Albert Irvin, the British prolific painter, who has died on March 26, 2005 at the age of 92, started out in the 1950s as a figurative artist of the kitchen sink school, but after discovering Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko at a famous Tate exhibition in 1956 he reinvented himself as an exponent of a dazzlingly vigorous abstract expressionism, becoming one of Britain’s most respected abstract artists.
Irvin once described the experience of seeing the Tate exhibition as “like a bomb going off”. It convinced him that the challenge faced by his generation of artists was to try to paint truths about the world without depicting things; to discover whether it was possible to make paintings about reality without resorting to imitation. “Can I make a painting about a human being, about the human spirit, without having to paint noses and feet?” he asked.
He moved into abstraction because, like music, it represented pure experience; there was “no need for interpretation”. As a catalogue to a 2012 exhibition of his work at the Gimpel Fils gallery observed: “For over 50 years, his work has been predicated on the conviction that non-descriptive colours, shapes, brush marks and intimated space can directly express a sense of life in its most essential form.”
Link 1 (The Telegraph)
Link 2 (Gimpel Fils)
Link 3 (website of Albert Irvin)
Spring, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 in/ 152.4 x 121.9 cm:
Beacon II, 1994, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 60 in / 183 x 152 cm:
Trophy, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 91 x 60 in / 231.1 x 152.4 cm:
Rosetta, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 in/ 152.4 x 121.9 cm:
Emanuel II, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 in / 61 x 61 cm:
Andromeda, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 48 in / 76.2 x 121.9 cm:
Presence, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 60 in / 182.9 x 152.4 cm:
Tabernacle III, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 in / 61 x 61 cm:
Spring II, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 in / 61 x 61 cm:
Fidelio, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 84 x 120 in / 213.4 x 304.8 cm: