We’re delighted to announce our exhibition in September of rare and new limited edition prints by Peter Blake, a highly regarded and original artist who is often described as the godfather of British Pop Art. The exhibition at For Arts Sake will contain over 100 screenprints, presenting rarely-seen and familiar pieces, all of which are highly sought after. This exhibition will focus on Blake’s early screenprints to the present day. The show will include major iconic works including I Love You (Diamond Dust), Found Art – 5d per lb, Second Real Print Target, Got a Girl, Girlie Door, Paris Suite – Butterflies I, Homage to Schwitters series alongside recent works including Union Flags large and small, Marcel Duchamp set, 3D Love & I Love You Very Much and Found Art: Claudia Dell.
The private view for the exhibition will be held on Thursday 8th September from 6-9pm and the exhibition will open on Friday 9th September and will run until Sunday 9th October.
At the core of Blake’s work has been his fascination with popular culture, including music, film and sports. A prolific artist, he has worked in a variety of media including painting, drawing, printmaking, illustration, collage and sculpture. During the late 1950s and early 1960s Blake became one of the best-known British Pop artists. He defined a specifically British pop aesthetic and, has on several occasions, seamlessly blended his work with popular culture itself, the best known example being his cover for the Beatles album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and his connection with the music industry has continued with recent designs including work for Oasis, Paul Weller, The Who and Eric Clapton.
Blake’s work appeals to all ages and he continues to be an influence to a new generation of artists such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin and his output of work shows no sign of diminishing with recent works including his Dazzle Ferry in Liverpool commemorating the work of the First World War ship designers, and this summer the design of a Bentley Continental GT Convertible which sold on behalf of the Care2Save international charity at the Goodwood Festival of Speed for £250,000.
Peter Blake was born in Dartford, Kent in 1932 and studied initially at Gravesend Technical College from 1949-51. After a period of national service in the Royal Air Force, Blake attended the Royal Collect of Art, graduating in 1956. Upon graduation he won the Leverhulme Research Award to study popular art, this allowed him to travel and study folk art in countries such as Belgium, France, Italy and Spain; his grand tour. It was around the period of his return to the UK that Blake’s style evolved from the classical naturalistic oil works of his early period to the collaged works containing images of movie starts, musicians and pin-up girls that we most readily associate with him (however, Blake has always retained the naturalistic strain of his work and has continued to work in oil on canvas throughout his career).
During the 1960s and 70s Blake taught at various institutions such as St. Martins School of Art and the Royal College of Art. He also exhibited his work in many individual and group shows during this period, both domestically and internationally. In 1961 Blake won the John Moores Award for his work Self Portrait with Badges, and was featured in Ken Russell’s BBC film on Pop Art ‘Pop Goes The Easel’, which first bought him to wide popular attention. In 1969 Blake left London to live in the West country where he was a founding member of the Brotherhood of Ruralists in 1975. He continued to live near Bristol until 1979 and during this period his work moved away from the glossy commercial pop art for which he is most celebrated and focussed on literary and rural subjects in oil.
Blake moved back to Chiswick in 1979, upon his return to London his work reverted to the earlier popular culture references that had been his dominant inspiration before his rural period. He still resides and works in Chiswick, maintaining a prolific output of work. He was elected a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1981, and a CBE in 1983 and in 2002 he was knighted as a Knight Bachelor for his services to art. There was a major retrospective of his work Now We Are 64 at the National Gallery in 1996, as well as Tate Liverpool in 2007
Now in his 80s, Blake describes his current work as part of his Late Period. “It’s a time when an artist can do almost anything they want. It doesn’t have to relate to the earlier work if you don’t want it to and it is a wonderful feeling of freedom. Usually other people decide when your Late Period is or was, but rather than wait for anyone else, I’ve decided very consciously to have mine now.”
Recent years have been busy as ever: 2016 started with a solo show of original work ‘Portraits and People’ at London’s Waddington Custot Galleries, which garnered national and international press attention. Highlights in 2015 include Blake’s commission from Tate Liverpool and Liverpool Biennial to transform a Mersey ferry into a ‘dazzle ship’ to commemorate the work of the First World War ship designers. The ‘dazzle ferry’ project was at the centre of a BBC ‘What Do Artists Do All Day?’ episode focusing on Blake. Blake has designed fabrics for Stella McCartney, as well as the carpets in the new Supreme Court. In 2012 he re-designed the BRIT award statuettes and produced a portrait of the Queen, commissioned by the Radio Times to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee (which appeared on its cover). He is currently working on a series of jacket designs for Penguin books and he has also been commissioned to paint a canvas of St. Martin for the Knights Chapel in St.Paul’s Cathedral – the first new artist to be included for several hundred years.
In order to produce his prints Blake works with one of the leading studios, at Worton Hall, which are published through CCA Galleries. Blake maintains a close involvement with the process to achieve his artistic objective. Today his style retains the same magic as always, producing work which is still as captivating as his work of 50 years ago.
Peter Blake’s work reflects his fascination with all streams of popular culture, and the beauty to be found in everyday objects and surroundings. Many of his works feature found printed materials such as photographs, comic strips or advertising texts, combined with bold geometric patterns and the use of primary colours. These works perfectly capture the effervescent and optimistic ethos of the sixties, but are also strikingly fresh and contemporary. There is also a strain of sentimentality and nostalgia running throughout his work, with particular focus towards childhood innocence and reminiscence, as can be seen clearly in his recent Alphabet series.
“Our very first exhibition at For Arts Sake featured works by Peter Blake and was a great success” said Brian Davis, owner of For Arts Sake. “We’re delighted that 7 years later, with the extension of our gallery space we are able to bring more of Peter’s work to Ealing. The exhibition will be a collection of over 100 rare and limited edition screenprints and is a great opportunity for fans of Peter Blake’s work to acquire their own piece of Pop Art history”.
Peter Blake Silkscreen prints
An exhibition of rare and new limited edition works on paper
Opens | Friday 9th September – Sunday 9th October 2016
Private View | Thursday 8th September 6 – 9pm.
To attend the private view please RSVP to [email protected]
To see more of Peter Blake’s work visit our gallery page here.