Gerald Laing (British, also known as American. 1936-2011)
Gerald Laing was a British artist who lived in New York in the 1960’s. He worked closely with artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein and is considered to be a significant part of the British Pop art movement. Laing states that during this time his work “quickly evolved from Pop art paintings through highly finished abstract pieces to abstract sculpture.”
Laing's career took him from the avant-garde world of 1960s pop art, through minimalism, followed by representational works and then back full circle to his pop art roots.
Laing moved to Northern Scotland in 1969 and it was during this transition that he created the four abstract works. Several works are named for locations in Scotland. According to Laing, “The sculptures, made in the Highlands in 1969-1970, are developed from the last phase of my work before I left New York, but are larger, stronger and more roughly made in response to the new environment of the Scottish Highlands. They were, in other words, a response to the landscape and intended to be sited in the landscape.”
During the 1970’s Laing shifted his focus to sculpting the human figure and continued with this subject matter for many years. Some of his most notable public works include Axis Mundi: 5 Wise Virgins – Their Apotheosis and Sherlock Holmes a memorial to Sir Arthur Conan both in Kinkell, Scotland. Laing eventually returned to painting shortly before his death in 2011.
In 1993 the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh staged a retrospective exhibition of his work. In 2012 Sims Reed Gallery staged an exhibition of his prints and multiples, his most comprehensive show of work to date.
Laing's work is included in permanant collections public and private collections around the world, including at the Tate, the V&A, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery in London; and in the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum, Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution.