Heraldry: Gerald Laing

2 February - 25 March 2023

Palo Gallery is pleased to present Heraldry, Gerald Laing’s first posthumous New York exhibition, which features the artist’s renowned paintings from the 60’s and 70’s as well as his later exploration of 2000’s culture through the lens of Pop Painting. The exhibition marks a homecoming for Laing, whose New York studio was located on Bond Street, just down the block from here. 


In his Bond Street studio Laing explored a unique perspective on Pop Art inspired by medieval heraldry. He searched for 1960s equivalents of knights, dragons, and queens, and their respective icons. He found his knights in dare-devil race car drivers and astronauts on their missions to outer space. He found his queens among feminine starlets, most notably Brigitte Bardot. 


Over forty years later, after exploring various forms of sculpture, Laing returned to his original mode of expression to address a new era and the “heraldry” that reflected it. At the time, one icon particularly enraptured Laing: Amy Winehouse, whose personal and professional dramas dominated the cultural conversations. The artist was captivated by the tragic heroine who stood so powerfully in opposition to the destructive forces brought upon her. Laing explored Winehouse’s drama through the same tabloid photos that often tormented her. The artist attempted to return narrative agency to Winehouse while simultaneously holding up those tabloid shots as symbols of a rapidly changing era.    


Heraldry is a rediscovery of the British Pop artist's time in New York and his late life cultural explorations as well as an examination of the lenses through which we consider and represent our society and its icons.