Watts Contemporary Gallery in partnership with Eames Fine Art is pleased to present a new exhibition of work by Anita Klein, widely regarded as one of Britain’s finest contemporary artists and printmakers.
Marking the first exhibition following the reopening of Watts Contemporary Gallery on 1 May, Together brings together more than 60 works by Anita Klein, spanning painting, prints and works on paper, including a number of works exhibited for the first time. As the title reflects, this exhibition explores Klein’s response to the last year and the joy of coming together again with family and friends. Klein states, ‘The pandemic changed all of our lives, making my obsession with capturing what I would miss if my ordinary life were somehow taken away, relevant to everyone. My work is a visual diary and a way of counting my blessings, especially for family, friends and intimate relationships. This past year ‘what I would miss’ has been thrown into sharp focus as ‘what I am missing’ – closeness to my grown-up children and grandchildren in particular. Together is an exhibition about that closeness that we treasure and previously took for granted, as we all take a few tentative steps back into normality’.
Anita Klein (b.1960) studied at Chelsea School of Art and the Slade School of Art, where she was awarded the Henrique Scholarship in 1982 and 1983. Anita was elected Associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers in 1992, Fellow in 1995 and served as President of the Society from 2003-2006. Klein has exhibited internationally, including at the ICA and Royal Academy in London. Her works are held in many major collections, including the British Museum and Arts Council England. She was awarded Printmaker of the Year at the 2020 Printfest International Festival of Printmaking.
Known for her confident use of line, dazzling colour palette and poignant subject matter, Klein explores the humour and beauty of the everyday. Describing her works as a ‘visual diary’, she captures personal celebrations, from observations of motherhood to the joy of friendship, creating images and memories that are universally understood.
Work selected for Together includes a number of new works made this year, including Hugging the Children (2021) and The Photo Album (2021), two large-scale paintings about the intimacy of touch. Klein recalls ‘I have always kept physical family photo albums. My eldest granddaughter Betty has recently shown an interest in these and likes to look through the one featuring herself as a baby. It is a lovely moment of closeness with her, to show her that her mother was also a baby once!’ Other works are about the joy of reunion after time apart, such as Scooting by the River (2021), which Klein says is inspired by the ‘wonder of meeting up outside once it became legal’. Demonstrating the breadth of her practice, the exhibition also includes works on paper and prints, for which Klein has become particularly well known. This includes a series of ‘lockdown linos’ capturing Klein’s ‘thankfulness for joy’ – busy tableaus of family members, eating around the kitchen table, celebrating a birthday or chatting whilst children play in the background. Each work is beautifully considered, brimming with warmth and tells a story about the togetherness we have all been longing for this year.
Anita Kein says of the exhibition:
‘All these works are precious to me. They are fleeting reminders of moments and memories I’ve shared with my children and grandchildren, and my incredible good fortune to be able to share in them. The show is a celebration of what makes me happy and I hope it encourages visitors to be reminded of their own treasured relationships’.
Rebecca Eames, Director of Eames Fine Art, states:
‘We have been working with Anita Klein for over 20 years and our first ever exhibition was a show of her work in Guildford. Having hosted exhibitions of Klein’s work all over the UK and Europe, it’s so enjoyable to take her work to different venues and new audiences. The reaction we receive is always so positive and welcoming. We’re delighted to be working with Watts Contemporary Gallery this summer – it is such a beautiful space in a wonderful location. It really feels like this is the perfect time and place for this particular exhibition, focusing on coming together again and relishing the company of loved ones and friends’.
Alistair Burtenshaw, Director of Watts Gallery Trust, says:
‘It is an honour to welcome Anita Klein for her first solo exhibition at Watts Contemporary Gallery. The theme of this exhibition feels particularly poignant as we reopen the gallery and look forward to welcoming visitors back to Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village. At the heart of our ethos is Art for All, inviting everyone to have access to art and providing creative opportunities for the most vulnerable and socially excluded groups. We are incredibly grateful that through the sale of Anita Klein’s work, we can continue this mission’.
Anita Klein: Together opens at Watts Contemporary Gallery on 1 May and runs until 4 July 2021. Works include paintings, works on paper and prints can be ordered directly from the gallery or online. Prices start at £96.00. All works are available to purchase online through the Watts Gallery Shop.
Proceeds from Watts Contemporary Gallery exhibitions support Watts Gallery Trust’s Art for All learning programme, transforming lives through art.
In Conversation: Anita Klein, Vincent Eames & Alistair Burtenshaw
Thursday 10 June 2021, 6-7.30pm
£10 | Friends £9
Online via Zoom
To celebrate her exhibition Together at Watts Contemporary Gallery, renowned artist and printmaker Anita Klein will be joined by Vincent Eames (Director of Eames Fine Art) and Alistair Burtenshaw (Director of Watts Gallery Trust) to reflect on how the pandemic has strengthened the themes of intimacy, togetherness and joy in her works. Reflecting on themes of family and friendship and the beauty of everyday life, this special event will give an insight into one of Britain’s finest artists and printmakers of the modern age.
For further information:
– ENDS –
Image: Anita Klein, Family Birthday