This autumn the Royal Academy of Arts
presents an exhibition of early works on paper by Senior Academician, Michael Kidner RA. A pioneer of Optical Art, Kidner has devoted much of his career to developing work of a constructive nature. His interests in mathematics, science and the theories of chaos have determined an art that is both formal and playful. The curiosity of his mind is matched by his willingness to accept the unexpected outcome.
This important, mostly unseen body of work is made up of a series of carefully considered studies produced in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s. Some of the works relate to paintings now in important collections, including the Tate and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, while others are developments of ideas. The exhibition comprises four areas of Kidners painting practice; After Image, Stripe, Moiré and Wave.
Elected as a Royal Academician in 2004, Michael Kidner has exhibited extensively on a national and international level. Recent exhibitions include Equilibrium Disturbed, Foksal Gallery, Poland; Paintings from the Noughties, Letterkenny Arts Center, Ireland and A Rational Aesthetic: The Systems Group and Associated Artists, Southampton City Art Gallery. Kidner is currently exhibiting at the Modern Art Centre, Lisbon in a group show featuring works from the Gulbenkian Foundation Collection, in collaboration with Tate St. Ives and in the group exhibition Sixties Summer , Works from the Arts Council Collection, Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum.
Michael Kidner was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, in 1917. He read history and anthropology at Cambridge University (1936-39) and landscape architecture at Ohio State University, USA (1940-41). In 1953, after serving for five years in the Canadian army, he took up painting full-time, living in Paris until 1955.
As an artist, Kidner is self-taught. His first solo exhibition was at St. Hilda's College, Oxford, in 1959. Other significant one-man shows were held at the Serpentine Gallery, London, in 1984 (a selection from which travelled to the Museum of Contemporary Art at Lodz and other centers in Poland in 1985) and recently in galleries in Austria, Germany and Britain. He also works to commission. His sculptures can be seen at the Museo Internazionale di Scultura all'aperto Citta' di Portofino, Italy (1988); Vlissingen, Holland (1989); and the Alderman Smith Library, Nuneaton (1996). In 1995 he made a net construction for each of the five windows of the new Dresdner Bank at Merzeburg, Germany. His art is represented in some of the best public collections in Britain, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia and the United States.
Michael Kidner is a painter, sculptor and printmaker, one of Britain's leading Systems artists. (The Systems artist sets certain conditions for a piece that limit intervention - the ultimate form being determined by recurring themes). However, the use of color and line in his paintings frequently creates visual tension or perspectives that operate independently on the eye. Computer-derived imaging has in recent years complemented his early works in oil and gouache and silk-screen printing. Kidner says: 'By integrating a colour-coded pattern into an existing pattern I aim to collapse our familiar sense of order.' His success within his declared aim is evident in both his two-dimensional and three-dimensional art.