In 1977 Ayres changed over to oil paint, manipulating it like strands of clay to build up thick iridescent surfaces where colours seem to merge into each other or waft outwards, as in Orlando furioso (1977–9; AC England). While such painting may evoke the shimmering floral confusion of late Monets, the directness of the handling – often the paint is pressed into place by hand – ensures a strong physical presence. From the late 1970s, Ayres's consistently lyrical abstract paintings began to emphasise the decorative role of the internal forms within simple formats, often square or circular in shape.
G. Williams: ‘Notes on Gillian Ayres', A. Int., xxiv/7–8 (1981), pp. 98–104, 160
Gillian Ayres: Paintings (exh. cat., ed. D. Elliott, text T. Hilton; Oxford, MOMA, 1981)
Gillian Ayres (exh. cat., text T. Hilton; London, ACGB, 1983)
JAMES FAURE WALKER
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