THE ENIGMATIC ART OF PETER LANYON

Peter Lanyon 1918-1964 was one of the St Ives Group of artists whose work emerged from the landscape of his native Cornwall, with its history of mining disasters and shipwrecks. His work is highly enigmatic, incorporating hidden meanings and private narratives that can be deciphered with the help of notes by the artist. Much of his work in the 1940s-1950s anticipated the work of the American Abstract Expressionists, with affinities to work produced on the continent by Art Informel artists such as Jean Fautrier, Jean Dubuffet and Nicolas de Staël, whose work encapsulated the anxieties of the post-war age. Lanyon was initially influenced by the constructivism of Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo, but he developed his own highly expressive style of painting between representation and abstraction, landscape and the human figure, myth and reality. In 1959 Lanyon took up gliding and his final paintings are powerful gestural works inspired by the experience of flight.  He died aged 46 after crashing his glider.


Colin Pink is a writer and art historian who studied History of Art at Birkbeck, University of London and has lectured on aspects of modern art for a wide range of organisations, including Morley College London. He has curated contemporary art exhibitions at Thameside Studios in London and also writes fiction, plays and poetry. His plays have been performed in London, New York City and Berlin and he has published two full-length books of poetry.