Adrian Heath

A Retrospective
His centenary offers a perfect opportunity for reassessment and for a new push to celebrate and broadcast his considerable achievement

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The Redfern Gallery celebrates the centenary of Adrian Heath (1920-1992). Originally set for the autumn of 2020 but delayed due to the pandemic, Adrian Heath: A Retrospective features works from a career that spanned six decades. 
Since his first Redfern exhibition in 1953 Heath enjoyed a long and successful relationship with the gallery. He was a pioneer of abstraction in Britain and a member of the circle of artists that included Victor Pasmore, Kenneth & Mary Martin and Anthony Hill. A renowned intellectual, art theorist and teacher, Heath played a vital and pivotal role in the history of post-war British modernism and was an important link between the abstract painters of St Ives and their Constructivist London counterparts. Praised by Bryan Robertson as an English artist of key importance Heath was included in several landmark exhibitions of British abstract art. These included Nine Abstract Artists, in 1955. Inspired by Lawrence Alloway's influential book of the same name, published in 1954 and containing essays by each of the nine artists, such as Terry Frost, Roger Hilton and William Scott, the exhibition received a glowing review from John Berger, who wrote: "the artists have an integrity that is impressive ... these are their best works to date". The painting Curved Forms - Yellow and Black, rated by Heath as among his best, and which appeared in this exhibition as well as in Alloway's book, is also part of the current retrospective.


In 1957, Heath took part in Metavisual Tachiste Abstract: Painting in England Today, a seminal exhibition held at The Redfern that revealed the influence of French tachism and American Abstract Expressionism on thirty British painters, including Sandra Blow, Alan Davie and Peter Lanyon.


During the following decade, Heath moved away from the tight, geometric paintings of the 1950s, and embraced a more painterly and spontaneous approach to abstraction, but one which still achieved critical and commercial acclaim. Paintings from his 1966 Redfern show, for example, entered various public collections, such as the Arts Council and Leicester Museum & Art Gallery, while the British Council purchased Farleigh from his Redfern show of 1978. In 1985, a series of small studies on card, made in preparation for the oil paintings of the mid-1950s, were purchased from The Redfern by the British Museum, along with several linocuts.


Paintings, works on paper and prints all feature in Adrian Heath: A Retrospective, and as Andrew Lambirth writes in the catalogue essay, "no commercial gallery is better suited than The Redfern to commemorate such a special anniversary as Heath's centenary". 


Accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by Andrew Lambirth


Private view: 6-8pm 15th November 2022


Please contact the gallery to RSVP 


A full list of exhibition works to be announced soon

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