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The Quest Gallery in Bath UK is showing a major retrospective of drawings, paintings and sculpture by Michael Kenny RA, until 16 June 2012.
Michael Kenny was born in Liverpool in 1941, the son of an engineer. He studied at Liverpool Art school, where two of his fellow students were Stuart Sutcliffe, an early Beatle, and John Lennon. From Liverpool he went on to the Slade in 1961 to study under Reg Butler, who called his protege “the Liverpool Italian” because of his enthusiasm for Giacometti and Medardo Rosso, as well as the classical austerity of the monolithic plasters he was making at the time. Michael Kenny’s distinguished career as an artist and a sculptor began with his early first solo show in Oxford in 1964 when he was only twenty-three years old. Michael was one of the most influential British sculptors of his generation and his contemplative geometric stone works have become increasingly well-regarded. He was elected Associate of the Royal Academy in 1976, and a Royal Academician in 1986. Throughout the 70’s he was the visiting lecturer a the Slade School of Fine Art and from 1983 to 1988 he was Head of Fine Art Department at Goldsmiths College London. Today his work is held in museums all over the world, including the British Museum, The Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Michael Kenny died in 1999.
At the opening of the exhibition on 28 March, Professor Brian Falconbridge was in conversation with Susan Kenny, Michael’s widow and the curator of his works worldwide. A centre piece of discussion was Kenny’s last work, the Stations of the Cross, which was purchased by the Royal Academy. Speaking about that work, Professor Falconbridge noted: ‘His last great series of drawings, on the theme of The Stations of The Cross encapsulate the full range of his imagery and references and must surely rank as on the of the finest examples of genuinely religious art within the Christian tradition made since the Reformation.’ The works brought together at the Quest Gallery, his sculptures, drawings and paintings will continue to offer insight and inspiration both to those who are familiar with his work and to those who meet it for the first time.
On Saturday 12 May Simon Tait, writing in The Independent, featured ‘Michael Kenny RA Spirit and Matter’, as the exhibition of the week. You can read his review on The Independent's website