Gillian Ayres

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Lund Humphries, 2001 - Art - 191 pages
This is the first book on major British abstract painter Gillian Ayres, one of the most widely loved and respected of contemporary British artists. As a young artist in the 1950s, Ayres was closely involved with leading British abstract artists, including Roger Hilton. She was quick to respond to both European tachism and American Abstract Expressionsim, creating a body of work that placed her in the forefront of her generation. In London in the early 1960s she was the only woman artist represented in the important Situation exhibitions, showing large paintings combining oil and household paint that aimed for the natural sublime using the most radical drip and pour techniques of action painting. For many years from then on Ayres's career was marked by diversities of style and manner. In the 1960s she created glamorously decorative images in keeping with the hedonistic mood of the time, but by the early 1970s she had returned to an extreme and often austere painterly abstraction. Inspired by the painting of Hans Hofmann, Ayres returned to oil painting in the late 1970s and went on to develop a distinctively colourful and allusive style, creating some of the most richly sensuous images in recent British art. This book traces the creative career of a remarkable artist, placing it within historical, contemporary and critical contexts. With over a hundred and thirty colour reproductions of her paintings it is an essential contribution to the history of British art in the second half of the twentieth century.

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Corsham and the Sublime
Situation 1960
Into the Sixties

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About the author (2001)

Mel Gooding has previously authored books on Bruce McLean, John Hoyland, William Alsop, Patrick Heron, Terry Frost, and Gillian Ayres. He is currently Senior Research Fellow at Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland.

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