Sandra Blow RA

Sandra’s innovative approach to painting during the 1950s assured her position as one of the leaders of the post war British Abstract Movement.

Sandra was born in London in 1925 and went on to study at St. Martin’s in 1941-6, and then the Royal Academy Schools before leaving for Italy. Alberto Burri introduced Sandra to the potentials of collage and the tensions between textures therein. From her mentor, Sandra distilled her own form of reductive abstract expressionism, preoccupied with space, matter and movement.

Fuelled also by the Renaissance principles of geometry, light and scale, Sandra set about treating form with its own innate reality and rejecting subject matter in terms of representation.

‘I can remember that extraordinary sense of shedding everything, of leaving all known tracks. And then just looking for something that could be my own, of interpreting the actual structure of the painting which seems to connect with abstract structure and space and find my own language in it.’

With her uncompromising approach, Sandra pushed printmaking techniques to new levels with the introduction of Hessian, film and cloth. Her Stunning silkscreen prints with collaged elements, textures and glazes have become almost sculptural.

Throughout the fifties Sandra enjoyed regular solo exhibitions at Gimpel Fils, London and had soon exhibited all over the world. In 1960 she won the Guggenheim International Award. Then in 1978 Sandra was elected a Royal Academician and in 1994 the Royal Academy honoured her achievements with a solo show.

In 2005, Sandra celebrated her 80th Birthday. There were a number of shows and events across the country to mark the occasion, including the launch of a new book and a retrospective at the Tate.

Sandra Blow sadly died on 22nd August 2006.