Barefoot Opera Art Auction

Lot 32: Untitled II

Artist: Bryan Kneale
Media: acrylics on canvas, framed
Dimensions: 75 x 54 cm
Estimate: £5,000 - £6,000
Date: 2018

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Bryan Kneale’s Wikipedia page

Works by Bryan Kneale on Pangolin London

Bryan Kneale: Five Decades at Pangolin London catalogue

Bryan Kneale’s Biography:

Born in the Isle of Man in 1930, Bryan Kneale attended the Douglas School of Art in 1947 before leaving to attend the Royal Academy Schools in 1948, where he was awarded the prestigious Rome Prize. Travelling Italy extensively he was greatly affected and influenced by his visits to Paestum and Pompeii, as well as by the contemporary work of the futurists and metaphysical painters. Upon his return to London Kneale began using a palette knife as a tool for painting, constructing the work with overlapping strokes and scrapes using oils which he adapted to have a dry matt finish. Kneale’s distinctive paintings gained a strong following and he painted the portraits of Richard Attenborough and Normal Parkinson to name but a few. However, working in this manner soon ceased to interest Kneale and in 1959, his thoughts still on sculpture, he learnt to forge and weld. His solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1966 followed.

Kneale’s method of working in metal, welding, cutting and forging on site, is instant and is a direct way of making sculpture – one could liken it to painting in space. For Kneale the sculpture making process is one of self-discovery. His innate fear of repetition means that once a form becomes familiar it is immediately discarded. What has been previously made will inform future new sculpture and will change the development of his work. He says:

“(the point of making sculpture) is to try and discover in some way the meaning of your own life, to clarify in your own mind those capabilities, or abilities, to see things achieve an existence independent of yourself”.

Pendulum derives from a piece of the same name made in 1963 when Kneale was pushing the boundaries of what he could do with welding often using elements of found metal, gas canisters and exploded bomb shells. Despite his use of heavy, seemingly intractable lumps of metal Kneale’s work is elegant and poised. Here an intricate pendulum hangs elegantly from a thin triangular frame, precise and still yet tense with a quiet danger.

Not content with making and exhibiting, Kneale is also curator and teacher. The first abstract sculptor to be elected to the R.A, he very quickly went on to mount ‘British Sculptors’, the seminal exhibition of Modern British Sculpture at the Royal Academy in 1972. An exhibition of the work of twenty-four sculptors working in the UK at the time, it has since been described as the most groundbreaking exhibition of contemporary sculpture held in Britain. He also curated the Jubilee exhibition of British Sculpture in Battersea Park in 1977. Bryan Kneale’s career as a teacher began at the Royal College of Art in 1952, becoming Head of Sculpture in 1985 and Professor of Drawing in 1990.

Kneale has exhibited widely both within the UK and internationally and his work can be found in many prestigious public collections including the Tate Collection; The British Museum; The Natural History Museum, London; The Arts Council of Great Britain; The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Victoria, S. Australia; Museum of Modern Art, Sao Paolo, Brazil and the National Gallery of New Zealand. Pangolin London is pleased to represent Bryan Kneale.

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