DAVID PELHAM was Art Director at Penguin Books and created some of the publisher's most famous cover art. His 'cog-eyed droog'
for A Clockwork Orange has become an iconic image and is frequently cited as one of the best book covers of all time, while his series of paintings for
The Drowned World, The Terminal Beach and other JG Ballard titles are widely regarded as the definitive Ballardian artworks. His work has been exhibited
at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the V&A Museum in London and the British Library.
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Pelham first met Ballard through a mutual friend, the artist Eduardo Paolozzi, and greatly admired what he later described as Ballard's 'depictions of
technological and human breakdown and decay' and 'the romance of his apocalyptic imagery'. Pelham evokes this romance in his own art by 'seeing
the future as if it were already the past' and 'visualizing ruins created from the artifacts we are manufacturing now'. Yet the paradox of his
artifacts is that they are not in ruins. The subject is apocalyptic but the object is immaculate and the two are not easily reconciled. The world he depicts is both
familiar and unknown. Its barren wastelands and crepuscular skies hint at a world stripped of air, hence no sound, or wind, or dust to dust the pristine machines that
stand like tombstones in a twilight zone, silent epitaphs to an arrogant species. Pelham's art of the apocalypse is proof that romance isn't dead, and a
powerful endorsement of Ballard's assertion that 'the only true alien planet is Earth'.
Drawn with pop art precision and in vivid colours against black backgrounds, [David Pelham's] images strike the balance between surrealism and technology that Jim [Ballard] strove to attain. As illustrations to his work, they remain unsurpassed.
– John Baxter
In the same way as Edgar Allan Poe was to raise his obsession with death and disease to an aesthetic level, so Pelham aims to portray the inherent poetry of dereliction and decay. The result is a series of exceptionally complete and lucid paintings.
– Aune Rosemary Butt
TONY ROBERTS' science fiction painting Double Star was commissioned by Panther Books and used as cover art for Robert A Heinlein's « novel of the same name » in 1974. The painting received widespread media attention in 2000 when the Turner Prize nominated artist Glenn Brown appropriated it for his large-scale canvas « The Loves of Shepherds »
OLIVER BEVAN's Op Art paintings were influenced by the work of Josef Albers and Victor Vasarely and played on the viewer's visual perception through tonal flicker and figure-ground reversals. Cascade is one of his best-known works as it was used as a 'cut-up' for the covers of the « Fontana Modern Masters » series in 1970-71. A note on the back of the books explained they could be arranged to form Cascade or permutations of it, an ingenious cover concept that remains unique in publishing history.
BERTHOLD WOLPE is best known for his typeface and the cover art he created as Art Director at Faber and Faber. His use of and hand painted lettering is beautifully illustrated on Faber's vintage book jackets, where an idiosyncratic mix of bold colours, quirky aesthetics and supersized titles makes eye-catching cover art. Rendered in a style that was uniquely his own, they showcase some of his finest work and are now regarded as retro classics.
BRIAN ALDISS has written over sixty books, including the acclaimed science fiction novels Hothouse, Non-Stop and the Helliconia trilogy, as well as numerous short stories and several volumes of poetry. The visual arts have always been a private passion, with words streaming from one side of his brain inspiring images in what he calls 'the other hemisphere'. It is this that informs his abstract artworks, where silent perspectives of form and colour hint at enigmatic narratives, and reveal an artist whose pictures are as potent as his prose. Metropolis is a fine example, and was the centrepiece of his first solo exhibition in 2010.
BRIGID MARLIN was born in Washington DC and studied in Dublin, Montreal, New York, Paris and Vienna, where she learned the oil and egg tempera technique of the Flemish and Italian Renaissance painters Jan van Eyck and Giovanni Bellini. She has used the technique for most of her paintings, including The Rod, which won the 1974 'Visions of the Future' competition and was greatly admired by JG Ballard, who commissioned her to reproduce the Belgian surrealist Paul Delvaux's two 'lost' paintings The Mirror and The Rape. Her oil and egg tempera Portrait of JG Ballard is in the National Portrait Gallery, London.
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