As one of the most celebrated abstract British artists of her generation, Gillian Ayres boasts a lifetime of work that stands out as being colorful, bold, and even pleasantly chaotic. For such a successful artist, Gillian Ayres certainly had an imperfect childhood. She didn’t even learn to read until she was eleven. However, while attending St. Paul’s Girl School in Hammersmith, in West London, England, she developed a love for art that would give her passion for carrying her throughout her life.
At the onset of her painting career, Ayres painted mainly with thin acrylics but ended up switching to heavy oils later in life. She manipulated the oils by hand and turned them into strong, thick shapes that burst from a heavily worked canvas, ultimately achieving strong visual impact and a feeling of strength that many admire.
Ayers has quite beautiful and interesting names that she gives to her works such as “Blueberry Hill”, “Stardust”, and “Apt. No. 3.” Interestingly, Ayres assigns names to her paintings after they are complete. She chooses names that fit the mood of the piece, but always paints from a subconscious place in her soul.
The wonderful thing about Ayres’ work and abstract art, in general, is that there are so many interpretations that the viewer can take away from the art. What looks like a neon cactus to one person can be an infinite number of possibilities to another. Perhaps Ayres can remind us to have fun when interpreting our art and not to judge our work too quickly. Who knows what the final result will be? If we follow our instincts, and let go of fear, we too can paint, dream and create boldly.