A 64 Year Conservation About Art

Wednesday, 25th April 2018

A 64 Year Conservation About Art

A 64-Year Conversation about Art

A unique exhibition of outstanding works by internationally renowned sculptor Sir Anthony Caro and his wife, acclaimed modernist painter Sheila Girling, will open on 27 April at Peterborough Museum and City Gallery.  Running to 21 July, this is the first time their extraordinary works will be presented alongside each other within the same gallery space, making this exhibition truly significant and a major coup for Peterborough. 

Peterborough Museum and City Gallery present a stunning new exhibition: A 64-Year Conversation about Art, with outstanding works by internationally renowned sculptor Sir Anthony Caro and modernist painter Sheila Girling. Caro and Girling met at the Royal Academy in 1948 when he used her drawing board by mistake. Their arguments about art apparently started at that first encounter and within six months they were married. Throughout their time together, their debates continued with Girling once describing their marriage as ‘a 64-year conversation about art’. Girling's intense use of colour proved to be hugely influential on Caro, who was more interested in form than colour. Perhaps his most well-known piece Early One Morning was originally painted green until Girling suggested that he change it to red. Likewise, Caro used to give feedback to Girling on her pieces, but she made sure that she felt completely comfortable with them beforehand, so that his honest manner didn’t put her off.

‘The Caro Family, and the Caro, Girling studios are very excited about this seminal show. It is wonderful to see the interaction and visual conversation between my mother and father’s work. I find myself fascinated by the shared explorations and concerns in their art and yet they had their own distinctive creative visions. We are very pleased that Lagoon (a sculpture by Anthony Caro) is being placed outside the Key Theatre in Peterborough, in this wonderful historic city’

Paul Caro (Son of Sir Anthony Caro and Sheila Girling)

Sir Anthony Caro is considered one Britain’s greatest sculptors with an international reputation for his large scale industrial works. He was incredibly prolific during his lifetime, producing thousands of works over six decades which feature in every major contemporary art collection in the world. He is also responsible for iconic structures such as the Millennium Bridge, linking St Paul’s to the Tate Modern on the Bankside, designs for which were drawn up by himself, architect Norman Foster and engineer Chris Wise. Through his sculptures, he worked with a wide range of media including wood, paper, clay, bronze and acrylic, examples of which can be seen in the exhibition, but steel remained his favourite. For him, steel enabled him to do things that other materials wouldn’t allow. 

Sheila Girling’s work shares many qualities with those of Caro’s. Like him, Girling often worked on a large scale producing canvases that stretch the entire length of gallery walls. And although many of her pieces have more domesticated themes of still life’s, figures and landscapes, she too presented her vision in an abstracted style. Her works featured in the exhibition date from the 90’s onwards, a time by which Girling worked predominantly with collage. In a similar way to how Henri Matisse created his ‘Cut-Outs’, Girling painted on canvas and paper, shaped these pieces through cutting and tearing and composed them on canvas. She found through this process that she had more control over composition and the colour relationships when making decisions on her work, as opposed to painting straight onto canvas.

A 64-Year Conversation about Art emerged from Vivacity’s relationship with Barford Sculptures, who manage Sir Anthony Caro and Sheila Girling’s estate, during the restoration and the planning for the re-siting of Anthony Caro’s sculpture Lagoon which belongs to Vivacity’s Sculpture Collection. This is being installed in the city in mid-June. 

Both Caro and Girling achieved huge success in their own right, exhibiting and selling work internationally and have previously been exhibited simultaneously in the same venue but never before have both artists’ works been presented alongside each other in the same gallery space, making this exhibition truly unique. 

‘This show is a celebration of the restoration and re-siting of the Anthony Caro’s Lagoon which is owned by the city of Peterborough.  The exhibition will give an in depth understanding of the breadth of Anthony Caro and Sheila Girling’s work. The two artists supported and influenced each other all their working lives. With grateful thanks to Sheena Carman and Amber Lawrence from Vivacity for presenting this work’

Patrick Cunningham

Barford Sculpture Studio Manager

Anthony Caro & Sheila Girling: A 64-Year Conversation about Art opens at Peterborough Museum & City Gallery on Friday 27th April 2018. Find out more at vivacity.org


Notes for editors

For further press related information and images, please contact:

Sheena Carman Kendra Grahame-Clarke

Arts Programme Manager Kendra PR

Sheena.carman@vivacity.org Kendra@kendrapr.co.uk

07746410422 07910 214474

About Vivacity

Vivacity is a non-profit organisation with charitable status, created in 2010 with the purpose of enriching the lives of Peterborough residents and visitors.

Managing over 20 venues covering library, heritage, theatre, art, and healthy living sites, Vivacity is committed to working with their partners and local organisations to bringing inspirational services to the Peterborough community.

Find out more about Vivacity and our offering by visiting https://www.vivacity-peterborough.com/

Notes about the exhibition

Anthony Caro & Sheila Girling: A 64-Year Conversation about Art runs from 27 April - 21 July 2018 at Peterborough Museum & City Gallery

Opening times: 10am – 5pm, Tues to Sun (Inc. Mon’s during school and bank holidays)

Entrance is free with the exception of special events where there may be an admission price for Peterborough Museum. Further details can be found via vivacity.org.

Peterborough Museum & City Gallery, Priestgate, Peterborough, PE1 1LF