Alan Cuthbert : colour theory and practice [1957 -79] English art school change in the early 1960s

Escott, Anthony James (2005) Alan Cuthbert : colour theory and practice [1957 -79] English art school change in the early 1960s. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


The core of this research are the paintings and cultural context of Alan Cuthbert, a hitherto un-researched figure who trained in the English art school of the late 1950s under the Constructionists Kenneth and Mary Martin and subsequently became the Head of the Foundation course at Wimbledon School of Art from 1963-1979. Cuthbert produced a substantial body of over a hundred geometric abstract paintings, lecture papers and writing and played a significant role in training future generations of artists and designers from the 1960s onwards. This thesis proposes that Cuthbert is part of a broader tendency in British art schools and that practice and teaching is intimately connected to the reorganisation of the art schools and the introduction of the Foundation course in the early 196Ös. I put forward the argument that through a study of Cuthbert and the shifts in art schools one can map a much under-researched aspect of British art. This research encompasses the three fields of art history, art education and art practice and centres on an artist-lecturer, a subject of study largely ignored by the majority of art historical writing, which is dominated by the modernist model of monographs, movements/groupings, and periods. In placing the case study of an artist-lecturer in a critical and historical context, this study maps British art through organicism, Constructivism and the Bauhaus art school pedagogy and colour as they pertain to basic design and the changes in art school teaching between 1955 and 1979. Through this case study of a colourist and systems painter this thesis suggests a different, Continental orientation for British post-war geometric abstraction.

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