No Set Rules exhibition

Ben Uri past exhibition

A century of selected works

15th April 2015 – 9th August 2015

From the Schlee Collection Southampton and the Ben Uri Collection London, a collaborative exhibition with Southampton City Art Gallery which explores the limitless possibilities of working on paper.

drawing from Ben Uri Collection

This exhibition brought together selected works from the Philip Schlee collection of drawings, prints and paintings by artists working in Britain between 1920 and 2004 with resonant works on paper from Ben Uri’s own collection.

Celebrating the richness and diversity of each collection, No Set Rules showed 49 works by 37 artists, seven of whom – Frank Auerbach, David Bomberg, Jane Joseph, Leon Kossoff, Michael Rothenstein, Glenn Sujo and Edward Toledano – are represented in both collections.

The works cover a wide range of subject matter, techniques and practice, moving from figuration to abstraction to explore 100 years of expression on paper.


Other artists included Craigie Aitchison, Gillian Ayres, Sandra Blow, Christopher Le Brun, Roger Hilton, David Hockney, Peter Lanyon, Sarah Lightman, Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, Elisabeth Tomalin and John Virtue.

No Set Rules aimed to initiate dialogues, grouping teachers, students, collaborators and strangers, and juxtaposing masters of monochrome with creators of dazzling sweeps of colour to show that drawing doesn’t necessarily begin or end with a pencil. This exhibition proves, as David Hockney once observed, ‘there are no set rules in drawing’.


Image credits: Frank Auerbach, Study for Mornington Crescent, Summer Morning II, 2004, crayon on paper, 31 x 31 cm, © The Artist. Ben Uri Gallery & Museum Collection; Gillian Ayres, Untitled (Abstract), pastel & charcoal on paper, 45.7 x 49.8 cm 1962/63. Reproduced courtesy Gillian Ayres. Schlee Collection, Southampton; Leon Kossoff, Christ Church, Spitalfields, Spring, 1992, etching and aquatint on paper, 84 x 64 cm, © Leon Kossoff. Ben Uri Gallery & Museum Collection.

Photos from the private view can be seen in our No Set Rules facebook event

Southampton City Art Gallery

Southampton City Logo

The No Set Rules catalogue is available from the Ben Uri shop, published by Ben Uri (2015), edited by Sarah MacDougall and with colour Illustrations.

Hardback and paperback versions are available.

Cover of the No Set Rules catalogue