Stephen Willats

1943 · United Kingdom

Artist biography

Stephen Willats is seen as an established artist, who was born in the United Kingdom. Stephen Willats was born in 1943. Some of the artist's contemporaries that are born around the same year and in the same country include Maggi Hambling, Richard Cook and Phyllida Barlow.

Galleries and Exhibitions

Stephen Willats' work is on display in several galleries around the world, in countries such as Belgium, the United States, and Germany. Galleries include Annie Gentils Gallery in Antwerp, Lumen Travo in Amsterdam, and HOUSE OF GAGA // REENA SPAULINGS FINE ART in Los Angeles. Stephen Willats' work has most recently been exhibited at Laure Genillard in London (30 June 2018 until 15 September 2018) with the exhibition DIALOGUES WITH A COLLECTION. Stephen Willats' work has also been exhibited during the MODERN BUILDINGS exhibition at Lumen Travo in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (01 March 2019 - 25 April 2019).

Historical Context of United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has been an important hub for artistic production for centuries. While it gained tremendous wealth from colonisation and the ascent of its Empire, it was also unsheltered from the cultural influences of other countries and continents. In the contemporary period, Britain had been largely overshadowed by the status of its European neighbours on one side, and of the United States on the other. But towards the end of the nineteenth century, Britain became a significant hub in the development of the avant-garde. This includes the Arts and Crafts Movement, a major movement setting the tone for artist-led organisations, guilds and organisational co-operative types that would later become into a template of sorts for bohemian artists movements of the Twentieth Century. Ground-breaking artistic movements that characterize British modernism include for example Vorticism, involving artists part of the Bloomsbury group. Some significant British artists of the modern and contemporary era include Stanley Spencer, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Leon Kossoff, Frank Auerbach, David Hockney, Bridget Riley, Paula Rego - and in more recent years the YBA generation led by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn, Chris Ofili and others.

Further Biographical Context for Stephen Willats

Stephen Willats was born in 1943 and was predominantly influenced by the 1960s growing up. The 1960s were an explosive decade internationally, witnessing a proliferation of modernist philosophies and trends. It was the era of Kennedy and Kruschev, and the beginning of the Cold War, which would endure for most of the second half of the 20th century, and was epitomised most symbolically by the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. The Iron Curtain divided Eastern and Western Europe, both ideologically and literally, and student political uprisings took place globally. Psychedelia, an enormous increase in consumerism, and the associated trends of marketing and advertising further defined the era. Minimalism developed a formal language with no external references, predicated solely on line, colour and geometric form as key components of both painting and sculpture. The key figures of Minimalism included Frank Stella, Donald Judd and Agnes Martin. Colour Field painting, as practiced by Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Helen Frankenthaler, further explored some of the expressive ideas of Abstract Expressionism, but stripped away much of the rhetoric, instead approaching a more rule-based approach to surface and colour that related this practice to Minimalism. Globally, many artistic movements resonated the creative concerns of the previously mentioned movements, often with regional fortes and nuance. In Italy, Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni developed Spatialism, and in Germany the Zero group under the leadership of Gunter Uecker espoused similar ideas. The influential school of Existentialist Philosophy was an important source of creativity for artists, with artists like Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti achieving international prominence for their distinctive approaches to the human form and the anguish related to the human condition.

Stephen Willats

  • Exhibitions 3

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