One of Britain’s most significant abstract painters, known for her huge vibrant canvases bursting with colour. Inspired by abstract expressionist art in the United States, Ayres painted in a lyrical, gestural, non-geometric abstract style that stood in contrast to the hard-edge forms of her contemporaries. Never didactic, her oeuvre illustrates an artist constantly experimenting with the possibilities of paint.
“My paintings are about painting, about shape and colour, not telling stories,” Ayres has said. Her work, created by layering thick layers of pigment, draws on a variety of styles and art historical movements. “The paintings are not a direct response to any particular moment or subject,” the artist has noted. “I don’t expect people to all have the same feeling when looking at them. Like looking at art, what inspires one is very personal, and sometimes one doesn’t know or doesn’t want to reveal where it comes from.”
Ayres was honoured with the Royal Academician in 1991 and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2011 for her contribution to British painting. Her work is currently held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Gallery in London.