Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: In Perspective

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Janet McKenzie reviews the exhibition Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: In Perspective: The Late Works at Art First, London, on view through May 17, 2014.

McKenzie writes that Barns-Graham "was a key figure in the abstract movement in Britain yet it was only towards the end of her long and productive life that she received the critical attention she deserved… The last decade of her work, in spite of physical frailty, was a passionate outpouring and saw the production of possibly her finest work… it is hard to believe that a body of work marked as it was by experimentation, a sense of joyful freedom and youthful vitality has taken so long to be widely recognised… scholar Martin Kemp, who knew her well, identifies harmony and an identifiable mathematical order in her work: 'order and disorder, regularity and irregularity, singularity and plurality, simplicity and multiplicity, edgy contour and fluid colour, the wonder of viscous substances, thick and thin, congealed and runny, patterns of process that transcend object, scale and material, and, above all, the interdependence of motion and emotion'. The harmonic opposites that are constantly embedded in image give the work of Barns-Graham a remarkable energy and immensely satisfying balance."

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