Edna Ginesi



Not on display

Edna Ginesi 1902–2000
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1015 × 1270 mm
Presented by Mrs Hazel McKinley 1964

Catalogue entry

Everglades 1964


Oil on canvas
1015 x 1270 (40 x 50)

Inscribed in black paint, 'E. Ginesi 64' b.r.

Presented by Mrs Hazel McKinley (formerly Mrs Hazel King-Farlow) 1964

Purchased from the artist by Mrs Hazel McKinley 1964

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy, London 1964 (372)

Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, Tate Gallery: The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, I, London 1964, p.238

The artist told the Tate Gallery in 1964 that Everglades was painted in Britain during 1963-4.1 It was, she said, 'the result of two visits to Florida where I made many drawings. I found the Keys & the underdeveloped areas the most exciting place I had ever been to. I have visited it both in summer and winter'. In a later conversation, she said that her most recent visit to Florida, from which this painting derived, had been c.1958.2 The Keys are a series of islands along the Florida coast and the Everglades a large marshy area of Southern Florida. In a recent interview, the artist explained that she and her husband would reach the Everglades in a borrowed car and then travel through on foot along a network of raised paths or, she said, you 'forced your way through on a punt'.3 She recalled the sense of adventure in visiting the area: 'You can go along a path and there'll be an alligator down there ... it's quite exciting and it's more so when you get more into the woody part.' Ginesi and Coxon had first visited America in 1947 when they were invited by Grace and W. Bryant Mumford, their friends and patrons who had moved from Sussex to New England early in the war. On that occasion they visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona. They made numerous further visits, particularly to New England and Florida.

Ginesi employed a range of techniques in the painting of Everglades. Close examination of the work reveals that the oil paint was rubbed into the primed canvas in some areas and applied thickly in others. The watery effects at the bottom have been achieved by applying paint, wiping it off and applying more with a knife. The artist said that these techniques reflected a 'response that you would feel in the Everglades. It's water water everywhere ... it's a mush'.4 She thought it noteworthy that she and her husband had always lived by water, even staying by a lake whilst in New England. The variation of surface gloss reflects the fact that the painting was worked on over a prolonged period of time.

Everglades is constructed from a network of interlocking plant forms amid which two herons may be identified. Birds are a common motif in Ginesi's work but these two originated from her memories of the specific place. 'In Florida', she said, 'we just sort of sat up in bed like that and there were heron and things all in the water. It was wonderful, you could just sit quietly there and watch nature playing about'.5

The painting's bold colouring falls into two rough areas separated by a diagonal running from the top left to the bottom right hand corner. The bottom left area is largely made up of dark blues and greens, strong purples and cadmium; the upper right half, in contrast, consists largely of ochres, pale blues and pinks. A bold orange area at the point of maximum recession reflects Raymond Coxon's much earlier interpretation of Cézanne's use of colour. Cézanne, he wrote in Art: An Introduction to Appreciation (1932), 'noticed that warm colours such as yellow and orange could be used to bring forms near, while cool colours such as blue and violet tended to give the impression of recession'.6

The 40 x 50 inch format of Everglades was one often employed by Ginesi and Coxon, particularly in their later work. They used standard sized canvases so they could use a single frame to set a newly finished painting apart from its surroundings. A large number of exhibition labels on the frame of Everglades relate to a number of other paintings and reflect this practice.

Chris Stephens
March 1996

1 Letter to Tate Gallery, 27 Sept. 1964, Tate Gallery catalogue files
2 Conversation, 29 Sept. 1964, Tate Gallery catalogue files
3 Interview with the author, 7 Feb. 1996
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.
6 Quoted in Raymond Coxon: Retrospective Exhibition, exh. cat., Stoke-on-Trent City Museum and Art Gallery 1987, p.2

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