New Ashgate Gallery champions the best of contemporary art and craft providing an unparalleled resource in Farnham, Surrey and beyond
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Private view: 26 April 2019, 6-8pm - all welcome
The exhibition brings nine award-winning artists to Farnham: all of them are internationally accomplished and recognised for excellence and talent through a prestigious art prize.
The exhibition presents painting by Peter Archer (Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize), Gareth Edwards (David Simon Contemporary Art Prize / the Platform Prize / National Maritime Art Prize), Martin Greenland (John Moores Painting Prize), Charlotte Harris (BP Portrait Award) and Michael Porter (Derek Balmer Painting Prize / European Prize for Painting, Belgium).
Print by John Hoyland (John Moores), Sir Terry Frost (John Moores), Sandra Blow (Guggenheim International Award) and Bruce McLean (John Moores).
It reflects on the Gallery's beginnings 60 years ago: New Ashgate was the first provincial gallery with nationally and internationally known artists such as Anthony Caro, Elizabeth Frink, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso and Graham Sutherland.
This will be an exceptional opportunity to appreciate and collect work by these highly accomplished stars of the art world outside London and close to home.
45 x 44 cms
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Sandra Blow RA (1925-2006) was one of the leading lights of the abstract art movement of the 1950s. Her works are often on a large scale and consist of abstract collages made up from cheap discarded materials such as sawdust, cut-out strips of old canvas, plaster and torn paper. The use of such materials is designed to create an expressive informality and promote a natural, organic feeling. Her works have a tactile as well as visual emphasis on surface, and her use of simple large geometric shapes lends a feeling of expansiveness and dynamism.
Blow was born in London in 1925, the daughter of a Kent fruit farmer whose orchards supplied retailers in Covent Garden. She left school at 15 and entered St Martin's School of Art. Shortly after the Second World War, Blow studied at the Royal Academy Schools, but in 1947 ventured further afield and lived in Italy for a year, where she met Alberto Burri, who was a significant influence on her work for the rest of her career.
Blow was at the forefront of the abstract art movement in Britain during the 1950s. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, she regularly exhibited with Gimpel Fils, the leading London gallery whose association with St Ives artists like Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Peter Lanyon anticipated her move in 1957 to live for a year in a cottage at Zennor near St Ives. Blow was widely exhibited abroad throughout this time, establishing the international profile that her cosmopolitan outlook warranted. Participation in peripatetic displays of contemporary British art saw her work promulgated in Italy, Holland, Germany, the United States and later Australasia.
In 1957 she featured in the first John Moores biannual exhibition in Liverpool and was included in the Young Artists Section at the Venice Biennale the following year. She won the International Guggenheim Award in 1960 and won second prize at the third John Moores exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in 1961.
In 1960, Blow acquired a large studio in Kensington, where she worked for the next 24 years. In 1961 she started a 14-year stint teaching at the Royal College of Art. Although painters like Jennifer Durrant, Gillian Ayres and Joan Mitchell shared with Blow ambitious scale and expressive dynamism, she stands alone as the earliest and most original woman painter in Britain able to challenge the bar-room "macho" cult associated with free, informal abstract painting.
In moving to St Ives during the mid 1990s, Blow came full circle, reinvigorating a Cornish art scene bereft of the glories she had sampled 35 years before. She exhibited locally but also fulfilled her obligations as a Royal Academician, participating in every Summer Exhibition at Burlington House, where she enjoyed a retrospective in 1994 at the newly built Sackler Galleries.