Tate Liverpool always has an exciting exhibition on, and John Piper’s is no exception. This is really worth a visit before it ends on the 18th of March. Entry is free for all students studying at Liverpool universities so take your pals and make the most of it!

Tate Liverpool

John Piper is a significant British artist of the twentieth century, but his connection to Liverpool and the North West? He is the designer of the incredible stained glass windows of the Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral. His eclectic collection and the curator, Darrah Pih’s presentation creates an exhibition that captures the attention of its audience. Whilst his work with stain glass itself is not featured, his influences are prevalent throughout Darrah Pih’s selection for the exhibition.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral      Image by stevecadman © via Flickr and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Piper’s role as an abstract artist is highlighted by the curators decision to align his work alongside those of renowned artists such as Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso, whose use of mixed materials enhance and contrast against Piper’s own work, which takes clear direction from their example. Piper’s abstracts use a variety of colours but primarily utilise a muted palette enhanced bysmaller samples of colour. 

Abstract I 1935 John Piper 1903-1992 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N06212

 A highlight of the exhibition is a selection of paintings from the 1940’s. As a war artist Piper was granted a ‘sketching permit’ allowing him to travel around the country commissioned to record bombed churches in a manner that may reflect the sombre tone of the circumstances. Piper’s depiction of the bombed out shells of buildings from across England, while muted, are infused with colour that capture the lost beauty and silence following the frantic atmosphere of war which can still be felt today, through his paintings. 

Piper, St Mary le Port, Bristol, N05718 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/No5718

Alongside Piper’s own work, and the work of his contemporaries and influences, visitors can expect to see work admired by Piper. This includes native art forms; medieval stained windows and Anglo-Saxon and Romanesque stone carvings. The variety of work in the collection creates an immersive experience for those visiting, allowing them to experience all aspects of Piper’s work and gain a greater understanding of his influence as a British artist of the twentieth century.

The Tate is also offering a separate curators tour of the exhibition on the 15th of February from 16:00-17:00, available to book on the Tate website.