The Graves Gallery is currently closed for redisplay and refurbishment – we look forward to welcoming you again when the gallery reopens in late spring 2021.

Graves Gallery

Surrey Street 
S1 1XZ
(Above the Central Library) 
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Gallery IV: Abstraction and Art now

Abstraction: pattern and colour in 20th century art

Abstract art reduces things to their simplest forms, rather than showing something easily recognisable. Some paintings were inspired by the real world. Artists used the patterns and colours found in nature as their starting point. However this may not be obvious when looking at the finished painting. Other abstract art doesn’t refer to reality at all. Instead artists used mathematical theories and number sequences to create their work.

Abstract art has its beginnings in Impressionism when artists focussed on light, feeling and colour. In the early 20th century artists developed this further using line, colour, pattern and form. They were all trying to find new ways to show the changing modern world.

Art Now: identity in contemporary art

What makes up our identity? It’s affected by many different factors: where we grew up, our family, age, job, faith or sexuality. This display shows work made by contemporary artists focussing on issues surrounding identity. Some pieces are very personal self-portraits where the artist explores their own identity. These works reveal something about the artist, but can also make us think about our own history, memories and experiences. Other works encourage us to think about our attitudes towards other people. What prejudices do we have? Are our opinions influenced by stereotypes? What makes up our identity and how does it change over time?

These thought-provoking works explore what it is that makes us individual and unique and how we relate to others.

Gallery IV features work by artists including Bridget Riley, Marc Quinn, Hew Locke and Sam Taylor-Wood, as well as a recent work by Damien Hirst kindly lent to Museums Sheffield by Jarvis Cocker.