The legacy of the British abstract artist, William Gear is revived in a retrospective, William Gear (1915-1997): The Painter that Britain Forgot at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne. Accordingly titled, the exhibition reminds Britain of Gears pioneering nature, featuring over 100 works chronologically unveiling his early life drawings through to his increasingly abstract, colourful paintings. Heralding Gears pivotal place in British history, Rachel Campbell-Johnston likens him to the first painters to bring postwar abstraction to Britain. Despite its ‘increasingly intellectual abstraction’, the exhibition is engaging, striking bold sparks of colour capturing the viewer’s imagination. Gears intrinsic connection with nature is highlighted by the critic Andrew Lambirth who writes, ‘his work is about the meaning that memory bestows on a landscape, about imagery moving from the specific (the thing seen) to the universal (the painted form)’. Gears work creates both an immediate and more profound response, the visual aesthetics ensuring that he is not an artist to be confined to the scrapyard.
William Gear (1915-1997): The Painter that Britain Forgot is running at the Towner Gallery until 27 September.