This is the fourth in a series of posthumous exhibitions at Waddington Galleries tracing the career of Patrick Heron. This exhibition shows the development of his gouaches over three decades: from his softer edged shapes in the 1960s to the looser, more lyrical style of the early 1990s.
Heron wrote that his gouaches were not a substitute for the oil paintings, nor were they preliminary sketches, but works in their own right. The combined fluidity and chromatic density of gouache allowed him to develop a new form of expression. The impact of his work in gouache can be seen in the fluent, fluid colour of his later oil paintings.
During the 1960s his gouaches displayed an opaque quality and explored as in his paintings - fields of colour containing soft edged squares, discs and shapes such as in ‘Four Square Complex (Reds with Lemon) : May 1968’. From the mid-1980s a looser handling of paint accompanied a lighter airier palette. Allowing the fluidity of the medium to lead his hand - especially in the amorphous abstract gouaches - rhythm and dissonance are embraced, as in ‘January 22 : 1989’. By the late 1990s careful balancing of colour on colour and the sensual flowing of colour into paper created the luminous, playful compositions, which display a multitude of colourshapes and colourforms.