Exposition Art Blog: Frank Avray Wilson - Action Painting

Frank Avray Wilson - Action Painting

"Born on the multi-cultural island of Mauritius in 1914, Avray Wilson came to Abstraction following years of scientific research into the source of human aesthetics. Having graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in biology in 1938, Avray Wilson used his scientific knowledge to further his painting. Once he discovered that colour is not matter but energy, that an image could be alive as a living cell under a microscope, and that human art-making is a reflection of Nature’s Art Making, Avray Wilson arrived at full abstract gestural painting during the early 1950s. His explosions of colour and shapes burst in strength and liveliness, and are in their dignity and abstract grandeur challenging our predisposed understanding of what art should be.
Avray Wilson himself commented on his scientific background:
'I studied biology hoping that it would provide me with an explanation of the wonder of life. But the claim that life was no more than a molecular mechanism, led me to join the ranks of 'vitalist' biologists, who recognised that life, like beauty, was a quality, not a thing. Artists do not usually need a justification for art. The power of art is convincing enough. But my scientific background obliged me to find an explanation of nature's art, which I felt sure would provide me with the firmest justification for human art.' Vitalism in biology implies a natural transcendental level, which is not material or spatial, the source of vitality. Here was also an explanation of nature's art, as the revelation of transcendental qualities in life and Nature. The artist's mind could be guided from the same source to create 'vitalistic' imageries.
'In aspiring to a vitalistic painting, biology had taught me the key importance of form in the expression of vitality. At profound molecular levels, vitally involved forms could be expressed in complex geometries, indicating that the visible 'organic' forms of life had a profound geometric basis."(whitfordfineart.com)

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