Gorgeousness by Gillian Ayres

Hello Everyone – I want to introduce you to my new Art History blog series. Every Friday I’m going to share a piece of Art from contemporary and modern Artists that I love or admire. Having studied Art History for over 6 years - looking at and observing Art is not only hugely important to my understanding of the world, but also to the development of my own creative practise. This year I want to explore the techniques and styles of my favourite artists and use the inspiration to evolve my own practise - whilst staying true to my stylistic principles of bold use of colour and pattern. Hopefully you guys will love seeing some old favourites and maybe I’ll introduce you to some new paintings and Artists as well.

I have chosen to start with an all time favourite, the late great, Gillian Ayres (1930-2018). Gillian was one of Britain’s most significant abstract artists, who painted on a vast scale using thick, impasto layers of paint, which added an edible quality to her pieces. She was hugely influenced by the dynamism and energy of the American Abstract Expressionists including Jackson Pollock and looked to Henri Matisse for colour and collage techniques. Ayres draws inspiration from everyday objects and shapes including ice cream, shells, seaweed, rainbows and cakes. Perhaps it’s the undercurrents of cake and cream which realise themselves in paint - that make me love her work!

I wanted to discuss this gorgeous painting ‘Marista’ which I first came across at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2018. I was completely captivated by the enormity of the canvas, which fully immerses you into her mesmerising world of swirling hearts and organic shapes. You can clearly see the influence of Matisse like shapes and patterns all whirling around in a playful flow of colours. Looking at her work more broadly it’s so playful and free and bursting with colour and energy. She paints a melange of known and unknown objects - big bright sun shapes, abstracted flowers and foliage, love hearts and patterns. Her paintings are almost a dreamscape of her inner world.

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