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Turnbull is well known today both for his sculpture and his abstract paintings. Between 1950 and 1957 the fragmented head was a major theme in his paintings, reliefs and sculpture. He said that his paintings developed out of a desire to ‘imagine what a head would be if flat (squeezed between two pieces of glass like a micro-slide) and made of paint marks’. He later explained that the word ‘head’ had ‘meant for me what I imagined the word ‘landscape’ had meant for some painters – a format that could carry different loadings’.

July 2007