Matt Rugg: Organic Form

Tue – Fri, 10.30am – 5pm; Sat, 11am – 4pm

Preview 12 October, 5 – 7.30pm

Gallagher & Turner

A showcase exhibition of selected works on paper by British abstract artist and teacher, Matt Rugg (1935 – 2020).

This exhibition features 16 of Matt Rugg’s drawings, with some larger works online and viewable by appointment. Some are on handmade paper, mixing charcoal, soft pastel, oil pastel, conte crayon and graphite. Many of these have not been exhibited before. These works on paper offer a window into Rugg’s intuitive exploration of material, layering, colour, pattern and form, continuing to inspire artists and art lovers alike.

Matt Rugg, born in Somerset, was taught by Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton at King’s College, Newcastle (from 1956), subsequently working alongside them as tutor, before moving on to Chelsea in 1965, and establishing a studio in South London. As a teacher at Chelsea School of Art, he influenced painters and sculptors, going beyond Pasmore’s Basic Form syllabus, and encouraging students to discover their own materials and ways of making.

Matt’s first solo shows, featuring constructions in wood, and later in metal, at the New Art Centre in London in 1963, 1966 and 1970, won critical acclaim, leading to further international solo exhibitions, and his work being acquired for public collections including the Tate Gallery, the British Council, the Arts Council, the Contemporary Arts Society, and regional collections. In 1979 Rugg’s prize in the 2nd National Exhibition hosted by Tolly Cobbold/Eastern Arts, signalled a change of direction in his work, constructing in galvanised wire and sheet metal in linear form.

Rugg’s training as a painter, influenced his approach to drawing and sculpture, building up layers of translucency and depth from the ground upwards, and often working back into his drawings over a period of time. There is also a symbiotic relationship between Rugg’s drawings and sculpture, as forms were sometimes sprayed through and drawn around, working in conversation with each
other as the working process took shape.

All works are available for sale.

Matt Rugg: Organic Form runs in conjunction with a major retrospective at the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, Matt Rugg: Connecting
Form, co-curated by Harriet Sutcliffe and presented in partnership with the Matt Rugg Estate.

30 St Mary’s Place Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7PQ

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13 October—18 November 2023


  • Tue 10.30am – 5pm
  • Wed 10.30am – 5pm
  • Thu 10.30am – 5pm
  • Fri 10.30am – 5pm
  • Sat 11am – 4pm
  • Large-format print
  • We have ground floor access but there is a step at the front door: we will happily offer support if needed.
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