The narrow canals and grand architectural landscapes of Venice have long been a source of dreamy inspiration for artists and writers. In the hands of Brit pop-art legend Peter Blake they're the building blocks for his trademark brand of bright, multi-referential collage work, the subject of a new show, The Venice Suite, at Paul Stolper gallery in London.
The signed, limited-edition silkscreen prints combine images and ideas sourced from the artist's 2007 visit to the Venice Art Biennale, from postcard scenes, photographs, and second hand books collected along the way. The technique is reminiscent of Blake's most enduringly famous creation, his sleeve design for The Beatles' 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which featured the four singers in colourful military garb surrounded by more than seventy famous faces.
His significant body of mixed-media work, spanning the last half-century, also includes the 2006 cover for the Oasis album Stop The Clocks, iconic paintings, collage, sculpture and screen-prints, usually involving a mix of pop and traditional cultural references. It could easily seem irreverent but more often the result is poignant, fresh, and fun.