The acclaimed British artist Patrick Heron (1920–99) is being celebrated in this retrospective exhibition, the first major show of his work for twenty years at Tate St Ives. One of the most significant and innovative figures in twentieth century British art, Heron played a major role in the development of post-war abstract art.
This exhibition – spanning over fifty years of work from 1943 to 1996 – provides a rare opportunity to experience the scope and ambitious scale of Heron’s painting as well as his consistent attachment to the subject of colour. In 1962 he explicitly claimed that ‘colour is both the subject and the means; the form and the content; the image and the meaning, in my painting today.’
Heron’s abstraction is a direct response to the light, colour and shape that he encountered every day. An art of pure visual sensation, his paintings are the result of his experience of looking acutely at the world and though they do not represent the garden and landscape surrounding his home and studio in Cornwall, those forms resonate in his painting in fundamental ways.