- Museum number
Metamorphoses Blue; abstraction of outlined strips of white and blue on graph paper, inscribed with numbers. c.1973-77
Blue and white gouache, ink and graphite on graph paper
- Production date
Height: 419 millimetres
Width: 296 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This work dates from after Kenneth Martin's wife's death in 1969 when the artist turned almost exclusively to painting, and forms part of the Chance and Order series, of which he titled a sub-group 'Metamorphoses' in the years between 1973 and 1977.
The Chance and Order series was begun in 1969 and worked on until 1984. Martin made use of chance, usually through throwing a die, to give him certain number sequences, which he then plotted through structures of line on squared graph-paper. Initial drawings such as this one, showing the number sequence as well as the resultant composition, were the basis of the larger paintings.
Text from 'Living with art: The Alexander Walker collection' (British Museum Press, 2020):
Kenneth Martin was a pioneer of kinetic art and a key figure in the British Constructivist movement along with his wife, Mary Martin (née Balmford, 1907–1969) and Victor Pasmore. This study drawing was probably made for his extensive 'Chance and Order' series (1969–84), a sub-group of which was called 'Metamorphoses' (1973–7). Martin made the work by throwing a die to give him a sequence of numbers that determined the arrangements of the lines on the graph paper. The numbers are written in pencil above and below the lines, providing an insight into the artist’s working methods.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2004-2005 June-Jan, BM, Matisse to Freud: The Alexander Walker Bequest
2019-2020 Sep-Jan, London, BM, G90, Pushing Paper: Contemporary drawing from 1970 to now
2020 29 Feb - 17 Mar, Durham, Oriental Museum, Pushing Paper: contemporary drawing from 1970 to now
2020 19 Sep-23 Oct and 11-29 Nov, Swansea, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Pushing Paper: contemporary drawing from 1970 to now
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Purchased by Alexander Walker from Austin/Desmond Fine Art, London on 6/10/2001 for £1,850.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number