Abstraction

	Ralph Balson Construction in green 1942
  • 	Ralph Balson Construction in green 1942
  • 	Grace Crowley Abstract 1953
  • 	Roy de Maistre Seated figure c1936-37
  • 	Roger Kemp Revolving forms c1960-65
  • 	Tony McGillick Jasper’s gesture 1966
  • 	Tony Tuckson White lines (vertical) on ultramarine 1970-73

Questions and activities

  • Contemplate how these paintings from the Gallery’s collection make you feel. What does each work remind you of? Choose one example and imagine it coming to life. What type of ‘person’ would the artwork be? Write a story of his or her life and paint your interpretation of that person.
  • Consider the importance of colour in these paintings. Assess how some colours come forward and others recede in the composition. Create a colour wheel from the colours in these works and identify which colours are primary, secondary, complementary and opposite.
  • Describe the types of shapes and lines you see in these works. Note how the lines create a sense of movement. Collage a range of coloured geometric shapes and arrange them to form a composition that pleases you.
  • Describe the various types of marks you see in these paintings. Identify which works you think have been made using spontaneous gestures and which are carefully planned compositions. Create a series of gestural abstract paintings, then select and title the piece you think is the most successful.
  • Consider how these works from the collection may have been received when they were created. Do you think today’s audiences would react to these works in the same way? Investigate how abstraction was a response to technological developments in the early 20th century.