“Bull’s Eye”, Desmond Rayner (1979) – from “New Possibilities: Abstract Painting From the Seventies”; Piper Gallery, London from Nov. 16th. via The Guardian/Observer

A new exhibition at the Piper Gallery caught my eye this past week. New Possibilities: Abstract Painting From the Seventies, starts on Nov. 16th, and features such artists as Tess Jaray, Albert Irvin and Frank Bowling.

The exhibition also features the work of Desmond Rayner – father of the Guardian/Observer’s occasionally harsh food critic, Jay Rayner, and there was a rather touching article by Jay in last week’s Observer with the food critic talking about his father’s work. Jay’s childhood memories of his father’s work are both charming and fascinating – charming because they reveal something of the hidden domestic experience of the day-to-day practice of professional art; fascinating because they articulate the timescale and mechanics of a man who worked at his art for forty years. Des Rayner – like those in the exhibition with him – managed to combine technical precision with a deep artistic intuition and sheer enjoyment of his chosen medium. For him – and his fellow abstract painters – proportion, geometry, colour and immediacy were equally important, and balancing them was the key to a successful image.

For Megan Piper, who’s curating the exhibition, these “Bus Pass Artists” – all of whom have been working for several decades – represent an opportunity to exhibit the results of “sustained practice”, something which stands in stark contrast to “a contemporary art world forever chasing the new and the young.” It’s exhibitions like this that remind us all that our respective bodies of work are maps tracing the journey of a lifetime’s practice.

There’s a great gallery of work from the exhibition on the Guardian site.


New Possibilities: Abstract Painting From the Seventies
Piper Gallery, 18 Newman St., London W1
16 Nov. – 21 Dec.