Created in 1960, the year of Wells’s first solo exhibition in London, this mixed media work is more expressionistic than the tightly controlled geometric compositions of this period. The densely textured surface and use of different materials to create a sense of depth is, however, typical of the artist’s method. The red, brown and orange colouring evokes the iron-ore stained cliffs of Cornwall.
Date of work
Original: Ink, acrylic paint and graphite on paper 25.5 x 38 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.