Peter Blake, ‘The Butterfly Man, Los Angeles,’ 2010. Collage on inkjet print. 33 x 37 inches
Visual artist Sir Peter Blake, 79, has been one of the most famous Pop purveyors in Britain since the 1950s, a time when he began mixing elements of high and low culture in a combination of collage and painting. He created some of Britain’s most iconic images of the mid-20th century, contributed art to Britain’s biggest bands and football clubs alike, and, in 2007, enjoyed a major retrospective of his work at the Tate Liverpool.
Americans, too, know his work, or at least one example of it: He created the collage cover of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club” album.
But since the early ’60s, he has rarely exhibited his art in the United States. On show starting April 14 at the Mary Ryan Gallery in New York are many of Blake’s recent works, which take the form of digital collage in a show called “Peter Blake: World Tour.”
These days Blake takes advantage of the simplicity of using a computer to gather and cut and assemble images, allowing him to play with size without losing detail. But while the process is new, the aesthetic has a similar feel: His vintage settings (pilfered from old postcards) are populated with an eccentric slew of expressive characters — in one series, a rabble of well-traveled butterflies — and are deceptively more elaborate than first glance betrays.
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