Harbor window with two figures, St Ives: July 1950 | Patrick Heron | 1950
The path towards pure abstraction is a road full of obstacles…
This knew Patrick Heron, an art critic from 1945 to 1958 that, in his spare moments, he painted. Or maybe he was a painter that, in his spare moments, criticized. Anyway, it doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that, the core issue of Heron was to know about the need and validity of reducing form to pure abstraction. And these questions were the ones which allowed the evolution of Heron’s work into complete abstraction.
Harbor window serves an example of one of the first stages in Heron’s evolution as an artist who, as we can see in the painting, admired Braques and the cubist period from Matisse.
In the canvas, we see 2 figures, one full body and, in the right one, up the waist. In the scene we also see a table with a jar, along with a chair. I also see, in the background, three windows instead of one, despite the name of the painting. Through them, we see a ship and a river or the sea.
I think the main thing to look at is to see how Heron handles a palette full of different colors which are not related one another. Here, the artist softens the relation between them through black and white spaces with lines.
At this time, I can only think that our friend from Cornwall was a little bit… restless, because, later on, he is slowly going to abandon cubism to, finally, achieve abstract paintings which lack of different colors… paintings that are simple and cute. Unlike the work we see today.