Laing, Gerald (1936-2011)

b.1936 Gerald Laing is a contemporary artist with a body of work that spans the Pop Movement of the Sixties to his current commitment to representational bronze sculptures. He began his career after attending St. Martin's School of Art as one of the British Pop artists of the early 1960's. At that time his paintings were of reproduced images such as newspaper photographs of starlets, popular heroes, drag racers and astronauts, and although they were painted by hand, they referred directly to printing techniques such as half tone and silkscreen.His best-known image from this period is Brigitte Bardot, pictured to the right. During his first visit to New York in 1963 he met Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jim Rosenquist, who were themselves just emerging as important artists. Laing took their influence back to London where he was “discovered” by New York gallery owner Richard Feigen resulting in Laing’s return to America in 1964. Between 1964 and 1967 he showed regularly at Feigen galleries all over the US and firmly established his reputation as an American artist. Laing's work continued to evolve and his second New York exhibition (1966) consisted of shaped abstract paintings derived particularly from Skydiver imagery but relying on techniques used on custom cars - lacquer, spray paint, and electroplating. In 1969 Laing moved to the North of Scotland and restored the ruined sixteenth century Kinkell Castle, where he has since been based. From 1969-1973 Laing produced abstract three-dimensional sculptures in response to the landscape of the Highlands of Scotland, made usually from Corten steel. In another nod to his environment, Laing also also established a Tapestry Workshop in the Highlands, 1970-74. In 1973, after being inspired by the the Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Corner in London, Laing abandoned abstract art and began modeling the figure in clay for casting into bronze. He lived at Amagansett, Long Island 1975-6, and was Visiting Professor of Painting and Sculpture at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque 1974-5. He was twice an Artist in Residence at the Tamarind Lithography Institute, taught sculpture at Columbia University, New York 1986-7, and served for eight years on the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland Since 1983. Laing has received a considerable number of commissions for both public sculpture and portrait heads, and continues to refine his studio work.

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