Gillian Ayres CBE
Oil on canvas
Helios was bought with the aid of grants from The Art Fund and MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund in 1991. The painting is held at Leeds City Art Gallery which is in public ownership.
A plaque beside the painting reads:
Although not a Gregory Fellow, Ayres was the only woman to be included in the important 'Situation' exhibitions of British abstract art held between 1960 and 1963, that launched a new generation of abstract painters to the public.
This later work shows her abiding interest in European 'Tachism' and American Abstract Expressionism which inspired her to create a form of abstraction committed to the self-sufficiency of the painted image. One of her principal guidelines is that the act of painting be a 'condensation of sensation and perception', a creative experience for both the maker and the viewer.
In Greek Mythology the sun was personified as Helios, though as the artist herself has said: "I like titles and care for them but they do not describe the paintings."
Article By: Dave Roberts
First Published: 13 April 2011
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