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RAINBOW (1969-73)

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Unknown title 1970 print 59x69cm

"7 70" 1970 screenprint 59x69cm

Unknown title 1970 oil 30x34cm

"Grassington" 1972 polymer on canvas 183x406cm

The origins of these paintings are in studies Ian made in 1970, whilst a visiting Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, USA.

On return to England in Summer 1971, Ian scaled up his sketches into large paintings 2m high x 5m long. The paintings are not stretched, but are hung from eyelets regularly spaced along the canvas edge. Ian also produced etchings, screen-prints and small gouache paintings.

The paintings are inspired by the environment, water, light and the epic scale of landscape. One is titled ‘Greenwell Glory’, which is the name of a well-known trout fly (Ian was a keen fly fisherman). Another is titled ‘Grassington’, after the North Yorkshire town on the River Wharfe, where Ian fished as a boy.

In 1973, Ian wrote to Jenny Stein at the Whitechapel Gallery:
“Since I saw you, I have completed another ‘rainbow’, one which has been on my mind for more than three years! It is, in a sense, a definitive one of the series and I would like you to see it, if that is at all possible. It’s the same format as the two you saw and is a black rainbow (‘Black Fell’) – a rather tragic image, I find, with connotations of ecological disaster – sounds a bit trendy and symbolic, which I hope it isn’t! “