Tess Jaray

Serpentine Gallery 21 May — 26 Jun 1988 Free

Focussing on Tess Jaray’s paintings of the 1980s, this exhibition also included a number of drawings.

Some of the drawings exhibited related to the architectural projects in which the artist was involved at the time. Jaray’s paintings are formal, precise and executed with scrupulous care in terms of colour, form and surface.

Although abstract, the featured works were pinned to visual experiences, to the rhythms and movements perceived “when walking under a coffered ceiling, up a flight of steps, past the shadows thrown by railings or a line of trees”.

The paintings proposed distillations of such transient moments, but they also dealt with the geometric constants Jaray discovered in what she has called “the human path through history”.

Architectural references abound in her work, most explicitly in the more recent paintings included in the exhibition, such as Pyramid (1987) and Minaret (1984), and were used to argue the inseparability of structure, decoration and expression.


Discover 50 years of the Serpentine

From the architecture pavilion and digital commissions to the ideas marathon and the General Ecology programme, explore 50 years of artists, projects and exhibitions.

View archive