Abstract Pink and Brown
By George Melhuish

Oil Painting
Subject Matter
Reg. Number
210 x 127.5 cm

This abstract painting uses vertical dabs of oil paint and a consistent colour scheme to create a clear and uninhibited composition. The use of bold strokes of pink and brown paint across the canvas contrasts with the blue-green streak on the right side, giving depth and integrity to the piece.

Melhuish uses the canvas as a mixing palette, adding different hues of oils, using an Edwardian table knife as a palette knife to convey a sense of Freedom and dynamic expression and demonstrate his expertise with lines and colour.

George William Seymour Melhuish was a painter and a philosopher. Born in Bristol in 1916, he spent his formative years in London between the wars, where he met avant garde artists such as the sculptor Jacob Epstein and the painter and writer Oskar Kokoschka who introduced him to Expressionism, the prevailing movement of the time. Expressionist painters, both abstract and figurative, typically convey their emotions through their use of colours and the movement and energy they apply to the paint. Early Expressionism was greatly inspired by works such as Edvard Munchs "The Scream".

When the war ended, Melhuish moved to Paris where he associated with the prominent artists of the day, in particular Brancusi and Chagall, as well as Michel Tapi, an international art critic, writer and advocate of Abstract Expressionism. Under their influence, Melhuish's paintings gradually moved towards abstraction and its characteristically energetic and free use of paint. At the same time, he also became interested in philosophy and worked on his first book The Paradoxical Universe, which was published in 1959. For the rest of his life, George Melhuish dedicated his time equally between writing and painting.

When compared to the figurative paintings of his youth, many of them portraits, Melhuish's later abstract works show what a remarkable journey he undertook with his art. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1943 and 1944, and his works can be found in many collections around the country, notably in Swindon Art Gallery and the Imperial War Museum. His investigative spirit still lives on today through his bequest, which is administered by the Elephant Trust for the specific purpose of supporting imaginative proposals and new work.

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