It’s Day 120 and yes, it took me a while to realize that my artist that I’m doing today is named Bob Law…Blah blah…for you Arrested Development fans. But, no…seriously, this Bob Law is not Scott Baio but a British minimalist artist (the founding father of British minimalism)! Join me in honoring Bob Law today! Oh and it’s freaking hot outside.
Bob Law (January 22, 1934 – April 17, 2004) was a founding father of British Minimalism concerning painting and sculpture. A prolific artist throughout his lifetime, Law struggled with ideas surrounding the legitimacy and significance of abstract art.
Law was born in Middlesex, England in 1934, and moved to St Ives in 1957 where he painted and
made pots. He had been particularly influenced by meetings with Peter Lanyon and Ben Nicholson in the late 1950s. In 1960 Bob Law moved away from Cornwall.
Bob Law’s artistic career started in the late 1950s when he moved to St.Ives. Inspired by the landscape, these seemingly simple outlines around the perimeter of the paper lead to a minimalist exploration of lines, shapes and forms. He was influenced in this direction by his discovery of the abstract paintings of Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko that he saw in 1959 at the Tate Gallery. Law then went on to make a series of black paintings out of different combinations of dark colours that were exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art Oxford in 1974.
He took up sculpture in the 1970s, which extended and expanded his oeuvre.
He returned to live in the west of Cornwall in 1997 and died in April 2004.
2009 saw the publication of Bob Law: A Retrospective by Ridinghouse, a comprehensive monograph that introduces the artist, his history and his work. This publication brings together the largest group of paintings, drawings and sculpture by Bob Law to date. In addition to 300 images, 6 texts present different moments and themes in Law’s work. Anna Lovatt explores the role of drawing throughout; Jo Melvin introduces pivotal exhibitions during the 1960s and 70s; Anthony Bond provides an overview of the work and its relationship to art history and
David Batchelor revisits his 1999 essay which describes visual and conceptual themes throughout Law’s work. Richard Cork’s 1974 interview with Bob Law as well as Giuseppe Panza’s recollection of the artists are both reproduced in this volume.
Biography is from wikipedia.
Read a great article by Richard Saltoun and Karsten Schubert on Bob Law here at artcornwall.org. Here’s an excerpt.
Bob Law takes up a special place in the memories of people who knew him. To write about him is not an easy task; he was in turn affectionate and brutal, sincere and treacherous, matter-of-fact and occasionally romantic. He instilled a particular brand of loyalty and affection in his friends, a feeling that remains. He was arguably the foremost British minimalist artist of the 1970s, yet somehow he has become almost forgotten – written out of the narratives of postwar art, whether British or international. What makes this puzzling is the fact that – the quality of the work aside – once Law had received critical attention in the early 1960s, he seems to have had all the opportunities to sustain his art and career. By the standards of his time, he had a stellar cast of supporters.
He was exhibited at Konrad Fischer and the Lisson Gallery, collected by Alan Power and Giuseppe Panza and, in 1977, was the subject of a
major Whitechapel retrospective curated by Nicholas Serota and Sandy Nairne. It was a tiny yet influential group, but the art world was a tiny place. Financially it did not amount to much more than subsistence but this was an art world before money. With all this he should have achieved stability but he did not.
I hope you enjoy today’s art piece. I’m not calling it a painting since I did it all in pencil! It was an interesting piece to work on. Very meditative and nice to work with a different medium. I feel like I’m constantly gaining new respect for the artists in this genre and time. Well, I’m off to sweat and do some things before my improv show tonight. Enjoy and I’ll see you tomorrow on Day 121! Best, Linda