Zuleika gallery is delighted to present Into the Music Room, an exhibition featuring work by George Hooper (1910-1994). The exhibtion draws on the collection of the conductor, Christopher Gayford, great nephew of the artist. 'Into the Music Room' explores the interplay between art and music in the work of this very vibrant and ebullient artist.
Born in India in1910 Hooper spent his childhood in Gorakhpur, India, with his Indian mother and British father. In 1922 he came to Britain to continue his secondary education and by 1931 was enrolled at the Slade and in 1932 switched to the Royal Academy Schools, where he thrived, picking up several medals and travel scholarships, including the prestigious Rome scholarship in 1935 and spent the next three years revelling in the color, light and art of Spain and Italy. He seems to have suffered from a dichotomy between his Indian and English roots, between elements of staid conservatism and exotic vibrancy in his life – a psychological conflict which he perhaps sought to resolve in his increasingly colorful art. In other words, George always appears to have stood out from the crowd with his idiosyncratic view of the world, his swift, assured use of line and his brilliant color sense influenced by his Indian childhood.
Hooper's friendship with the artist Duncan Grant was enormously influential on him, as was contact with Grant's home, Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex. Another key contemporary influence was the welsh artist Ceri Richards who encouraged Hooper to develop an exuberant and highly charged approach to mixed media. He used a variety of collage techniques. Paper cut or torn, shiny or matt, layered or just one sheet thick, delighted him. Indeed, applying subsequent collage to an apparently finished work defied the rules of perspective, forcing the viewer to confront the space between the here and now and the world of the picture.
Like Ceri Richards, music was a major part of Hooper’s life. His wife Joyce had graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, Hooper was an accomplished pianist and the piano dominated the drawing room at Loxwood and is a recurring feature in his paintings. Hooper’s interest in collage in particular came from Richards as well as his series of paintings of ‘emanations’ with their connotation of music invading the space.
George Hooper exhibited with success at the Leicester Galleries ('Artists of Fame and Promise'), Leicester Square alongside Walter Sickert, Duncan Grant and Ivon Hitchens. In addition, his work is in the Victoria & Albert collection, the British Museum and public galleries in Brighton, Hove, Eastbourne and Hull.