Ann Thornycroft was born in England and attended art school in London in the mid 60’s studying painting and printmaking. At the end of the decade, she immigrated to the U.S. and lived in New York. The stain paintings of Helen Frankenthaler and the grid paintings of Agnes Martin were dominating influences at this time and after moving to Los Angeles in 1972, she began doing watercolor grid paintings which matured into large canvases dominated by the grid. As time went on Thornycroft began to superimpose a grid over a freer, more lyrical background, creating a counterpoint between the two. This tension is the crux of her art.
Thornycroft explains “My impressions from the natural world inform my paintings. Growing up in the English countryside encouraged my curiosity about abstraction in natural forms, botany, and landscape painting. My work seeks to integrate painterly abstraction with organic architecture.” She continues: “Essential to my working method is that I revisit my paintings and develop them over time. There is a continual accretion of layers, resulting in increasing complexity and depth. Out of the many layers, harmony emerges- a moment when all the layers are in balance.”
The artist elaborates that “Working on canvas paintings, I often start off working on the floor for the laying in of the washes. I pour, use large brushes, squeegees, rollers, tilting the canvas. This part of the work can go on for some time as I build up the surface and the paint dries. Often using acrylic paint as the beginning layers, I then change to oil paint. In between layers I will work on the canvas vertically and sometimes use poured paint so that it forms linear drips, which create a delicate grid like structure. In all of my work I emphasize the juxtaposition between painterly abstraction and the geometry. I also use glazes often to unify a composition and to change color in subtle ways. Color is my motivator. I start a painting thinking about a color and that will direct me into the process of the painting.”
A description from Contemporary Artists’ Services beautifully notes that: “Ann Thornycroft is an abstract artist who uses paint and color as outward symbols of her inner life. Because her inner life is rich and varied, her artwork is diverse. Her work is often based on contrast of form and color. She presents the dialogue between the rigidity of a grid and the curve of an arc; the counterpoint between glossy, enamel colors laid on in flat patterns and watery, diaphanous washes that sweep across broad ranges of the canvas…”
The arc of Thornycroft’s creations and creativity has continued to develop, mature and emerge, which is especially essential during this time when the world has been given the unexpected to navigate…Throughout the pandemic, she has used her creative voice to continue her life and artistic dialogue: “My artistic objective is to continue with this process, alternating between simplicity and complexity, integrating all of the painterly elements that excite my eye and imagination.” Like the flow of time, her movement and explorations continue.
For over fifty years, Ann Thornycroft has had numerous solo and group exhibitions, her work is included in a wide variety of public and private collections and has been featured in art magazines and newspaper art reviews.
Press & Articles