Gillian Ayres

Gillian Ayres RA OBE was born in 1930 and died in 2018. Gillian Ayres studied at Camberwell School of Art, London (1946–50) alongside other well-known British painters such as Roger Hilton and Howard Hodgkin. She was best-known for her vibrantly-coloured abstract paintings and prints.

Ayres was inspired by photographs of the Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock painting with the canvas on the floor in a method known as ‘action painting’. In her own works, Ayres manipulates paint like strands of clay to build up thick textured surfaces where colours seem to merge into each other or waft outwards. If seen up close her finger and hand marks are visible.

“Sun, Stars, Dawn” is a very large-scale work painted at a time in Ayres’ career when she was experimenting with floral-inspired paintings. The title implies that it depicts a landscape, however there are no discernible figurative elements and the painting seems more like an exploration and enjoyment of pure colour and form.