Audio transcript

Arshile Gorky 'Waterfall'

Narrator: Arshile Gorky's 'Waterfall' of 1943 is a chaotic composition of tumbling shapes and colours. It was painted following a summer spent drawing from nature in the countryside of Connecticut. Gorky, an Armenian-born artist who fled to America from Turkish oppression, was greatly influenced by European Surrealists. In this painting thin washes of colour applied with loose brushwork create flashes of light that collide and cascade towards pools of murky green at the base of the composition. This energy evokes the feeling of a rushing torrent of water. However, there are other, more mysterious shapes in the painting that not only suggest the influence of artists like Joan Miro, but may hint at the deeper, turbulent emotions that led Gorky to commit suicide just four years after this work was completed.