VIDEO: John Piper exhibition at Jerwood Gallery in Hastings

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The move to abstraction by one of British art’s most versatile creators is celebrated and explored in an extraordinary new show at Jerwood Gallery, Hastings.

Inspired by the Jerwood Foundation’s acquisition of Beach and Starfish, Seven Sister’s Cliff, Eastbourne in 2014 (left), John Piper – An Eye for the Modern will bring together over 30 works, spanning 30 years (1930s-1960s) and will include paintings, prints, tapestries and theatre set designs. Many of the works on display have been lent by private collectors - also on display will be loans from the Imperial War Museum and Towner Art Gallery.

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Opening on 2 March 2016 and running through to 8 May, John Piper – An Eye for the Modern is an insight into one of the 20th century’s most interesting and prolific artists and offers visitors the opportunity to see seldom exhibited works.

Also running concurrently is a sister exhibition: John Piper and Jack-in-the-Green. This will display 15 of Piper’s Foliate Head works, in a variety of mediums, alongside contemporary photographs of Hastings’ annual Jack-in-the-Green festival, which is held on the first May Bank Holiday each year. Piper’s foliate or ‘leafy’ head works are one of the most distinctive themes that run through his work and are based on the traditional figure of the ‘green man’ found in the architecture of medieval and 19th-century buildings.

Jerwood Gallery Director, Liz Gilmore says: “There is both a local and national interest in the artist who was inspired by the landscape and architecture of Sussex and Kent. His very broad skill set allowed him to be prolific in a number of genres, which the exhibition seeks to reflect. The timing of the exhibition is pertinent, as it comes when two new books appraising Piper’s life and work are set to be published and interest in his career is reawakening.”

Lara Wardle, Curator of In Focus: John Piper – An Eye for the Modern and the Jerwood Collection, believes the show will offer a comprehensive insight into this “committed Modernist” - “It feels very appropriate to present these exhibitions of John Piper’s work at Jerwood Gallery which overlooks the Stade, a shingle beach in Hastings Old Town. Piper is one of the most significant figures of Modern British art, and his life and art spanned the 20th century. ‘An Eye for the Modern’ focuses on his works from the 1930s to the 1960s and demonstrates his commitment to modernism.”

For more information visit www.jerwoodgallery.org and follow @jerwoodgallery on Twitter.

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