WHEN you think of pop art the mind flits to Andy Warhol’s image of a soup can or Roy Lichtenstein’s comic book-style prints.

But a new exhibition in Chichester is delving further into the influential art movement by focusing on the best British artists of the period.

In the 1950s and 60s the likes of Peter Blake, Eduardo Paolozzi, Colin Self and Richard Hamilton responded to a variety of social progressions with their vibrant, collage-esque work. The issues they addressed with their art included the rise of mass media, the cult of celebrity and increasing Cold War tensions.

The artists took inspiration from advertising, comics, science fiction and pop music to craft their intricate pieces, reflecting a rapidly-changing and mildly confused world. They also consciously operated at the meeting point between high and low culture, blending the boundaries between what was considered to be in “good taste” and what was perceived as vulgar.

Pop! Art In A Changing Britain features paintings, sculptures and prints created in the two decades after the Second World War. Pallant House Gallery holds one of the largest range of pop art-era paintings in the world and the exhibition also draws from international collections.

Of all the artists exhibited in the display, Peter Blake was perhaps most preoccupied by the concept of celebrity. In the 1960s popular culture was booming like never before and Blake’s work – most notably his pieces Girls With Their Hero and The Beatles – explore the public’s fascination with high-profile figures.

Colin Self, meanwhile, took global politics as the starting point for his celebrated work Waiting Women And Two Nuclear Bombers (main picture above).

There was widespread anxiety about the future of the world as the space race between the US and Russia escalated and this is reflected in Self’s painting Two Women Waiting And Two Nuclear Bombers. The glamorous women in the image foreground the ominous weapons behind them.

Joe Tilson, another artist featured in Pop! Art, was known for his prints of controversial political figures such as Che Guevara and Ho Chi Minh.

Post-war developments in technology allowed creatives to experiment in new and exciting ways, and the 50s was notable for the intersection between man-made art and machinery.

Nigel Henderson and Eduardo Paolozzi, whose images can be seen above, used printmaking devices to make pieces that comment on the role of the human in an increasingly tech-conscious society.

The exhibition is complemented by a display of six works by eminent artists of the age – Peter Blake, Michael Craig-Martin, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Gavin Turk and Rachel Whiteread – which have been donated to Pallant House by Frank and Lorna Dunphy (Frank was former manager to Damian Hirst).

This small collection show how the group known as the “Young British Artists” took on and expanded the pop art movement that had been born in America.

Pop! Art In A Changing Britain has been produced by Pallant House curators Claudia Milburn and Louise Weller.

An illustrated book accompanies the exhibition and is available at the bookshop. For more information on the book visit pallantbookshop.com