Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception – Featuring Michael Kidner

August 3, 2017

One of the first exhibitions of its kind in the UK, Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception explores how artists have exploited the ways in which the human eye and mind perceive what we see. Containing over ninety works including painting, sculpture, light works, prints and drawings from public and private collections, the exhibition will also feature a gallery-sized mural by German abstract artist Lothar Götz commissioned by Compton Verney.

The journey begins in the 19th century when artists were eagerly experimenting with the new exciting colour theories of the day. Discover how they began to use colour in ways that simulated our real world experiences, replicating the colours of nature and even movement. Learn how this desire to create art that conjured up the world around us evolved throughout the 20th century to the mesmerising Op art of today. Includes works by twenty three artists including Georges Seurat, M.C. Escher, Josef Albers, Victor Vasarely, Bridget Riley, Peter Sedgley, Daniel Buren, Liz West, Michael Kidner and more.

The exhibition at Compton Verney runs from 8 July until 1 October 2017

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BP Walk through British Art – Systems

July 25, 2016

Michael Kidner is featured in a new exhibition at Tate Britain. Systems was a group of artists formed in 1969. One focus for these artists was a belief that following a rational, systematic, procedure (often based in mathematics) to make artwork was often as important, if not more so than the finished object. This theory influenced their work in different mediums from painting to sculpture. Their concentration on a practice based in theory, forms one foundation for contemporary artists’ working-practice today.

This display presents work by the group’s core members from their most significant moment, an Arts Council touring exhibition in 1972–73 that originated at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London. It includes paintings and sculptures as well as drawings, photographs and plans of final works that illustrate Systems’ defining methodical working process. Shown above is Kidner’s Column in Front of its Own Image II which is included in the display.

The exhibition at Tate Britain runs from 18th July 2016 to 17th April 2017.

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Michael Kidner – Works on Paper

July 25, 2016

Flowers Gallery, New York is exhibiting works on paper by Michael Kidner. Michael Kidner – Works on Paper surveys two important periods of development during his long career, including works from the 1960s and the 2000s, and runs from 21st July until 27 August 2016.

Michael Kidner was described by American art historian and critic Irving Sandler as “arguably the first Op Artist in Britain”, following his investigations of the optical effects of light, color and systemic structure during the 1960s. Optics presented Kidner with a challenge in his pursuit of a pure form of imagery, seeking a phenomenological approach to the fluctuating effects of light and color within the space set by the canvas.

The present exhibition explores four key areas of Kidner’s investigations of the image: After Image, Stripe, Moiré and Wave. The After Image series captured the vivid, pure impression of a retinal after-image – exploring the searing effects of oppositional colors in facing circular and angular forms. Kidner’s Stripe drawings from the mid-1960s structured the visual field into rationally organized alternating bands of color, to create a non-prescriptive mode of expression. The introduction of an angled band, dissecting the parallel stripes, produced a moiré pattern with an enlivened sense of color movement. This form of perceptual interference represented a breakthrough for Kidner, as he said: “I was now satisfied that the content of the picture was visibly connected to its structure”. The patterns that emerged in his series of Waves during the latter half of the decade countered the perceived infinity of the stripe, with cycles emerging through the correlation of alternate undulating forms.

Untitled from 1966 (oil pastel on paper) is shown above.

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Michael Kidner – Painting into Textile

July 25, 2016

A one-day exhibition of work by textile students and staff from Manchester School of Art inspired by Michael Kidner was held at Flowers Gallery, Kingsland Road on 5th July 2016. Seven students were selected to develop work for this exhibition from a field of fifty students who responded to the project. Painting Into Textile acts as a showcase for Manchester School of Art, which has a rich contemporary breadth of inventive textile practice which is founded on the history of the Arts and Craft design principles of Walter Crane. Georgina Heaton’s Reformation of Colour is shown above.

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Seven from the Seventies

January 1, 2015

Michael Kidner will be featured in a new show at Flowers Gallery, Kingsland Road during January and February 2015. Seven from the Seventies brings together the work of seven influential abstract painters from the decade, and also includes Colin Cina, Bernard Cohen, Noel Forster, Derek Hirst, Jack Smith and Richard Smith alongside Kidner. Each demonstrates a reductive and disciplined articulation of the sensations of light, form, sound, colour and space. Their mutual rejection of expressionism for an ordered, procedural and systematic approach to painting opened up new possibilities for future formal experimentation within abstraction.

During this period, all seven artists were at the height of their artistic careers, exhibiting in important solo and group presentations internationally and at major British institutions including the Tate Gallery, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Hayward Gallery, the Serpentine Gallery and the Royal Academy, London. With prominent roles in British art schools as well as international professorships, their ideas impacted upon a generation of artists.

Michael Kidner’s translation of the dialogue between order and indeterminacy into a visual language has meant that his work, though founded in a rigorous intellectual approach to colour and form, also resonates emotionally: ‘Unless you read a painting as a feeling,’ he has said, ‘then you don’t get anything at all’.

Column No.2 In Front of Its Own Image (1972-3) systematically records the grid or lattice formed by the movement of a three dimensional object in space, itself a solid representation of the intersection of two wavy lines. Exploring the complex effects achieved by the arrangement of simple elements according to a set of self-imposed rules, he generated “visual metaphors for the opposing manifestation of order and disorder in nature” (Irving Sandler).

The show runs from 16 January to 21 February 2015 at Flowers Gallery, Kingsland Road, London. For more information visit

RA Diaries 2014

January 17, 2014

Michael Kidner is featured in the Royal Academy of Art’s 2014 diaries, along with the work of other notable Royal Academicians including Barbara Rae, Terry Frost, John Hoyland and Albert Irvin. To buy or find out more, visit the RA’s site at

Tate Weather

January 8, 2014

After the recent dramatic downpours, the Tate Weather campaign proves it’s not all bad news when it comes to the forecast for the new year! The digital display campaign runs on the London Underground until March 2014, and features the work of various artists, including Michael Kidner, on screens across the tracks on Thursday and Saturday afternoons. Each work is chosen to represent the likely weather for the weekend – so keep your fingers crossed for a glimpse of Kidner’s Yellow Grey Relief (shown above) which was chosen to represent a nice warm and sunny day!

The New Situation – Art in London in the Sixties

July 23, 2013

Michael Kidner will be featured in an exhibition to be held at Sotheby’s London, from 4th – 11th September 2013.

This exhibition will focus on the decade when our artists, very much alongside our photographers, film stars, musicians and fashion designers, captured the world’s imagination, creating the idea of ‘Swinging London’, the city that was the symbol of all that was new and exciting for a generation finally throwing off the trauma of the Second World War and facing the future with an optimism born from prosperity and political freedom, despite the shadow of nuclear proliferation and the continuation of the Cold War.

Looking back at museum and gallery catalogues from this period, what is remarkable is the sheer number of artists – truly the first wave of ‘Young British Artists’ – who were feted at home and abroad. And yet today, apart from the likes of David Hockney, Anthony Caro and Bridget Riley, few are well known outside of Britain. “The New Situation” will bring these ‘forgotten’ artists back together with their more famous peers, to recapture the excitement of the London scene and to demonstrate just how much depth there was to British art in the Sixties, from Abstraction to Pop through to Minimalism and Conceptual Art.

The exhibition which will feature both works on loan and for sale – is a collaboration between Sotheby’s Modern & Post-War British Art department and the legendary Sixties dealer Kasmin, whose gallery at 118 New Bond Street (just up the road from Sotheby’s) was the first ‘white cube’ space in London and the scene of many ground-breaking shows, including Hockney’s first major solo exhibition at the end of 1963.

Kasmin, along with the erstwhile Robert ‘Groovy Bob’ Fraser, re-defined the context in which contemporary art was seen in Britain and as such we are honoured that he will be co-curating “The New Situation.”

For more information visit

(Text courtesy of Sotheby’s London)

Square to Circle & Back Show at Flowers, Kingsland Road

January 20, 2013

Michael Kidner is included in the new Square to Circle & Back group show at Flowers Gallery, Kingsland Road, London. The show, which takes its name from Kidner’s 1985 silkscreen (shown above), runs from 12th January to 9th February 2013.

Kidner at the IFPDA Print Fair, New York

October 11, 2012

Flowers Gallery will be showing two early Michael Kidner 1960’s wave prints at the IFPDA Print Fair, New York, in early November. Catch the fair from 1st to 4th November 2012 at Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue at 67th St., New York, NY 10065. Flowers are at Booth 307. For more information visit