The work of unique artists ‘deserves public attention’

Portrait of artist Basil Beattie in his studio. Photograph by Hugh Gilbert
Portrait of artist Basil Beattie in his studio. Photograph by Hugh Gilbert

Two new exhibitions are opening at Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, this October, the first featuring new work by abstract artist Basil Beattie RA (b. 1935), and the second a Tate touring display surveying the work of British constructivist Marlow Moss (1889-1958).

The exhibitions show the works of two artists from different generations, who are united in an exploration of what the abstract can achieve.

Basil Beattie: Promises Promises, which runs until January 8, 2014, focuses on a new series of work, selected by the celebrated writer, curator and critic Mel Gooding.

Through these works Beattie continues to develop the expressive possibilities which had first interested him when he encountered American painting in the 1950s, particularly the work of Mark Rothko, Philip Guston and Willem de Kooning.

Beattie is celebrated for his powerful, large scale abstract works in which he employs pictograms and spatial components, such as tunnels, steps and ladders, to explore the limits and possibilities of abstract pictorial space.

Running in parallel is an exhibition of works by Marlow Moss, now regarded as one of Britain’s most important constructivist artists.

The exhibition, previously on display at Tate St Ives, runs until April 23, 2014, before moving on to Leeds City Art Gallery and Tate Britain.

The rarely seen paintings, reliefs and sculptures, on loan from collections in the UK and Europe, are primarily concerned with an interrogation of movement, space and light.

While living in Paris in the mid-1920s, Moss changed her name from Marjorie Jewel Moss to Marlow Moss and permanently adopted a masculine appearance.

Her work in paint generally consisted of highly stylised and simplified grid forms reminiscent of the neoplastic aesthetic of Piet Mondrian, with whom she is often associated and who she was close to for much of her life.

Later in the 1930s she moved to the creation of all-white reliefs of wood, rope and string.

Liz Gilmore, director of the Jerwood Gallery, said: “Jerwood has enjoyed a long association with Beattie since he was a runner up in the Jerwood Painting Prize in 1998, with a painting entitled Promises Promises, and hence, we are particularly delighted to exhibit this exciting new body of work. We are honoured to be the second venue to host Tate’s touring exhibition of rarely seen works by the radical modernist, Marlow Moss. I hope these exhibitions will encourage the wider appreciation of two unique artists whose work deserves public attention.”