William Gear was born 100 years ago in 1915 and so this exhibition celebrates his Centenary. Towner has a particular association with this British abstract artist as he was employed as curator at towner for a six year period from 1958 – 1964.
There are over one hundred works by William Gear to see in this show and the picture featured above is one of my favourites. Incidentally, this one is not included in the catalogue. The blocky black and white forms with very visible brushmarks are set on a green ground, overlaid with yellow, a shade that I associate with the fabric in the camper van I used to travel around in when I was young. I've often mixed yellow for painting purposes and for decorating and you can very easily end up with a disappointing green yellow combo that ends up going into the bin, nevertheless the green and yellow in this picture seem just right. Some of the green hues may be due to the mixing of black and yellow at the edges of the network of grey forms that radiate outwards from the center region of the canvas. It's a great painting.
The exhibition features his works from the late 1940's to the 1990's. Most of all, I liked the works painted in the 1950's and early 60's - the landscapes and painted structures which are nevertheless fuzzy edged and somewhat like camouflage patterns. William Gear was also a curator with an eye for other great abstract works, on the first floor there is a gallery that features paintings that he purchased for the towner collection. There are works by Peter Lanyon and Bryan Wynter to name just two.
William Gear 'The Painter that Britain Forgot' at towner is altogether, an unmissable exhibition.