Like much of Wells’s work, this painting has a thick white ground, which is then overlaid with varied densities of grey-green colours to give a richly textured surface. The use of oils and pencils, as well as abrasion and incision, enhance the tactile quality of the work, and give it a rich depth.
Date of work
Original: Oil and graphite on wood 27.9 x 36.8 cm Tate © The estate of John Wells
John Wells was a major figure in the St Ives group of artists that were at the forefront of British modern and abstract art in the post-war period. He worked as a GP throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, only pursuing art as a career in his late thirties, when he moved to Newlyn, near St Ives in 1946. He remained in the town for the rest of his life, drawing inspiration from the dramatic landscapes and vast Atlantic vistas. His abstract paintings and sculptures are celebrated for their subtlety and controlled use of space and form.