Tess Jaray was born in Vienna in 1937. She studied at St Martin’s College of Art and Design (1954–1957) and the Slade School of Fine Art (1957–1960), where she subsequently taught for many years.
Examining the geometry of pattern, repetition and colour within her surroundings, Jaray has explored painterly perspective for more than five decades. Her work is characterised by the enigmatic interaction of forms and colours. The patterns she creates suggest spatial ambiguities and shifting structures which work on the viewer’s perceptions in subtle ways. In many of her works, the area of pattern – whether polygons, waves or rectangles – is contained by a strong, grounding background colour, thereby controlling the movement of the forms.
Solo exhibitions include the Whitechapel Gallery (1973), the Ashmolean Museum and Whitworth Art Gallery (1984), and the Serpentine Gallery (1988). Public collections include the British Museum, the Arts Council Collection, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Tate Collection. Her paving designs can be seen in Centenary Square, Birmingham and the forecourt of Victoria Station. In 2010, Jaray was elected a Royal Academician.
Recent publications include The Art of Tess Jaray (2014 – her monograph published by Ridinghouse) and The Blue Cupboard: Inspirations and Recollections (2014 – published by the Royal Academy – a memoir and diary described by the critic Brian Sewell as ‘an enviably beautiful book’), Painting: Mysteries and Confessions (2010 – a collection of Jaray’s writings) and Thresholds (2012 – published by the Royal Academy).
She lives and works in London.
- 2017 Celestial Mechanics: Tess Jaray, Linda Karshan, Jeanne Masoero
- 2017 Into Light, Marlborough Gallery, London
- 2017 The Light Surrounded, Albertz Benda, New York
- 2016 Tess Jaray: Dark & Light
- 2016 The Edge of Printing, Royal Academy of Arts, London *
- 2016 TURN THE COLOUR DOWN! Turps Gallery, London *
- 2016 Tell it Slant, Frith Street Gallery, London *
- 2016 Extra Terrestrial: Tess Jaray and Alison Wilding, East GalleryNUA, Norwich *
- 2015 Art15: Tess Jaray and Paul de Monchaux *
- 2015 From Centre, Slate Projects, London *
- 2014 Landscapes of Space, Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham
- 2013 The Edge of Painting, The Piper Gallery, London *
- 2013 Drawings: Mel Bochner, Robert Holyhead, Ann-Marie James, Tess Jaray, Bridget Riley, Alison Wilding, Karsten Schubert, London *
- 2012 Mapping the Unseeable, The Piper Gallery, London
- 2012 New Possibilities: Abstract Paintings from the Seventies, The Piper Gallery, London *
- 2009 Jerwood Drawing Prize, Jerwood Space, London *
- 2009 The Rise of Women Artists, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool *
- 2008 Lyon & Turnball, London
- 2003 Purdy Hicks Gallery, London
- 2001 Clifford Chance, London
- 2001 Purdy Hicks Gallery, London
- 1988 Serpentine Gallery, London
- 1984 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
- 1984 Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
- 1973 Tess Jaray, Marc Vaux: Recent Paintings, Whitechapel Gallery, London
- 1969 Axiom Gallery, London
- 1965 Hamiltons Gallery, London
- 1963 Grabowski Gallery, London