Gerald Laing Sculptures

There are four Gerald Laing sculptures in the Lamont Gallery collection that were donated by alumnus from the class of 1965. In April of 2015, each of these sculptures was taken off campus for conservation. The work will be re-installed in 2016 and 2017. Information and photos from the entire process can be seen on our Flickr page.

Gerald Laing (1936-2011):

Gerald Laing is a British artist who lived in New York in the 1960’s. He worked closely with artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein and is considered to be a significant part of the British Pop art movement. Laing states that during this time his work “quickly evolved from Pop art paintings through highly finished abstract pieces to abstract sculpture.”

Laing moved to Northern Scotland in 1969 and it was during this transition that he created the four abstract sculptures that we have in our collection. Three of these sculptures are named for locations in Scotland. According to Laing, “The four sculptures, made in the Highlands in 1969-1970, are developed from the last phase of my work before I left New York, but are larger, stronger and more roughly made in response to the new environment of the Scottish Highlands. They were, in other words, a response to the landscape and intended to be sited in the landscape.”

During the 1970’s Laing shifted his focus to sculpting the human figure and continued with this subject matter for many years. Some of his most notable public works include Axis Mundi: 5 Wise Virgins – Their Apotheosis and Sherlock Holmes a memorial to Sir Arthur Conan both in Kinkell, Scotland. Laing eventually returned to painting shortly before his death in 2011. An extensive collection of Laing’s work can be found on his website.

 

 

Milbuie, 1969-1970
Painted steel
6 units each 12' long
 

Milbuie was on the Academy Lawn by the main entrance of the Lamont Gallery. It was removed in 2015 for restoration and will be reinstalled in a similar location in 2017.

 

 

 

Torgorm, 1969
Painted steel
2 units 10’ high

This sculpture was originally placed at the southeast entrance of Phillips Hall since the “arches echo the windows of Phillips Hall and Wheelwright.” The Lamont Gallery is currently researching a new location to reinstall this sculpture.

Scatwell, 1970
Painted steel
24’ long

Scatwell is made up of “a large pair of bright yellow curves formed by two 5’x2’ steel beams which bend into two 12’ long beams cantilvered off a base.” It was originally placed in the courtyard between the Frederick R. Mayer Art Center and the Academy Building.

In 2016 Scatwell was installed on the lawn in front of the Love Gymnasium. The sculpture can be seen from Court Street.

 

Big Trace, 1969
Painted steel
14’ high

This piece is similar to some of the drawings and prints that Laing created while working in New York before moving to Scotland. According to the sculpture records this piece was to be placed near the music center after its completion in the 1990’s.

In 2016 Big Trace was installed on the grounds of the Saltonstall house on the corner of Elliot and Court Street. 

Sources: Gerald Laing website and original artist statement from Lamont Gallery archives.

Image credit: Photo of Gerald Laing by Chris Jackson, Getty Images Europe. Images of Torgorm, from the Gerald Laing website

Lamont Gallery, Frederick R. Mayer Art Center, Phillips Exeter Academy
20 Main Street, Exeter NH, 03833
603-777-3461 / gallery@exeter.edu