30 October - 22 November 2001
LONDON Main Gallery
This is quite a year for Wilhelmina Barns-Graham! The New Year Honours List announced that she had been awarded a CBE; the Carlow Arts Festival, Ireland, invited her to exhibit there in June; the Crawford Art Centre, St. Andrews launches a touring exhibition on 30 August; the book on her life and work Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: A Studio Life, written by Lynne Green, published by Lund Humphries arrives in November; and her next London exhibition of new paintings at Art First opens on 30 October. Not bad for an artist who at 89 is into her stride and making waves.
This is a good time to be looking at Barns-Graham's paintings. She is creating some of the best work of her life and painting with an energy and bravura which belie her years. The range of images is diverse, an ever-changing kaleidoscope in which the wonderful colour and movement of the patterns is constantly extended. It is clear that she is making some of the most exciting abstract paintings to be found anywhere.
Born in St. Andrews in 1912 Barns-Graham studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art. She moved to St. Ives in 1940, quickly connecting herself with the growing community of artists that was to include Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Naum Gabo. Apart from a short period in the late 1950s she has lived there ever since. She is currently the most senior living member of the St. Ives Group. Her exhibition at the Tate St Ives in 1999/2000 was seen by a record number of visitors.
Barns-Graham is represented in major collections including the Tate Gallery, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the British Museum, the British Council, the Government Art Collection, Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, and Manchester City Art Gallery.
An illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition with an introduction by John McEwen.
The book Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: A Studio Life by Lynne Green will be available from 6 November, price £35. A special signed and numbered, limited edition with an original screenprint will be available at £375. Please call the gallery for further information.