Adrian Heath

White Collage

1954

In Tate Britain
Artist
Adrian Heath 1920–1992
Medium
Oil paint, enamel paint, card and paper on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 508 x 406 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1971
Reference
T01338

Display caption

Heath’s London home provided an informal exhibition space for artists sometimes known as constructionists. They used a variety of found materials, and their compositions were often developed through an understanding of the process of growth in plants and animals, as well through theories of proportion. Heath emphasised the physical qualities of the work by building it up with blocks of thickly applied paint. In 1954 Heath wrote ‘The thing of interest is the actual life of the work: its growth from a particular white canvas or board… It is the process, the method of development that is the life of the painting.’

Gallery label, April 2019

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Catalogue entry

Adrian Heath 1920-1992

T01338 White Collage 1954

Inscribed ‘HEATH’ twice on stretcher.
Oil, Ripolin and collage on canvas, 20 x 16 (50.8 x 40.5).

Purchased from the artist (Gytha Trust) 1971.
Exh: Collages and Objects, I.C.A., October–November 1954 (59) as ‘White Collage’ 1954; Abstraction in Modern Art, University of Sheffield, January 1956 (no catalogue traced).

In a letter of 1 February 1972, the artist wrote that ‘At this period most of my pictures had included collage elements (card or thick paper) during the early stages. They were used like counters in a game to mark the state of development of a particular composition and they helped me to think in terms of area. I always liked the juxtaposition of “ready-made” surfaces with painted ones but I usually resorted to paint as being more permanent when colour was involved. “White Composition” was one of my first works to show an interest in curved forms.’

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1970–1972, London 1972.

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