Terry Frost came late to painting – beginning seriously in 1943 when he was a prisoner of war in Germany, he was encouraged by fellow prisoner, Adrian Heath, who opened this exhibition in Plymouth on 5th November.
Two paintings were loaned by the Government Minister, Rt. Hon. Fred Mulley, who was a fellow prisoner with Frost in Germany and who sat for several early portraits.
After the war, Frost settled in St Ives and enrolled at Camberwell School of Art where his teachers included Victor Pasmore. By 1949 his work, influenced by Juan Gris and Jacques Villon, became increasingly abstract. Many of his paintings of the early ‘50s were based on the rectilinear division of the picture surfaces and some included a shape like a slice of melon, evoking the rocking boats of the harbour at St Ives.
In 1954 Frost was appointed Gregory Fellow of Painting for two years at Leeds University. Yorkshire did much for Frost’s painting and Frist did much for Yorkshire where he opened his eyes of many to modern art.
Throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s Frost has explored the use of saturated colour, particularly with suspended forms, the sliced melon shape writ large. He also returned repeatedly to the complicated nature of the colour black.
Dr David Brown of the Tate Gallery, who has written the introduction to the catalogue, concludes: ‘Frost has not been given credit for the range of his formal invention and time and time again, this painter of controlled exuberance has produced works which both gladden the heart and satisfy the mind’.
Although Terry Frost has exhibited work widely in this country and abroad, this exhibition is larger than anything that has been seen of Frost’s work before. About 80 pieces of work will be on show – some 30 paintings cover the last ten years. The remainder trace the painter’s development from his earliest watercolours whilst a prisoner of war.
From February to May 1977 South West Arts will tour a secondary exhibition of small-scale work by Terry Frost. The exhibition will open at the Newlyn Gallery, Penzance and will tour subsequently to several of the region’s smaller galleries.