions
Bill Henderson, Funky, Black and Catch Me (1978). Acrylic on canvas© Courtesy Bill Henderson / The Piper Gallery
An image of an abstract artwork showing blotches and swirls of various different colours
Gary Wragg, Carnival (1977-79). Acrylic, pastel, charcoal and rohplex on canvas© Courtesy Gary Wragg / The Piper Gallery
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