Sir Terry Frost 1915 - 2003


Waddington Galleries, London


Possibly Manchester, 1955 Australia, British Council, Recent Paintings by Seven British Artists, 1959, no. 15 South America, and toured to East Africa, British Council, Paintings by Six British Artists, 1960-2, cat no. 14


Painted in 1955 when Frost was in the middle of his two-year stint as a Gregory Fellow at Leeds University, this work represents an intriguing mixture of artistic concerns and landscape inspirations. On the one hand there are, for example, the melon-slice arc shapes, falling rhythmically down the centre of the canvas, which are characteristic of his St Ives’ paintings from the early 1950s and which relate to his sensations of watching the boats rocking at their moorings in the harbour. On the other hand, there is the quite different range of colours Frost uses here: fierce reds and yellows held together with powerful, predominately vertical black lines, which reflect his first experiences of the tough, uncompromising Yorkshire Dales landscape. Compared to the blues and greens of his Cornish paintings this represents a major shift in Frost’s work though he had experimented with these colours earlier in a one-off work painted in St Ives in the summer of 1951 entitled Yellow Day. The artist recalls: 'It was a very hot summer with heat which seemed to vibrate off the earth and the granite rocks. The air was very still; even sand seemed to vibrate. One couldn’t copy what one saw. Could I find colours to convey the idea? I had been studying Analytical Cubism, so I began working in panels. This enabled me to paint flat within each area. Yellow, red and black are strong together. The black lines between the areas began to vibrate. I got the rhythm of the light and the hot feeling of sunlight moving around until we get to the magical areas of dry heat. This is how one arrives at a reality no one else knows anything about until that person experiences the force of the painting itself in its colour, its form, its tactile surfaces and its scale.'