IAN DURY 'More Than Fair'
Hello, I'm Jemima Dury, Ian Dury's daughter, and I have spent the last two years putting together a collection of my dad's art work in order to hold the first ever Ian Dury retrospective. When he formed his band Kilburn and the High Roads in 1971 he retired from painting and pursued music instead, quietly tucking away an outstanding body of artwork, 90% of which has been stored in a plan chest ever since. Most of these works have never been shown before and they are fantastic! Now I want you to see them, too, and you will have the privilege of being able to do so in Ian's alma mater, the Royal College of Art. There is FREE ADMISSION, it's an easily accessible gallery and it's right next to the Albert Hall.
Who owns the work?
The Dury family still owns most of it, and that collection will make up the largest part of the show. In addition a significant number of the pieces will be lent by his close friends and associates. I also went further afield and fortuitously I found one or two pieces via auction houses such as Christie's or with independent art dealers. So, I am indebted to all those who have kindly agreed to loan their Ian Dury works to make this a very complete exhibition.
Lucky for me, I have not been doing this alone! I have two wonderful co-curators who have aided and abetted this project every step of the way. They are Kosmo Vinyl (in the video), a very close friend of Ian's, who promoted, publicised and presented for the Blockheads during those very iconic Stiff Records days and then went on to manage The Clash; and Jules Balme a graphic designer who worked alongside Barney Bubbles in the art department at Stiff, designing some of the defining album and single covers of the post punk era. Together, we are very passionate about Ian's work and we feel it is of significant cultural importance, reflecting and defining an era in British painting from 1961- 1972 during which Pop Art entered the arena.
Ian's painting style
He was influenced by painter and close friend Sir Peter Blake to draw and paint what he loved and so he immersed himself in popular culture, sourcing images from music, film and fashion and using media like sequins, acrylic and stencil lettering. He created vibrant, colourful patterned images from which emerge beautifully drawn sensual graphite figures. The combination of patterned background and monotone figure is thematic of his work and the look of the figures is highly evocative of the sixties when he was most active as a painter.
Robert Upstone of the Fine Art Society has this to say about Ian's work:
I first encountered Ian Dury’s work when I was co-curating the Royal College’s 175th Anniversary exhibition in 2012-13, and we included two of his pictures in the show. At school in the 1970s I grew up with Dury’s music, but while I knew he had gone to art school I had no real idea what he had achieved as a visual artist. Looking at his pictures I was enormously excited by their visual inventiveness and vitality, but also by their sheer quality. It made me realise this was an important major voice within British Pop Art of the 1960s - a distinctive, imaginative and highly original creative force. His use of textual and photorealist elements, and his incorporation of celebrities, singers or showgirls, ally his pictures with major Pop proponents such as Peter Blake and Joe Tilson. Dury’s pictures also have something of the same quality as his music – vitality, a native sense of vernacular wit and irony, and a real sense of joi de vivre. I am enormously excited we will have the chance to see Ian Dury’s pictures exhibited together for the first time.
Director, The Fine Art Society
So far we have only been sponsored by Demon Music Group, who have generously helped us towards all sorts of costs such as printing, display, materials and installation and now we are looking for further sponsorship to cover the hefty and very necessary cost of security. Security is the largest cost of all in showing the work and perhaps one of the most important.
Risks and challenges
The risks and challenges with this project centre around not enough people getting to see the show. To safeguard this Kosmo, Jules and myself are working closely with the RCA and Demon's marketing department to publicise and promote this exhibition as much as possible. Between us we have numerous media contacts and we know many people who are well placed to spread the word. We are confident that even if we don't get widespread media coverage, we will be able to reach a variety of arts organisations and the public through word of mouth and the strategic sending of press releases. Ian Dury has fans in very high places! Kosmo and Jules are very experienced when it comes to designing, presenting and publicising an event. I am very good at the admin and my family has the art!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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