Gillian Ayres was one of the leading British abstract painters of her generation. Born in 1930, she studied at Camberwell College of Art between 1946-50 and worked initially in London, later moving to Wales and then to the border of North Devon - Cornwall. As well as the vibrant, heavily worked canvases for which she is best known, she was also a dedicated printmaker.
Gillian Ayres' first solo show was at Gallery One, London, in 1956, and her work has featured in many key group shows thereafter, including the Whitechapel Art Gallery's seminal British Painting in the 60s in 1965. Her solo shows include the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, 1981; Serpentine Gallery, 1983; the Tate Gallery, London, 1995; the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1997; Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, 2012 and at the National Museum Cardiff, Wales; Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Penzance and China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), China in 2017.
She held a number teaching posts including at the Bath Academy of Art, Corsham; St Martin’s School of Art, London, and at Winchester School of Art. In 1987 she was elected Royal Academician and in 1989 was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. Ayres was appointed a CBE in 2011. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the British Museum, Tate and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Yale Center for British Art, Connecticut.
Ayres died aged 88 on 11 April, 2018 in North Devon, England.
The Alan Cristea Gallery is the exclusive publisher and distributor of Gillian Ayres' original prints.
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