“A good painting is a number of coloured marks, made by hand, brush or roller, across a at surface, so that later a viewer can absorb emotional and intellectual energy from it. A good, or great, painter is simply a hard-working individual who has, over a period of time, produced many good paintings. By this reckoning, Gillian Ayres has to be one of our finest.” Andrew Marr, 2016
Alan Cristea Gallery presents a major exhibition by Gillian Ayres RA CBE (b. 1930), one of Britain’s most respected and best-loved post-war artists and a pioneer of abstract painting.
To coincide with this exhibition Art/ Books, in conjunction with the Alan Cristea Gallery, has published the definitive monograph on Ayres. Written by Martin Gayford it is the first major publication on the artist’s life and work in more than fifteen years.
Unconventional in life and in work, Ayres, who turned eighty seven in February, continues to forge her own individual path regardless of fashion or opinion. The preparation for this major celebration of Ayres’ work has brought to light an unseen monumental action painting from the early 1970s (pictured), and an archive of preparatory works, drawings, paintings, and unpublished photographs.
Never before seen early drawings are shown alongside a monumental painting, Untitled (Cerise), 1972, which is displayed for the first time since being made. Untitled (Cerise), is a rare example of a surviving painting from this period. These early works are shown alongside new paintings, dating from 2016, which use thick applied oil paint to create clear and defined edges and shapes, and a recently completed body of woodcut prints, works produced by an artist at the height of her powers and that are exuberant, vigorous and full of colour and energy.
The new monograph, Gillian Ayres, published by Art/Books in April 2017 spans Ayres’ six-decade long career. Featuring over 400 pages, and 200 illustrations, it includes a foreword by broadcaster and journalist Andrew Marr, and texts by author and art critic, Martin Gayford and David Cleaton-Roberts of the Alan Cristea Gallery. These are accompanied by previously unpublished photographs of the artist in the studio and at home.