Tuesday 20th September 2016 I was invited to The Fine Art Society for the opening party of A Retrospective 1936- 2011 by Gerald Laing.
Overview of Gerald Laing
Gerald Laing was one of the first wave of British pop artists in the early 60's creating huge iconic canvases of racing car drivers, film stars, astronauts, and skydivers. He moved from painting to sculpture trying different techniques which were used for car customisation such as lacquering, spray painting and chrome plating on metal. He later moved into clay and bronze casting. His sculptures began as abstracted but then moved into figurative and portraiture. He covered a series of war paintings inspired by the Iraq war portraying American heroes as darker characters. In his later works, he moves back into pop paintings returning to his old style and painting celebrities such as Amy Winehouse and Kate Moss.
The Opening At The Fine Art Society
Simon Gargette (best friend and art collector) and I arrived down to New Bond Street early and the first thing we saw was Gerald Laing's own car which was a fabulous custom Roadster 50's American style, like a hot rod parked outside the gallery which was already pulling in a crowd. The car was his joy and passion and looked like it had been driven straight out of a Wacky Races cartoon. It was very cool.
We walked in, and the ground floor was mainly full of his tremendous huge canvas pieces and beautiful sculpture work. The big one that hits you is his 1963 pop painting of Anna Karina which was hanging on the back wall. The basement had some of his prints featuring Bridget Bardot, Amy Winehouse, and Kate Moss. The upstairs had a sculpted portrait of Andy Warhol, his war paintings and sculptures representing the landscapes of the Scottish highlands in his years after he left New York.
I have seen a few of his pieces on display at my favourite haunts such as The Groucho Club which has an Amy Winehouse print, and The Ivy Club which has a couple of his sculptures. I absolutely love his cubic sculptures. The sweeping lines and gorgeous shapes are sleek, sexy and stunning. There was a little cat which was sitting at the end of the mantle piece which was so beautiful and my friend Simon nearly bought it.
The painting of Amy Winehouse with the cigarette hanging out of her mouth while hoovering is fantastic and really fun. There were a few little paintings hanging up the stairs which Simon pointed out to almost look like a Banksy. He had been using the stencilling technique and I am guessing that this was way before stencilling was cool in Shoreditch.
Simon absolutely loved it and I did too. His work is fun, engaging, beautiful and interesting and the guests, gallery, and crowd reflected that too, a truly fabulous evening.