Wells used a Golden Section grid (a structure based on ideal proportions – roughly describing a ratio of 1:1.61) to divide the sections of this painting. Vertical and horizontal lines are intersected by curved, dynamic shapes, dominated by a bold golden curve. The name, which Wells gave the painting after it was competed, connects the abstract work to the natural world.
Sea Bird Forms
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on board 43 x 49.3 cm © Simon France
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.