Tess Jaray Tess Jaray
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Tess Jaray


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.


(* denotes a group exhibition)