In the 1960s and early 1970s, during the period the present work was produced, Laing was primarily interested in what he considered to be contemporary ‘heroic’ themes. As Laing expressed in an essay to accompany the painting Skydiver VI, when it was shown at the Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry in 1983, his passion, he said, lay in ‘the contemporary mass-produced images of women, drag-racing cars, astronauts, actors and skydivers - typical concerns of a young man, I suppose, but also endorsing the technological optimism of the 1960s at a time when all things seemed possible, and that man would be able to dominate his environment and solve all his problems through science’. Laing would trawl through magazines and newspapers at this time, finding contemporary photographs and everyday imagery, to use as the subject of his works.
In 1971 Laing created his Skydiver tapestry. Utilising the tapestry, a typically traditional mode of art, Laing turned it into a powerful ‘Pop’ image of his skydiver. A subject which has become synonymous with the artist and one of Laing’s most celebrated and popular themes.
We are very grateful to the Gerald Laing Estate for their assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.