Posh, Kate and Amy get the Pop Art treatment

In the early 1960s, Gerald Laing became famous for his Pop Art pictures of Brigitte Bardot and Anna Karina. Four decades on, he has once again taken celebrity as his subject in a series of paintings of Amy Winehouse, Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham.

As with his early works, Laing's new paintings are based on "perfect" images of the stars from newspapers and magazines. It marks a shift from his recent work in which he used the medium of Pop Art to express horror at the conflict in Iraq and the images of torture from Abu Ghraib prison.

The portrait of Winehouse shows the troubled singer standing on a red carpet kissing her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil. It is entitled The Kiss, because Laing felt the pose resembled that in Auguste Rodin's sculpture of the same name.

While The Kiss is unmistakeably Winehouse, the painting of Kate Moss is far more abstract, showing a woman in a bikini with a flesh coloured sphere as a head, which recalls Laing's image of Bardot, in which a pink circle surrounds her face, as well as Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.

The painting of Victoria Beckham is also recognisably the Spice Girl, wearing a short blonde crop, sunglasses and a strappy sun dress.

Laing said: "The first paintings I did were of similar people at a different time in history. This is old territory but new subject matter."

He added: "There's so much about [Winehouse] that's fascinating. She's got massive talent and a very interesting personality. She's got quite a self-destructive streak and I find that interesting. We've all been self destructive at some point in our lives. It's like a kick in the face for mortality. It's a position that many very talented people have taken.

"Then there's her extraordinary body and clothes and her hair. It was something that I really wanted to capture."

With Moss, Laing got into a "visual riff, thinking about what I'd read and heard about her". He added: "It's for me amazingly sensual." The painting of Beckham is more figurative and formal.

The half-tone areas of black dots on a white background in Laing's paintings convey moral, humanistic issues, whereas the areas of flat colour represent more abstract qualities, he said.

He is now working on another painting of Winehouse, taken from a media image of her sitting with acolytes drinking champagne at an awards ceremony, which he is re-imagining as Rembrandt's Belshazzar's Feast.

He is also keen to turn his gaze on to some of the men in contemporary celebrity culture, so a painting of Pete Doherty may not be far off.

"I think an artist should be relevant," said Laing. "It's extraordinary the difference between the art press and real life. I always try to operate in real life."

Olivia Connolly, the director of the Ocontemporary gallery in Brighton which represents Laing, said: "The paintings are getting an absolutely phenomenal response. People are talking about Amy as Gerald's new Bardot. It's such a pop culture image. There are so many people trying to emulate Pop Art, but Gerald still has that lightness of touch. He's just as contemporary as he ever was."

Born in 1936 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Laing served as an officer in the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, before attending St Martin's School of Art. In the 1960s, he lived and worked in New York, but by 1969, disillusioned with America after the assassinations of John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King and the Vietnam War, he returned to the UK, where he settled in Scotland and devoted the next 30 years to sculpture.

In 2003, the "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq inspired Laing to return to Pop Art, using bold colours to create chilling images of the "war on terror".

Early in his career, many of Laing's paintings were quickly sold and disappeared from view he sold the Bardot painting to a fellow art student for 50. Now, he is keen to show his new work as widely as possible. Limited edition prints of each of the celebrity portraits are on sale at around 1,000 each.

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas