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Drawing and Watercolour


Gouache, Paper


57.0 x 78.5 cm

Accession Number:



Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 2017/18

Ownership history:

Purchased from Alan Cristea Gallery by the Contemporary Art Society, 17 October 2017; presented to Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM), Exeter, 2017/18
Gillian Ayres was one of the leading British abstract painters of her generation. She was a pioneer of abstract art and one of the first artists in Britain to be influenced by American Abstract Expressionism and Colour Field painting. Her work is both powerful and lyrical. Shalimar #2 (2011) is typical of her work, with its vibrancy, uplifting colours and smooth, simple forms. Typical for Ayres, this work is not a direct response to a particular moment or subject. Her work is never taken directly from nature, instead her paintings use an extensive vocabulary of symbols. In Shalimar #2 seed heads and flowers are set against each other in a whirling chaos of juxtaposing geometric forms. This gift strengthens RAMM’s collection of abstract paintings and allows Ayres’s work to be viewed alongside her contemporaries Patrick Heron, Terry Frost, John Wells and Brian Rice. As one of our most significant post-war women abstract artists, her work begins to redress the historical dominance of the male artists within the collection.

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