Born in 1936, Gerald Laing attended the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst 1953-1955 and after a short army career attended St Martin’s School of Art between 1960-1964. After art school, Laing lived in New York for five years and then became artist in residence at Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, Colorado. Initially Laing was a Pop Artist and by the late 60s was known as a sculptor of minimal forms.
In 1969, during a period of disillusionment, he acquired and restored Kinkell Castle, on the Black Isle, in Scotland, eventually setting up a substantial bronze foundry there to handle his own work. By this time Laing had rejected abstraction for figuration, returning to the mainstream, but continually experimenting within in.
Laing’s teaching posts included visiting professor at University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, 1976-1977 and professor of sculpture at Columbia University, New York, 1986-1987. In 1978-1980, he was on the art committee of the Scottish Arts Council, and in 1987 was appointed commissioner on the Royal Commission for Fine Art for Scotland.
Laing has been shown internationally, having one man shows at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in 1963, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, in 1964; a string of exhibitions followed those, at the Richard Feigen Gallery in New York and in Chicago. In 1971, the Cincinnati Center for Contemporary Art held a retrospective exhibition, others following at Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry, in 1971, and the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, in 1993.
In 1995, Laing was commissioned to make eight dragons for Bank tube station and, in 1996, four bronze rugby players for Twickenham Stadium. The Tate Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and AlbertMuseum, Scottish Art Gallery and many other public collections in Britain and abroad hold Laing’s work. In 1996, Whitford Fine Art held an exhibition of 17 silkscreen prints made in New York, in 1968.