belongs to Barns-Graham’s late period. Techniques she had developed earlier in her career – including the use of flattened forms and a muted palette – are here employed to evoke a powerful sense of movement and atmosphere. The simplicity and elegance of the eight chalk lines demonstrate her ability to reflect the chaos of nature within a formal structure.
Eight Lines, Porthmeor
Date of work
Chalk on paper 34.5 x 62.7 cm © Barns-Graham Trust
Born in St Andrews, Scotland, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham moved to St Ives in 1940, where she became an influential figure in the group of modernist artists based in the town. Her paintings fused abstraction with representational imagery, often inspired by the dramatic Cornish landscapes and other places she visited. She was concerned with capturing the emotion of a place; of describing not just the formal qualities of landscape but the feelings evoked. From the 1960s, her work became markedly abstract, defined by strong geometric forms and a powerful dynamism. Later paintings were freer and more expressionistic.