In the centenary of his birth, Towner is delighted to present a major retrospective of the work of William Gear, one of the leading abstract British painters of his generation. William Gear, The painter that Britain forgot traces the influence and prolific output of a now little-known painter who was associated with CoBrA in the 1940s, and produced some of the most radical and controversial compositions of the 1950s.
The exhibition draws together around 100 works representing the different phases of Gear’s oeuvre: from the pen and ink drawings and early experiments in colour of his emerging style in the 1930s and 1940s, to the radical, near-monochrome and block abstractions of the 1950s, to a mature, yet playful exuberance in the 1960s and beyond. Central to the show is Autumn Landscape, a work that caused a public outcry when awarded the Festival of Britain Purchase Prize in 1951. The exhibition also presents Gear as printmaker; he was the first British artist to present screenprints as works of fine art.