In this painting, Gear creates space and depth through a web of black lines. The shapes resemble natural plant-like forms such as branches and roots, as well as bringing to mind industrial structures and pylons. These forms can be seen emerging from the snaking, organic lines of the painting. In this way, the artist balances natural and industrial imagery, treading the line between abstraction and representation. Although he was Scottish, the black outlines show that Gear was looking to contemporary French art for inspiration. This work was painted while he was living in Paris. Fellow Scot Eduardo Paolozzi was also based in the French capital at this time, and his work uses similar organic imagery.
Although apparently abstract, Gear's works are normally based on landscape or interior motifs, as the title of this painting suggests. The plant-like forms emerging out of a web of black lines imply organic growth. The use of warm oranges and reds and the irregular black grid are typical of Gear's work of the period. The lines are reminiscent of calligraphy or stained glass. Gear himself stated that they were influenced by the structure of the Forth Bridge and the pitheads from the mining town in which he grew up.
Abstract art, Calligraphy, Motif
Art in which there is no attempt to represent anything existing in the world, particularly used of the 20th century onwards. ‘Abstraction’ refers to the process of making images that may in part derive from the visible world but which are reduced to basic formal elements.
A distinctive element in a work of art or design.
Gear was born in Methil, Fife, and attended Edinburgh College of Art. In 1937 he studied briefly under Fernand Léger in Paris. After the war Gear worked in Germany, mounting exhibitions for the Allies. From 1948 to 1950 he lived in Paris, where he became affiliated to the COBRA movement. The COBRA artists (the initials stand for Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam, the home cities of many of the group's members), advocated a gestural, near abstract style of painting, influenced by primitivism and the art of children.
A group of Expressionist artists active in the late 1940s and 1950s. The name is derived from the letters of the capital cities of the countries of the artists involved - Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. The group included Asger Jorn, Karel Appel and Pierre Alechinsky.
A term once used to describe the art of non-Western cultures such as Africa and Oceania, now generally seen as deprecatory and indicative of an outdated belief in Western superiority. It is also used to describe artists, usually self-taught, who work outside of the currents of mainstream art practice.