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Tess Jaray

Born 1937, Vienna, Austria.

Tess Jaray came to England as a child and attended first St Martin's School of Art from 1954-57 and then the Slade School of Fine Art to 1960 when she won an Abbey Minor Travelling Scholarship. She used this to visit art galleries in Italy and the impact of Italian architecture proved to have a lasting influence on her later work. The following year in 1961 a French Government Scholarship enabled her live and work in France for several months during which she worked in the etching studio of Stanley William Hayter at Atelier17 in Paris.

The abstract visual language which Jaray was to develop in her painting explores the effects shapes patterns and colour have within space - for the viewer ambiguous relationships and structures are evoked . She painstakingly researches the properties of different pigments to create optical effects which resonate with the painting’s overall composition.

Since the 1980s Jaray has regularly undertaken commissions for works in public spaces which also relate to her interest in and understanding of architectural space and pattern. These include Centenary Square, Birmingham, UK (1988-92), Arts Council Headquarters Building, London (1991), Master plan for refurbishment of Pontefract Town Centre (1994), Forecourt of New British Embassy, Moscow (1999-2001), Outpatients’ area of University Hospitals, Coventry and Warwick, UK (2005-06), Paving for St Mary’s Church, Nottingham, UK (2012).

Jaray taught at Hornsey College of Art from 1964 to 1968 and Slade School of Fine Art, University College London from 1968 to 1999 when she retired as Reader Emeritus in Fine Art. She was made an Honorary Fellow of RIBA (Royal Institute for British Architects) in 1995 and a Royal Academician in 2010.

Jaray’s work has been acquired for about fifteen public collections in the UK including Arts Council Collection, London, Contemporary Art Society, London, Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, The British Council, London, UK, The British Museum, London, The Sainsbury Centre, Norwich, Tate Collection, London, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. Overseas collection containing her work include Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia, Museum des 20 Jahrhunderts, Vienna, Austria, Städtisches Museum, Leverkusen, Germany, Sundsvall Museum, Sundsvall, Sweden, Szépmüvészeti Múzeum, Budapest, Croatia, The Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, MA, US, Western Australia Art Gallery, Perth.


Salisbury Green
After Malevich Pale Blue