(1917 – 2009) Born in Northamptonshire, Michael Kidner studied History at Cambridge University. A pioneer of Optical Art, Kidner devoted much of his career to developing work of a constructive nature. His interest in mathematics, science and the theories of chaos have informed an art that is at once rational and playful. Kidner’s translation of the dialogue between order and indeterminacy into a visual language has meant that his work – though founded in a rigorous intellectual approach to colour and form – also resonates emotionally: ‘Unless you read a painting as a feeling,’ he has said, ‘then you don’t get anything at all’.
His distinguished career has included many honors, influential teaching posts, international group shows and solo exhibitions in Britain, Eastern Europe, Brazil, Austria and Scandinavia. His work was first displayed in New York in 1965, in The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art, a group exhibition which subsequently toured the United States; and in a solo show two years later at Betty Parsons Gallery, New York in 1967. A retrospective at the Serpentine Gallery, London in 1984 introduced a new generation of British artists to his work, and he was elected as a Royal Academician in 2004. His work has recently been acquired by the British Academy, UK, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Buenos Aires, Argentina; and is represented in the public collections of Arts Council England, British Council, Government Art Collection, and Tate, UK; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon; and Muzeum Sztuki, Lódz, Poland.