For all their appearance of simplicity, abstracts by Beach Hill artist Gwynne Giles require time and attention. A quick look will almost certainly miss.
In a new ebook, Giles succinctly describes his history as a painter (he began at 60), his sources of inspiration and his painstaking methodology. I am stunned by what he has accomplished.
How, using such minimal means and such restricted colours, can he create a such a distinctive, personal style? I don’t know how he does it, but a Giles painting is easily identifiable. It is not an easy thing to achieve so gracefully.
At the back of the ebook, the early paintings are abstractions, but with subject matter. I love their whimsicality, originality and wit. He could have stayed there and I would have been a happy fan.
But that is not Gwynne Giles. He has pressed on, developing a visual balancing act that leaves obvious subject matter behind. His titles still suggest inspirational linkages with imagery, but the canvases are pure shape, space and colour, now.
As much as I still enjoy his early phase (and kind of miss it, sometimes), there are richer, deeper rewards to be mined in the realm of purer design. It takes Giles many, many hours to produce one of his pieces, so it’s no surprise that viewers need time and stillness to appreciate them.
For me, they are engaging. They stretch my seeing ability, too, because those that seem less successful than others do work if I stay with them. Looking is dynamic. Giles makes it so.