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Transition or the Inner Image Revisited

20th January to 2nd March 2012

Art Space Gallery presents an exhibition looking at the radical interaction of art and education in the 1960s in two British cities: Leicester and Cardiff.  It tells the story of the Leicester Group and their associates – eight young artists around the inspirational teacher Tom Hudson.

If the history of art tends to be told through events in capital cities and other great metropolitan centres this exhibition looks at a vital, but little known moment of creative flux in two provincial cities, neither of them known for art. It is the story of a moment of transition: between places, between movements and approaches to the making of art, and between generations. It shows how a group of young artists, the so-called Leicester Group and their associates, extended the utopian language of constructivism through exuberant and irreverent use of modern materials and popular imagery.

Featuring work by Cristina Bertoni, Laurie Burt, Michael Chilton, Tom Hudson, Victor Newsome, Robin Page, Michael Sandle, Terry Setch and Norman Toynton, ‘Transition’ looks at how the boundaries between art education and art practice were blurred in a vibrant moment of experimentation. The seven artists of the Leicester Group met while teaching at Leicester College of Art. The result was what the Observer called ‘the Leicester Powerhouse’. Several of the members moved to Cardiff in 1964, drawing other artists into their orbit. Much of their work was created in the college buildings, in close proximity to their students and their own innovative pedagogic work – the two processes feeding fruitfully into each other.

This loose association of artists soon broke apart under the pressure of differing ideas and aspirations. Some of them, including Michael Sandle, Victor Newsome and Terry Setch, went on to considerable success in their own right. As a group, they left behind a legacy of work and ideas whose richness and innovation is only now being acknowledged.

A revival of interest in the interaction of art practice and education and in the ‘radical pedagogy’ of the 1960s makes this exhibition particularly timely and relevant.

View the Exhibition Catalogue on-line

Art Space Gallery / Michael Richardson Contemporary Art,
84 St. Peter's Street,
London N1 8JS