For the fifth anniversary of the death of Gerald Laing, the British pop artist and sculptor, the Fine Art Society has opened a posthumous exhibition. It features over 70 paintings and sculptures that trace the trajectory of his career.
Gerald Laing formed part of the first way of British pop artists in Swinging London. A graduate of Saint Martins School of Art, Laing’s first pop paintings were of French film stars such as Brigitte Bardot and Anna Karina.
After moving to New York in 1964, he made friends with American pop artists Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and James Rosenquist. It was during this time that he produced his best known paintings, with subjects including astronauts, hot rods, models and film stars.
But Laing eventually became disillusioned by pop art’s capitalist values and moved into sculpture. He first produced abstract works and later, after moving to rural Scotland, created figurative bronzes.
It wasn’t until 2004 that Laing returned to pop art, when he created works criticising the Iraq War. As a former army officer, Laing was disturbed by the atrocities committed army personnel against prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, so he reclaimed the visual language of pop for the purpose of protest.