Gillian Ayres  (British, 1930) 


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Gillian Ayres, At This Stage


Gillian Ayres
At This Stage

Modern & Contemporary Prints
Past auction results (244)  View All
Gillian Ayres, Blue daze


Gillian Ayres
Blue daze, 1999
oil on canvas


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Gillian Ayres, The rock of Tamdown I


Gillian Ayres
The rock of Tamdown I, 2002
acrylic on canvas


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Gillian Ayres, Orange, Yellow, Black, Blue


Gillian Ayres
Orange, Yellow, Black, Blue
oil, bitumen and mixed media on board


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1930   Born Barnes, London, England; Educated at St. Paul's Girls' School, London
1949   First Young Contemporaries
1946 - 1950   Camberwell School of Art
1951   First Exhibited with London Group
1957   Commission for 80 ft panels at South Hampstead School
1958   Son James born
1951 - 1959   Worked part-time at AIA Gallery
1963   Japan Int'l Art Promotion Association Award
1959 - 1965   Teaching at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, England
1966   Son Sam born
1975   Arts Council of Great Britain bursary
1965 - 1978   Teaching at St. Martin's School of Art, London, England
1979   Arts Council of Great Britain Purchase Award
1978 - 1981   Head of Painting, Winchester School of Art
1981   Moved to North Wales
1982   Second Prize, John Moores Biennale Walker Art Gallery, London, England
1982   Elected to A.R.A.
1985   TV film for Open University on abstract with Norbert Lynton
1986   Awarded O.B.E.
1987   Moved to Devon. Elected R.A.
1988   The Blackstone Prize, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
1989   The Charles Wollaston Award, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
1990   The Blackstone Prize, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
1990   Korn/Ferry Prize, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
1991   Gold Medal, Seventh Triennale - India
1995   Joined Gimpel Fils, London
1995   Lives in London and Cornwall
  Ayres decided to become a painter at the age of fourteen, and studied at Camberwell School of Art from 1946-50, before running the AIA Gallery with painter Henry Mundy whom she married. During the entire period of her maturity as an artist she has produced abstract paintings of strong individual flavor owing both to European post-war abstraction and to American Expressionism. The former influence came indirectly through her meeting with Roger Hilton when he was experimenting with free abstraction. Of equal importance were photographs she saw of Jackson Pollock working on his paintings on the floor, which encouraged her to work without brushes and with physical movements unlike those of conventional easel painters.

In later years she continued to develop her almost instinctive approach to color, especially when in 1978 she turned from using acrylic to oil. In recent work she has sometimes continued to apply the paint until the surface gives way under the strain, but the colors retain their brilliance and individual quality.

Gillian Ayres' first solo show was at Gallery One in 1956, although she featured in many key group shows thereafter, for example Whitechapel Art Gallery's seminal British Painting in the 60s in 1965. Her solo shows however, are an impressive list: Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, 1981; Serpentine Gallery, 1983; the Tate Gallery, London (1995) and the Royal Academy in 1997. She has taught at St. Martin's School of Art and the Royal College of Art and was made an RA in 1991. Ayres's work has been exhibited in many group exhibitions in countries throughout the world since 1957, including France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, USA and Japan. She continues to exhibit regularly at Gimpel Fils, London and at the Alan Cristea Gallery, London. Gillian Ayres lives and works in Cornwall and London.

2002   FIAC, Paris, France (solo)
2002   'Featured Artist' at the Carlow Visual Arts Festival, Southern Ireland
2001   Alan Cristea Gallery, London, England (solo)
2001   Gilmpel Fils, London, England (solo)
1999   Gimpel Fils, London, England (solo)
1999   Alan Cristea Gallery, London, England (solo)
1999   De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill-on-Sea (solo)
1998   Storey Institute Gallery, Lancaster, England (solo)
1998   Group Show, Alan Cristea Gallery, London
1997   Sackler Galleries, Royal Academy of Arts, London- Toured to Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut; Iowa University Museum, Iowa (solo)
1997   Major retrospective planned, The RA London, England
1996   Gimpel Fils, London, England (solo)
1995   Solo Room, Tate Gallery, London, England
1995   Purdy Hicks Gallery, Purdy Hicks Gallery London, England
1991 - 1994   Solo tour of work, Seventh Triennale India
1993   Purdy Hicks Gallery, London, England (solo)
1993   City Art Galleries, City Art Galleries Manchester, England
1992   The Poetic Trace, Aspects of British Abstraction Since 1945, Adelson Galleries New York, NY
1991   Glasgow's Great British Art Show, Glasgow, Scotland
1991   Sole British Representative for the Seventh Triennale, India
1991   The Experience of Painting, South Bank Centre; Laing Art Gallery London; Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England
1991   Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts London, England
1990   Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, England
1990   Fischer Fine Art, London, England (solo)
1989 - 1990   Cornerhouse, Cornerhouse Manchester, England
1989 - 1990   Castlefield Gallery, Castlefield Gallery Manchester, England
1989   'Blasphemies, Ecstacies, Cries', Serpentine Gallery, London, England
1989   The President's Choice, Royal Academy of Arts, London, England
1989   Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, England- Toured to Fruitmakret Gallery, Edinburgh; Cornerhouse, Manchester; Castlefield Gallery, Manchester (solo)
1989   Fruitmarket Gallery, Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh, Scotland
1988   Drawings from Seillans, Knoedler Gallery London, England
1988   100 Years of Art in Britain, Leeds City Art Gallery Leeds, England
1988   Athena Awards, Barbican Arts Centre London, England
1988   The Presence of Painting: Aspects of British Abstraction, Mappin Art Gallery Sheffield, England and tour
1987   British Art in the Twentieth Century, Royal Academy of Arts; Staatsgalerie, London, England; Stuttgart, Germany
1987   Current Affairs, Museum of Modern Art Oxford, England and tour to Eastern Europe
1987   Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts London, England
1987   Knoedler Gallery, Knoedler Gallery London, England
1985   M. Knoedler & Co., New York, NY (solo)
1985   Summer in the City, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England
1984   As of Now, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
1984   Knoedler Gallery, Knoedler Gallery, London, England
1983 - 1984   Tolly Cobbold Eastern Arts 4th National Exhibition, Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, England
1983   Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, England
1983   Peter Moores Liverpool Project 7, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, England
1983   Retrospective, Serpentine Gallery, London, England- Toured to Barnsley, Penzance, Nottingham and Llandudno (solo)
1982   Knoedler Gallery, London, England (solo)
1981   Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, England- Toured to Rochdale, Birmingham and Glasgow (solo)
1980   'Hayward Annual', selected by John Hoyland, London, England
1979   Knoedler Gallery, London, England (solo)
1978   Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, England (solo)
1977   Galeria Alvarez, Porto, Portugal (solo)
1977   'British Painting 1952-1977', Royal Academy of Arts, London, England
1976   Women's Interart Centre, New York, NY (solo)
1976   William Darby Gallery, London, England (solo)
1974   British Painting '74, Hayward Gallery, London, England
1973   Hoya Gallery, London, England (solo)
1973   Oxford Gallery, Oxford, England (solo)
1971   'Large Paintings- Three Painters', Hayward Gallery, London, England
1969   Kasmin Gallery, Kasmin Gallery London, England
1967 - 1969   'British Painting: the New Generation', Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1967 - 1969   John Moores Biennale, Walker Art Gallery Liverpool, England
1967   'Recent British Painting', Peter Stuyvesant Foundation, Tate Gallery, London, England
1966   Aspects of New British Art, British Council Touring Exhibition New Zealand and Australia
1966   Midland Group, Nottingham, England (solo)
1966   Kasmin Gallery, Kasmin Gallery London, England
1965   Kasmin Gallery, London, England (solo)
1965   Hamilton Painters and Sculptors, Hamilton Gallery London, England
1964   Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, England (solo)
1963   Hamilton Gallery, London, England (solo)
1963   'British Painting in the Sixties', Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, England
1963   Seventh International Art Exhibition, Tokyo, Japan
1962 - 1963   'British Art', touring exhibition, Denmark
1962 - 1963   Situation, travelling exhib, Arts Council
1962 - 1963   'British Painting', San Francisco Museum of Art, CA; Dallas Museum of Art, TX; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA
1962   Molton Gallery, London, England
1961   'New London Situation', Marlborough Gallery, London, England
1961   Op and Pop, Stockholm, Sweden
1961   Focus on Drawing, Toronto, Canada
1961   Internationale Malerie, Aschaffenberg, Germany
1961   Opening Exhibition, Midland Group Gallery Nottingham, England
1961   John Moores, Liverpool, England
1960   'Situation', R.B.A. Galleries, London, England
1960   Art Alive, Northampton Museum of Art Northampton, England
1960   Guggenheim Award Paintings, RWS Galleries London, England
1960   Artist at Work, Midland Group Gallery Nottingham, England
1960   Contemporary Painting, Bristol City Art Gallery Bristol, England
1960   Molton Gallery, London, England (solo)
1959   'Premiere Biennale de Paris', Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris Paris, France
1959   The Gregory Collection, ICA, London, England
1958   'Three British Abstractionists', Whitworth Gallery, Manchester, England
1958   'New Trends in British Art', New York/Rome Foundations Rome, Italy
1958   Redfern Gallery, London, England (solo)
1957 - 1958   British Abstract Painting, Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand and Australia
1957   Kara Benson Gallery, Oslo, Norway (solo)
1957   'Metavisual, Tachiste, Abstract; Painting in England Today', Redfern Gallery London, England
1957   Peinture, Anglaise Contemporaine, Galerie du Perron Geneva, Switzerland
1957   La Peinture Britannique Contmeporaine, Salle Balzac Paris, France
1957   'Summer Exhibition', Redfern Gallery, London, England
1957   'Dimensions-British Abstract Art', O'Hana Gallery London, England
1957   'Peinture Anglaise Contemporaine', Musée des Beaux Arts Liege, France
1957   La Peinture Britannique Contemporaine, Galerie Creuze Paris, France
1956   Gallery One, London, England (solo)