Copyright courtesy of the Barns Graham Charitable Trust

In Storage

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912-2004)

Glacier Vortex

Barns-Graham studied at Edinburgh College of Art before moving to St Ives in 1940. There she met Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo and Barbara Hepworth. Her studio was next door to Nicholson's and, although she was already a gifted draughtsman, his influence can be seen in her precise drawing style. From Gabo she learned to use drawing as a way of seeing, exploring the relationship between spaces and forms.

In 1949 Barns-Graham visited the Grindelwald Glacier in Switzerland and found a subject that united her interest in form, light and space. She explained: 'This likeness to glass and transparency, combined with solid rough ridges made me wish to combine in a work all angles at once, from above, through, and all round, as a bird flies, a total experience'.

Medium oil on canvas
Date 1951
Dimensions 600mm x 715mm
Acquisition Number SOTAG : 2002/208
Credit Line Bequeathed in 2002 by Dr David Brown and Liza Brown