(b.1941 Norfolk, England)
Colin Self is a significant figure in British art history. Self studied at Norwich School of Art before attending the Slade School of Art in London during the early 1960s, where he met fellow artists David Hockney and Peter Blake. Born during World War II, his earlier work demonstrated a sensibility to political issues and nuclear paranoia, making him the only British Pop artist to refer explicitly to the Cold War. He also produced works featuring apparently harmless motifs from contemporary life and consumer society, which at times conveys an unexpected atmosphere of violence and sexual threat. His intention was to produce a detailed record of his society, which, in the event of its destruction, would convey its essential qualities to anyone coming across his work in the future. Deeply suspicious of the commercial art world, in 1965 Self returned permanently to Norwich where his subject matter and his repertoire of techniques continued to expand, taking in atmospheric Norfolk landscapes, still-lifes and studies of human behaviour.
The 103 ‘Glances’ exhibited in this show “are more or less an art equivalent to passing a glance at someone in the street or acknowledging or nodding at them without time to have a full conversation. They're not sketches but complete records in themselves, maybe some parallel to the way we think, having some 60,000 thoughts a day. Sometimes the items have been lost by somebody or dropped as litter; A bit like historical archaeology where scraps from the past are clues and have significance but they are of our times. Who knows if they owe a little something to Kurt Schwitters, when I see his collages I am left wondering who dropped the tram tickets on the street for him to pick up like clues for a detective…” Colin Self