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TESS JARAYBritish b. 1937

TESS JARAYBritish b. 1937

Tess Jaray is an abstract artist whose work is routed in a long tradition of geometric pattern making. Her inspiration is often ancient, from Moorish mosaics to Egyptian pyramids, but her works do not seek to represent these images, they are developed from them, initially in the form of highly realised drawings before being worked up into final paintings. The works from the 1980s (of which Diversion is a significant example) appear to ‘shift’ during the viewing experience, often through a compositional step or kink and invariably through very subtly graduated application of colour.

Tess Jaray was born in Vienna before arriving in England as a young child. She attended 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.

Since the 1980s Jaray has regularly undertaken public commissions with perhaps he best known work being a terrazzo pattern design for London Victoria train station. Jaray has combined her studio and public work with a long career in teaching. Her first post was at Hornsey College of Art (1964-1968) and then followed a long spell at the Slade School of Fine Art (1968-1999) reaching the position of 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 by numerous 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.