The Paul Feiler Estate and The Redfern Gallery are pleased to announce a year-long centenary celebration of the life and work of Paul Feiler (1918-2013), which will include a major retrospective at Jerwood Gallery in Hastings.
Paul Feiler was one of the foremost figures of the Modern Art movement emanating from the South West of England, centred in St Ives, fascinated by the architecture of space and the ambiguities of visual experience.
The British artist’s primary inspiration was the meditative landscape and unique light of Cornwall; his lyrical abstract works from the 50s and 60s relate to the natural forms he was surrounded by. From the late 1960s onwards Feiler’s work became more geometric, setting himself a series of technical parameters to work under and subsequently allowing for more creative freedom.
He began creating thinly-glazed surfaces in which squares and circles gave a subtle interplay of projection and recession through gradations of tone. A sense of enclosure within his paintings was intended to evoke the sacred areas of classical temples, often incorporating gold or silver leaf dispersed between the quiet movement of colour and light.
Paul Feiler forged close friendships with many of the leading artists of his generation, including William Scott, Peter Lanyon and Roger Hilton. He was not a typical ‘St Ives’ painter and always followed his own path. As he said in a statement made to Michael Tooby at the time of his 1995 Tate St Ives retrospective: “I’m trying to make complex problems very simple, both in my way of thinking and in my painting. I’m trying to avoid profundities and I’m avoiding attributing importance to something that to me seems to be the essence of human existence. I’ve spent my life being anonymous and I’d like my painting to be important because of the anonymity.”
Unlike many of his contemporaries, Paul Feiler rarely spoke or wrote a great deal about his work. He felt it should speak for itself. The forthcoming 2018 programme offers a unique and in-depth examination of the man behind the art, bringing together the artist’s varied oeuvre through a major solo exhibition at the Jerwood Gallery, a comprehensive monograph written by Michael Raeburn and a solo exhibition alongside Feiler’s wife of over 40 years, Catharine Armitage, at The Redfern Gallery this Autumn.
Paul Feiler: One Hundred Years is on at Jerwood Gallery in Hastings from 21st April to 8th July. This first major retrospective since the artist’s death will bring some previously unseen works to public view. The display will include works that span his long and productive career, from the figurative paintings of the 1940s to the Perspex square reliefs he made in his later years, which will be displayed across the ground floor of the gallery. Works have been borrowed from the Tate, the Arts Council Collection, Royal West of England Academy and the artist’s estate to create a truly inspiring and revealing exhibition of an artist who was constantly innovating, even in his old age.
Liz Gilmore, Director of Jerwood Gallery said: “In this centenary year of Paul Feiler’s birth we are delighted to be showcasing the diversity of his work. The piece of his (Chrome & Lemon, 1956) in the Jerwood Collection is such a favourite of our visitors and this exhibition puts that work in the context of his wider oeuvre. As the last of his peer group working in St Ives, he represents a critical point in art history from a place where such talented creatives had found each other. Feiler took inspiration from landscape and coast, which was so evocative of his time and place and is so suitable for our coastal gallery in Hastings.”
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