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Our People

Albert Irvin

Artist & Honorary Fellow (2012)

Albert Irvin became the inaugural Honorary Fellow of Arts University Plymouth in October 2012. Born on 21 August 1922, he celebrated his 90th birthday in 2012 and received the university’s first fellowship award in the same year, for outstanding achievement in visual arts practice.

Well-known for his exuberant, colourful painting and prints, Irvin’s extraordinary career was profoundly influenced by abstract expressionism. After experiencing the work of American painters Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko for the first time, Irvin described ‘a bomb going off’. Convinced that abstract art could stand in meaningful relation to your own perception of the world, Irvin developed his own expressive use of colour and abstracted simple forms, to create a visual language the mind can play in.

In August 2013, Irvin held Plimsoll, a solo exhibition at Arts University Plymouth (then Plymouth College of Art), exploring his personal relationship with the birth of abstraction in Britain from the late 1950s onwards. Sadly this was Irvin’s last show, and offered an insightful retrospective of his works and studies into the metaphysical quality of painting.

Irvin passed away aged 92, and will be remembered as a friend, an artist and as an inspiration to the world of contemporary art.

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