Gillian Ayres – National Museum Cardiff 2017

During a tutorial, I was told to just go and see this work which I didn’t however, during the critical writing workshops with Jonathan I stumbled into the space in the museum that had Ayres work on display and I immediately fell in love. They way she piles layers and layers of paint using delicious colours that completely each other creates an abstract work that is large and striking.

In the brochure supplied by the Museum, it tells us not to “read Ayres work so literally” because it means it would be a “misinterpretation” as the titles for the work is chosen after the work has been made. It also tells us that many of these paintings done in the 50s were inspired by the countryside of Snowdonia, clearly something you wouldn’t be able to tell when you first look at the work. Although this is the first thought of the work, you can see the natural colours in the work which shows a representation of the mountains Ayres climbed during this time. The way the layers have been built up leaving surfaces that are rough and ‘glupey’ producing an earthly feel and giving an aura of freedom making you feel peaceful and happy, emotions that Ayres would have had from escaping London.

Why does this have an importance to me? I don’t know, they just grab my attention. How colour interaction is an importance to my work. Not the concept but the colours. The contrasts and juxtapositions that are forged are elements that can be played within my own practice. These can be formed in either research or development in work towards the final outcomes I plan on creating.


Out of all of the exhibition, there was one section that I had a particular interest in and this being the mixed-media drawings Ayres created alongside her paintings which are playful, experimental and just shows the energetic artist. I explore this in my next post about the artist: Mixed Media – Gillian Ayres.



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