Abstract Study I (1970)
Gouache & ink
Heath was born in Burma in 1920 and arrived in England aged five. In 1938 he studied art under Stanhope Forbes at Newlyn and later at the Slade School of Art.
While serving in WWII, he was captured and placed in a prisoner-of-war camp in Bavaria. Heath attempted to escape from the camp but was recaptured and placed in solitary confinement; this isolation proved crucial to the development of his artistic style, as he spent much of his time there experimenting with abstract forms. When released from confinement, Heath befriended a fellow prisoner of war: Terry Frost. Together they explored the methods of painting which they had developed during their time in the camps, and following the war both became celebrated artists. We have several Terry Frost pieces available too.
In 1949 and 1951, Heath returned to Cornwall. He spent time with artists like Ben Nicholson, Victor Pasmore, and Anthony Hill, and became the main link between the emerging St Ives School of artists and the British Constructivist movement back in London. He is further credited with promoting British abstract art through informal exhibitions in his studio on Fitzroy Street, as well as his manifesto-like text entitled ‘Abstract Art: Its Origins and Meaning’, which was published in 1953.
Over time, Heath’s paintings of abstract geometry and symmetry became increasingly dynamic and heavily textured, the result of layering paint on paint over the course of several days. Here, his colour palette surrenders to the compelling geometry of the painting’s abstract forms.
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