Artist(s): Gillian Ayres
Author(s): Andrew Marr & Martin Gayford
Year published: 2017
Total Pages: 506
Illustrations: colour throughout
This beautifully produced volume is the definitive monograph on an artist described by contributor Andrew Marr as ‘probably the finest abstract painter alive in Britain’. Now in her late eighties, Gillian Ayres has been celebrated for more than six decades for her use of vibrant colour and bold forms to create exuberant compositions full of movement and energy. Unconventional in life and in work, she has forged her own individual path regardless of fashion or opinion.
Not wishing to conform or to be categorized in any way, she has adopted a variety of styles and techniques throughout her career. In the 1950s, she applied oils and household paint with rags and brushes, and by pouring and squirting, in gestural works reminiscent of European tachiste painting and American abstract expressionism. In the 1960s, she created light-filled images in oils or acrylics in keeping with the hedonistic and optimistic mood of that time. In the 1970s, she approached the canvas as an expanse to be filled with an extreme and painterly alloverness. Later in that decade and into the 1980s, she began to use thick and heavy impasto in carefully designed arrangements; and in recent decades, she has developed a distinctive style of simplified organic motifs and areas of flat yet intense colour.
Coinciding with a major retrospective exhibition at the National Museum Wales in Cardiff, this book spans her long career, from her student days to the most recent works. It includes all of her major paintings, and a dedicated section on her substantial body of prints. It also features many previously unpublished photographs of the artist in the studio and at home and other ephemeral materials, making the publication the complete word on this acclaimed and original artist’s life and work.