Sandra Blow

Space and Matter


In Tate Britain

Sandra Blow 1925–2006
Oil paint on hardboard
Support: 1518 × 1226 mm
frame: 1552 × 1242 × 65 mm
Purchased 1960

Display caption

Blow’s concern with the material of her paintings is demonstrated here by her use of liquid cement to which she added, among other things, chaff and charcoal. Her improvisatory approach links her work to what the French critic Michel Tapié called Art Informel. It is an approach she had encountered through the Italian Alberto Burri. The fact that Blow had spent several years in Cornwall close to the painter Peter Lanyon, as well as the inclusion of organic material, has led such works to be associated with landscape.

Gallery label, February 2010

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Catalogue entry

Inscr. ‘Sandra Blow’ on back of board.
Oil on hardboard, 59 3/4×48 3/4 (152×122·5).
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1960.
Exh: Women's International Art Club, April 1960 (21), as ‘Painting’; The British Guggenheim Award Paintings 1960, R.W.S. Galleries, April–May 1960 (3);
Repr: Exh. cat. Gimpel Fils, April–May 1960 (10 as ‘Composition’, but not exhibited).

Begun in Hertfordshire in the summer of 1959 and finished in London some months later. The artist told the compiler (13 August 1960) that she used a liquid cement on the board and, while this was wet, applied chaff and other substances and then used charcoal and thin glazes of oil paint to produce the desired effect.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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