The Gathering Storm

For a short but precious time, this unique exhibition uncovers some of the events, installations, sculptures, images, drawings, and ideas behind Storm Thornton's 40-year career as one of the pioneers of original commercial design with timeless and art that can be recognised from anywhere. Taking the time and using this opportunity to look back on his work as an artist not only allows us to access a new level and appreciation of the art but offers unique insight into the otherworldly and incongruous work Storm is carrying out today. The exhibit ran at Idea Generation, London, from the 1st of April 2010 to the 2nd of May 2010.

Thorgerson found himself living an incredibly colourful and excellent life, straight off the bat, he found himself in school with people like Syd Barrett, Roger Waters and David Gilmour, the founders and members of the band he later went to make arguably the most widely recognised and famous cover art of all time.
Between the 60s and 90s Thorgerson went between shifting groups and organisations with other artists and producers, each making their own impact and influences as big as the last. In 1968, alongside Aubrey Powell founded Hipgnosis, a design art group that specialised in making cover and album art for rock musicians, with Peter Christopherson joining them for their later commission. After fifteen years the group dissolved, but the original two moved on to make formed Greenback Films where they started producing music videos. Finally, he had started an organisation called StormStudios, where he gathered freelance artists of all sorts to continue making, printing and publishing art and cover art.
As the art and teams developed, Thorgerson's distinctive style stayed true to his style and throughout all of the work he produced, with a notable surreal nature being pronounced. More often than not, you would find in most of the work that he placed objects out of their traditional contexts, especially with ample spaces around them, to give them an awkward appearance while highlighting their beauty. To quote Thorgerson, "I like photography because it is a reality medium, unlike drawing which is unreal. I like to mess with reality ... to bend reality. Some of my works beg the question of is it real or not?". Proceeding, Thorgerson and his team further collected their art together and released books surrounding their work, the first being in 1989, being named "Classic Album Covers of 6's", and the last being "The Gathering Storm – A Quartet in Several Parts", this being the last book he and his team worked on just before his death in April 2013. The book was released five months after his passing in September 2013 and includes album covers artwork, photographs, and anecdotes, spanning five decades from his early work with Hipgnosis through to StormStudios.

As well as delving into Storm and his team's reality, we got to appreciate the creativity, work and effort that went into designing, setting up and manipulating objects to make the photos and art from everything down to behind the scenes shots of painting subjects, setting up sets, test shots and the before picture to the final edit of a masterpiece. Around the gallery laid all of Thorgerson's life, the work from each age and stage of his career and his passion all laid out on each wall for people to walk through and see just how magnificent and truly expert his eye was and visualise his impact on today's day and age art not only on the album and covert art but in all concepts art and sculpture work. One of the best highlights of the exhibit will differ from person to person, but something that really strikes another level for his art is seeing the behind the scenes and the setting up and real scenes of him slowly building his vision. In things as simple as watching his crew tying guitars to trees in a forest, or seeing the painted ladies smile and laugh with the artists painting them, seeing the before, simple picture before the irregular, abstract and surreal editing gets put into place makes you remember just how incredibly talented he is, that he had a vision and took great patience and pleasure in finding beautiful shots and breathtaking bases for his amazing ideas without manipulating it and simply incorporating natural beauty.

Pairing this with something as valuable as his art resulted in a truly unforgettable event for fans of his and art admirers. Idea generation's vision of this exhibit entirely made this experience engaging and memorable for all people, with ranging experiences from still prints of his art to a series of live, interactive events, one of which being a live construction of his most famous album cover, Dark Side Of The Moon.

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