WILSON, Frank Avray

Frank Avray Wilson - untitled

Frank Avray Wilson (1914-2009) was born in Mauritius and trained as a scientist, gaining a master’s degree in biology at Cambridge before his strong interest in art led him to study painting in Norway and France. In 1956 Avray Wilson helped Denis Bowen found the New Vision Centre Gallery, a showplace for abstract and other modern art.

Initially inspired by American Expressionism, Avray Wilson produced some of the most dynamic abstracts of the post-war period in Britain. His work ranged from spiky linear compositions, through others more spare and geometric towards a mature style that comprised images both disciplined and energetic.

Avray Wilson sought “to create a synthetic vitality, more living than life, the means of supplying our anti-vital, anti-human society with intense symbols”. His scientific background was of key importance in understanding his approach to painting, which he expounded in four books.

London-based, Avray Wilson had a first solo show at Obelisk Gallery in 1954 and later showed at Leicester Galleries, Redfern Gallery, the Royal Academy and Austin/Desmond Fine Art amongst others. He gained a strong reputation in Europe, notably in Belgium and in France where he also exhibited.

He was represented for many years by the Redfern Gallery and was included in Redfern’s 50th anniversary show in 2007. Recent solo exhibitions in London have been given by Paisnel Gallery and Whitford Fine Art.

Avray Wilson’s work is held in the United States by the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg and Cleveland Museum of Modern Art in Ohio. Public collections in the UK include the Arts Council and galleries in Durham, Leeds, Leicester, Swansea and Wakefield.


Gary Wragg - Green Snake

Gary Wragg (1946-) was born in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, studying at the School of Art there from 1962-66, then at Camberwell 1966-9 and Slade School of Fine Art 1969-71. He won travelling scholarships to Italy, Mexico and the United States before teaching at a number of British art schools.

His work – mainly large-scale abstracts conveying energy and intensity – began appearing in major mixed exhibitions including British Painting at the Hayward Gallery in 1974, British Painting 1952-77 in 1977 at the Royal Academy, the Sydney Biennale in 1982 and John Moores Exhibitions in Liverpool in 1991 and 2001.

Solo shows included Nicola Jacobs Gallery 1982-86 and Goldsmiths’ College Gallery in 1990 and he had a number of one-man exhibitions at Flowers Central and Flowers East.

Major retrospectives have been held by Alan Wheatley Art and the Paisnel Gallery. London based, Wragg’s work is held amongst others by The Arts Council of Great Britain, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and, internationally, at the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the National Gallery in South Africa.