COLLAGES - ABSTRACTED FROM NATURE
13 NOVEMBER - 04 DECEMBER
34 WIGMORE STREET
An exhibition of collages by British printmaker Geoffrey Wales. Made in the 1960s, the collages on display come from Wales’ personal collection and have not been exhibited before.
Born in Margate, Kent in 1912, Wales studied at Thanet School of Art, followed by the Royal College of Art from 1933-37, a period where esteemed printmakers such as Edward Bawden, John Nash and Eric Ravilious made up the teaching staff. It was here that Wales discovered a love of wood engraving. Wales taught at the Canterbury School of Art from 1937-40, and after serving in the RAF during World War II, returned to teach in Kent. In 1953 Wales joined the Norwich School of Art, where he taught until retirement in 1977.
Although a dedicated teacher, Wales also pursued his own work and made illustrations for the Golden Cockerel Press, the Folio Society and the Kynoch Press. Small, poetic, abstract prints - the coastal landscape and all it contained was an important source of inspiration for Wales. While he was indifferent about public recognition, Wales did exhibit regularly with the Society of Wood Engravers and the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers. An obituary in The Guardian following Wales’ death in 1990 noted that Wales ‘deserves wide recognition as one of a now acclaimed generation of British artists whose work for small presses…represents a high point in British printmaking’.
While wood engraving was Wales’ predominant medium, he was fascinated by surface texture and the assemblage of found objects and combined these interests to produce a body of work in collage that was rarely exhibited. The collages on display at 34 Wigmore Street are made from Wales’ own hand printed papers, together with the use of coloured papers, occasionally adding found objects such as tickets or newsprint.
The collages are available to purchase at the Margaret Howell shop for the duration of the exhibition in association with Emma Mason Gallery.