The Easel

Gillian Ayres: Abstract painter whose work was rooted in the beauty and colour of the real

The Tate’s 1956 show of American abstraction got a hostile public reception, but Ayres found it inspirational. To be more specific, she loved its energy and use of colour, not the angst associated with its American founders. She said “‘I love obscurity in modern art. I don’t want a story.” The obituarist’s view of her work is similar: “decorative unruliness … large, loud, fierce and bold”.