‘If you know before you look, you can’t see for knowing.’ Terry Frost
‘Colour is like love, it choses you.’ John Hoyland
‘Music bought me to the realization that it was possible to say what it feels like to be a human being without having to paint noses and feet.’ Albert Irvin
‘I like the sun. I’m always looking at it. I live where I can see it rise in the mornings and set in the evenings. And I can see the moon out over the water. The moon is another fascinating thing for me. Sometimes I see a Black moon – that’s marvellous, and a blue moon is wonderful. And it is all there. It’s just a matter of letting yourself go and not having any inhibitions or preconceived ideas. You’ve always got to be ready to discover, to find out. There are always possibilities.’
Terry’s burning desire to become a painter came from 4 years of incarceration in a German POW camp. Inspired by the “birds so free and the trees and the clouds,” Terry turned a time of misery and despair into the seeds of something pure and positive with the encouragement of fellow prisoner and artist Adrian Heath. This was the start of six decades of imaginative exploration and innovative productivity…A ceaseless search for ‘pure belters’ and ‘absolute snorters’.
‘So many painters don’t understand colour. They make all the shapes the same size. My paintings are induced. By throwing and splashing paint you can get all the effects of movement. You can’t do that with a brush. They create a sensation of water or air. Life vitality. It’s an extension of Pollock with greater refinement. Put a blob of paint on a knife and throw them until they get right, as Pollock did. These little characters, these minute details, have their own little lives in the galaxy. They’re not about image really. This is what I like, that the paintings can be explored endlessly after the first impact. They’re not emblematic. The minor characters can be major characters.’
Hoyland is a maker of evocative images. His disposition to the grandly visionary-poetic is rare in English painting, as is the heroic scope of an ambition that takes him again and again to the very extreme of what painting might achieve.
‘Can I make a painting about human experience’, Irvin once asked, ‘without having to depict appearances? Can I paint the human spirit rather than noses and feet? Can I reveal the splendours and agonies of life through space, colour, light, shape, line, confrontation, rhythm and inflections in the paint?’
“even to those familiar with his work, seeing a new painting by Irvin can be an extraordinary experience akin to discovering a young, energetic artist in the first flush of ambition. Given the force of its restless energy, its freshness and the sense it communicates of an artist in love with his chosen activity, it is even more surprising to realise that this is the work of an artist in his late seventies.”