DURING THE 1950S, SANDRA BLOW WAS ONE OF THE PIONEERING ABSTRACT PAINTERS WHO INTRODUCED INTO BRITISH ART A NEW EXPRESSIVE INFORMALITY.
Sandra Blow RA was one of the leading lights of the abstract art movement of the 1950s. Her works are often on a large scale and consist of abstract collages made up from cheap discarded materials such as sawdust, cut-out strips of old canvas, plaster and torn paper. The use of such materials is designed to create an expressive informality and promote a natural, organic feeling. Her works have a tactile as well as visual emphasis on surface, and her use of simple large geometric shapes lends a feeling of expansiveness and dynamism.
Born in London in 1925, the daughter of a Kent fruit farmer whose orchards supplied retailers in Covent Garden. She left school at 15 and in 1940 entered St Martin’s School of Art. Shortly after the Second World War, Blow studied at the Royal Academy Schools, but in 1947 ventured further afield and lived in Italy for a year, where she met Alberto Burri, who was a significant influence on her work for the rest of her career.
Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, she regularly exhibited with Gimpel Fils, the leading London gallery whose association with St Ives artists like Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Peter Lanyon anticipated her move in 1957 to live for a year in a cottage at Zennor near St. Ives. Blow was widely exhibited abroad throughout this time, establishing the international profile that her cosmopolitan outlook warranted. Participation in peripatetic displays of contemporary British art saw her work promulgated in Italy, Holland, Germany, the United States and later Australasia.