reflects Barns-Graham’s interest in Golden Section proportions – a formal division of the canvas so the relationship between the smaller and larger parts is the same as the larger part to the whole. Painted in 1954, it demonstrates the artist’s move towards more geometrically-based paintings, something that first appeared in her work in the late 1940s and continued until much later in her career.
Date of work
Oil paint and graphite on hardboard 34 x 41.9 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.