Life in Colour: Sandra Blow
As part of our upcoming Life in Colour exhibition this spring we look into the lives of the artists at the heart of the show.
Next up, the renowned Sandra Blow (1925 - 2006)
Born in London in 1925, Sandra Blow studied at St Martin’s School of Art where she was tutored by Ruskin Spear, Carel Wright and Robert Buhler before moving onto the Royal Academy Schools after WWII.
She was one of the pioneering abstract painters of the 1950s who introduced a new expressive informality into British art using cheap and discarded materials including sawdust, sackcloth and plaster in her works. A tactile and visual emphasis on surface resulted in powerful and complex images and as her career progressed, her works developed a Matisse-inspired, decorative manner seamlessly blending the constructed and freely painted.
In 1947, Blow travelled to Italy to study art, enrolling in Accademia di Belle Arti, where she met Alberto Burri, her partner for a few years. Blow and Burri travelled Italy before working together in Paris, and Burri was a significant influence on Blow, teaching her to work in different materials and inspiring a passion for art. Burri introduced her to paintings and assemblages created with sackcloth and ashes, the only mediums available to him as a prisoner of war.
Blow remained loyal to the language of abstraction throughout her career and went on to exhibit in the most important British contemporary exhibitions of the 1950s and 1960s, and showed throughout America and Europe alongside the biggest artist names of the day.
Her work became more graphic, colourful and exuberant as her career developed, so did her ambition of scale. Monumental canvases capture delicate responses to space and light, or vivid, electric explosions of colour - Roger Hilton, who Blow met when she moved to St Ives in the 1950’s called her ‘a heroic painter’.
Life in Colour featuring limited edition prints by Sandra Blow will be on show from 12th May 2018