Exposition Art Blog: Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham  (1912 –2004) was one of the foremost British abstract artists, a member of the influential Penwith Society of Arts.Through the course of her life Wilhelmina Barns-Graham's work generally lay on the divide between abstract and representational, typically drawing on inspirations from landscape. From as early as the age of eight Barns-Graham had been creating abstract shapes with coloured chalks. From 1940, when she arrived in Cornwall, her pictures are exploratory and even tentative as she began to develop her own method and visual language. The influence of St Ives then starts to arise, to take hold as local shapes and colours appear in the images - the Cornish rocks, landscape and buildings. Perhaps the most significant innovation at this time derived from the ideas of Naum Gabo, who was interested in the principle of stereometry - defining forms in terms of space rather than mass. Barns-Graham's series of glacier pictures that started in 1949, inspired by her walks on the Grindelwald Glacier in Switzerland, reflect the idea of looking at things in a total view, not only from the outside but from all points, including inside. In 1952 her studies of local forms became more planar and two dimensional, but from the mid-1950s she had developed a more expressionist and free form attitude following journeys to Spain.Wikipedia

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