Michael Kidner (Great Britain)

Michael James Kidner RA (1917–2009) was a pioneer of Optical Art in the mid1960s. Early in his career, before evolving his own distinctive style, he was taken with abstract expressionism and Mark Rothko in particular. A few of his works from this period were direct homages to Rothko.

Both rational and playful, his art has combined visual responses to the principles of mathematics, science and chaos theories with an abiding interest in the irrational and unpredictable nature of the human condition. 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 colour within the space set by the canvas. He has said: “Unless you read a painting as a feeling, you don’t get anything at all.”

His distinguished career included many honours, influential teaching posts, international group shows and one-man exhibitions in Britain, Eastern Europe, Brazil, Austria and Scandinavia. He was elected a Royal Academician in 2004.

Exhibition period: 29 October 2021 – 19 January 2021